(c) 1987 Mattel Inc, 1987 Cannon Films, 1987 Warner Home Video
Well, here we are, at the last stage of the project. The runtime is listed as 106 minutes, so I will split this into three parts, covering approximately 25 minutes each. I saw this in the theater when I was about 6 years old. I have seen it again more recently than the rest of the He-Man cartoon series as I picked up a copy of Masters of the Universe on DVD while I was in college, but I haven’t watched it since then, so it’s been close to 10 years already. We open with a bit of expositive narration explaining Castle Grayskull to us – that the Sorceress has ruled over it for “countless ages”. She has been able to keep the powers of the light and dark in check, but the powers of dark grow eager to possess the powers Castle Grayskull, for it will allow them to become “The Masters of the Universe” – queue opening credits.
After the opening credits, we cut to Skeletor’s throne room. Skeletor himself, played by the always awesome Frank Langella, storms in and demands a report from Evil-Lyn. She advises him that they have sealed the gates to the city, the castle is secured, and although He-Man continues to lead the resistance, that they will have him before the day is out. Skeletor is super pumped about having He-Man bow at his feet by the end of the day. Skeletor has the Sorceress, who does not look like the bird-creature from the series, in his capture already, but she defies him, pointing out the power of Grayskull has not passed to him yet, and that He-Man is still alive.
Skeletor’s image appears to a number of the rebels out in the sandy desert wastelands. He announces that he has captured the Sorceress, and that her power will become his. As his first decree, any who will not submit to him will be destroyed! He-Man stands there defiantly facing the image of Skeletor. He-Man attacks some of Skeletor’s troops as they transport a small, dwarf like creature that has been newly invented for the movie, because, Orko was just not a practical character. At this juncture I am not sorry he’s absent from this farce. Once He-Man rescues the creature, he spots Man-At-Arms and Teela and greets them warmly. I’m disappointed that Teela is isn’t a hot redhead like she is in the show. She’s attractive, of course, just not a hot redhead, which is a bummer.
Man-At-Arms frees the little goblin guy form his net. His name is Gwildor, locksmith and inventor. Skeletor was hunting him down because, well, Gwildor is going to have to show them. He leads them to a door and bitches moans about how he remembers a time when they didn’t have to lock their doors. Then he unlocks it and lets them in. He tells them that Skeletor is after them because of his invention. He wants him killed so can’t make another one. He calls it the Cosmic Key – the tones it can produce can open a portal to anywhere in the universe. That’s how Skeletor got into the middle of the city and surprised the rebel forces. Evil-Lyn tricked Gwildor and took the Cosmic Key. However she doesn’t know that Gwildor still has a prototype.
He-Man wants to use the prototype to home in on and rescue the Sorceress, but Gwildor says they can’t because Skeletor’s key will be able to home in on their signal. Just then, some of Skeletor’s goons show up outside Gwildor’s place, already having located them. Gwildor leads them into a secret passage to escape, just as the villains break inside. I guess the secret passage leads right into Skeletor’s fortress, because He-Man and friends come out right in the throne room and find the Sorceress trapped in an energy field that Skeletor has created. She warns He-Man that he is in danger and must go. He-Man insists that Gwildor use the Cosmic Key to unlock the force field, but it’s going to take some time.
Evil-Lyn and Skeletor, and his forces approach, so He-Man sends Gwildor to the back of the room to continue trying to unlock the force field. He-Man confronts Skeletor and demands that he let the Sorceress go. He refuses. While she’s in the force field, her powers increase his own. When the moon is at it’s zenith, the Great Eye will open and all the powers of Grayskull will become his own. Skeletor promises the destruction of the Sorceress, and unless everyone else submits to him, them as well. Evil-Lyn hears something suspicious and figures out that Gwildor is present and that he has another key he’s fucking with.
Skeletor launches an attack, so He-Man, Man-At-Arms, and Teela run defenses while Gwildor continues trying to break the force field. He-Man does have his power sword, but so far in this movie, he mostly uses laser guns. He’s deflecting laser blasts with his sword, but his offense is a laser pistol. Things are getting pretty intense, so Man-At-Arms suggests that Gwildor use the Cosmic Key to get them out of there – anywhere else but here. Gwildor activates the device to do just that. It opens a portal, which makes Gwildor laugh triumphantly. The Sorceress tells He-Man he must escape and leave her. Though he’s resistant at first, He-Man grabs Gwildor and jumps though the portal with him, causing him to drop the key. As Skeletor’s forces go for it, a grappling hook comes out of the portal and grabs the key, rescuing it from Skeletor.
Skeletor orders that the signals from the key be monitored so they can track down and locate He-Man and the rebels. On the other side of the portal, He-Man and crew come out in the woods on Earth. Gwildor lands head down in mud, until He-Man pulls him out. Teela tells him to relax, but Gwildor isn’t so calm, because his gills are full of mud. He dutifully blows it all out over them. He-Man wants to get back to Eternia, but Gwildor didn’t memorize the coordinates. It’s okay because the key stores the coordinates. However, they seem to have lost it in the jump, as it it’s no longer in the grappling hook. Just as they are about to search for it, they detect an alien life form – a cow – and make a big deal about how ugly it is.
Gwildor approaches it, mooing, to try and communicate with it. They coordinate their communicators so they can split up and locate the key. Whoever finds it will hit the actuator button and trigger them all to teleport back to Skeletor’s throne room so they can finish their rescue mission. Gwildor’s attempts to communicate with the cow are unsuccessful. We cut to a little rib joint called Robby’s where a young, fresh-faced Courtney Cox is working the counter. Apparently, it’s her last day because she’s moving away to New Jersey. Her coworker is offering her some advice – don’t break up with Kevin Corrigan, and don’t move away. He’s a hunk, and her reason for moving before graduation is bullshit.
A horn sounds outside and it’s Kevin picking her up from work. She gets in his van and he asks what time her bus heads out. Julie says the bus leaves for the airport at 8:30, which means she can and will make the sound check for his band tonight. She hands over some Robby’s Ribs for dinner, and he’s a total douche about it. “Oh, boy. Robby’s Ribs. That’s not very romantic for our last date,” Kevin says. She really turns the mood around when she asks him to take her to the cemetery to say good-bye to her dead parents. As they drive away, Teela peeks from around some bushes, discovering Robby’s Ribs. Teela sneaks up on Man-At-Arms, who has followed his nose to the rib joint.
From their vantage point, they observe a couple teens with a bucket of ribs in the back seat while they make out in the front of the convertible. They also observe Gwildor watching them. He uses his grappling hook to steal the ribs and is slurping down rib sauce and munching on ribs when Teela and Man-At-Arms approach him. Gwildor claims he was going to share when he’s confronted, and hands over the bucket of ribs. Man-At-Arms remarks at how good the food is. Teela says, “I wonder why they put the food on these little white sticks?” Man-At-Arms says, nonchalantly, “Those are rib bones”. Teela and Gwildor seem pretty disturbed by this, and I can’t help but wonder why Man-At-Arms knows what rib bones are and is not bothered by it, but Teela and Gwildor don’t seem to be familiar with rib bones at all and are highly disturbed by it.
At the cemetery, Julie is trying to really run the mood into the ground. She’s standing there looking at the headstones and she tells Kevin that it’s her fault they died. Kevin says that’s ridiculous, of course, because they died in a plane crash. Julie explains that she was supposed to go to the beach with them that day, but she claimed she needed to stay home and study, because she wanted to spend the day with Kevin. Since they couldn’t all go to the beach together, her parent’s took the plane to Catalina instead, and well, now they’re dead. I feel like you really have to be some awful fucking pilots to crash and due from the San Diego area to Catalina. As they’re walking away, they hear a beeping sound and discover the Cosmic Key lying in a flowerbed. Julie picks it up and activates it. Kevin thinks it’s a Japanese synthesizer and starts pushing buttons, making musical tones.
Back in Eternia at Snake Mountain, Skeletor picks up on the signals that the Cosmic Key is producing because of the buttons that Julie and Kevin are pushing. He hands his key over to Evil-Lyn and instructs her that when they activate they key again, she should home in on it and lock the coordinates in. Since it might be a trap, they will send some mercenaries ahead to check it out. Back on Earth, He-man is prowling around outside the high school gym. It figures he’s be up to his flirtatious old tricks! Inside, Kevin grabs a mic to try and amp up the sounds from the Cosmic Key, then hits a button that produces sounds and visual effects, and also allows Skeletor to lock onto the signal. Evil-Lyn has his mercenaries ready to go. His finest warriors: Blade, Saurod, The Beastman, and Karg. He instructs them to get He-Man back – alive – before moonrise. They can kill the others if they want, but He-Man MUST be returned alive.
Kevin wants to take the Cosmic Key to his friend Charlie to check it out. Julie wants to stay behind to say her good-byes to the gym alone, since she won’t be there for graduation. She gives Kevin permission to go on with out her. He swears he’ll be back in 15 minutes. As soon as he leaves, the portal opens and Skeletor’s mercenaries get into the school. Julie’s supposed to let Kevin’s friend Carl in so when she hears sounds coming from outside the auditorium, she approaches cautiously, thinking it’s him. A janitor surprises the mercenaries on the other side of the doors, so they through him through the door into the gym. When Julie sees what’s happening, she runs and they give chase trying to capture her and recover the Cosmic Key.
Julie crawls under the stage and barely misses Blade’s swords. She comes out the side and evades Beastman, managing to throw a bunch of amonia in his face. This buys her enough time to escape the gym, which is now on fire, screaming for help. He-Man happens to be walking around and hears the commotion. He comes running and Julia runs smack dab into him. She frantically explains she’s running from some monsters. He hides her away and tells her that he’ll take care of it. He give her his laser pistol for protection and runs off.
He-Man throws something to distract the warriors than attacks some of the soldiers. Saurod spots him and starts firing at He-Man, but Julie hits him with the laser gun He-Man gave her. Blade picks up the slack and goes after He-Man. The two of them get into a proper sword fight, which is pretty cool. So far, I have to say, Dolph Lundgren represents He-Man reasonably well. He looks the part, and he plays the part with a kindness that feels genuine if not slightly too soft. It’s both awful and much better than I expected. Finally Man-At-Arms and Teela show up and scare off the bad guys with their oppressive laser fire.
This week’s episode concludes with a temporary respite from the reach and grasp of Skeletor, and the opportunity to pursue the mercenaries back through a portal to Eternia to continue the hero’s efforts save the Sorceress and stop Skeletor from becoming the Master of the Universe. The question is, do we care? Do Julie’s – or He-Man’s, for that matter – doe-eyes make us care at all? For better or worse, we’re at the end, so let’s get this over with.
…to be continued