(c) 1987 Mattel Inc, Cannon Films, Warner Home Video
Welcome to the not-so-thrilling conclusion to what is probably the most boring action movie ever. A friend of mine – who has never seen the movie, but faithfully reads the blog – commented that it seems like the most boring movie ever. B.P. is right. It’s boring as fuck, and almost nothing seems to happen. There’s pretty strong evidence in support of this considering that I’m covering about 36 minutes per episode in only about 2,000 words, whereas the 22 minute cartoon episodes would often take over 3,000 words. Anyway, we left off with Skeletor’s arrival on Earth. As the henchmen flow through the portal, He-Man and Man-At-Arms are horrible shots with their laser pistols, but eventually He-Man manages to explode one of them. Murder!
Under pursuit, He-Man and crew duck into a building and head upstairs. One of the glider goons is slowly passing by the windows of the upper floor looking for them, when He-Man lets loose murdering him. He-Man then leaps out of the window and steals his glider. You can’t have a movie about He-Man with Dolph Lundgren in it, and not have him kill people and break through glass panels. It’ll be interesting to see what He-Man’s murder count is in this film. By now every one else has gotten up on the roof and are wondering where He-Man is. He goes flying by on the glider with some awful special effects and every one is like, “Oh, there he is”.
He-Man swoops in on Evil-Lyn, Beastman and Karn’s location, firing wildly, killing a bunch of troops (seriously, it may not be possible to count how many murders he racks up!). He buzzes around getting all the main villains turned around and confused, then he dives in and uses Gwildor’s grappling hook to snatch the Cosmic Key. “Noooooooooooooo!” shouts Evil-Lyn. Beastman fires on him, but it’s futile; He-Man escapes easily.
Meanwhile, Skeletor continues his very slow-paced advance down the human street while music reminiscent of the Imperial March plays. He-Man heads in that direction, dodging the laser blasts of an on-coming glider goon. He pulls a Maverick and goes inverted, confusing the glider goon as to where he went waaaaay more than it should have. He-Man uses his advantage to come down behind him, then straight up MURDERS the guy with his power sword, which I think is a first in the history of He-Man. He always employed indirect means of murder in the cartoon. In fact, he was not allowed to strike a living creature with his sword by whatever the children’s show authority was. He-Man is chasing down another glider goon, but it’s a trap, as we hear Skeletor speak to the goon on the radio and tell him to lead He-Man to him.
Nearby, Gwildor is not picking up the Cosmic Key on his tracker. Teela is worried about He-Man, but Man-At-Arm assures her that He-Man is fine – he’s worried about whether they’ll get out of there before Skeletor finds them. As he says this, Skeletor’s floating throne slowly rises up behind them. Skeletor announces himself and they all turn and shoot at him. He’s protected by a force field however, and orders them to throw down their weapons. Man-At-Arms goes first, and barely even hesitates. It’s probably for the better, because they are fast being surrounded by soldiers moving in behind them. Skeletor has a special hard-on for punishing Gwildor, telling him, “I have such plans for you.” Gwildor is insolent and tells Skeletor he will never “worship the Lord of Snake Mountain,” and that he should “wait ‘til He-Man gets here”.
Pretty much right on queue, He-Man comes gliding in. Julie tries to warn him that it’s a trap, but she’s too late. He-Man gets knocked off his glider and drops the Cosmic Key. When he goes for it, Skeletor zaps him and it while the soldiers move in to capture him. He-Man leaps up, kicks a few guys, then starts grunting “Hah-whoo-a, hah-whoo-a” as he starts hacking fools apart with his power sword while heroic music plays. Finally he is overwhelmed as the soldiers hog pile on him. Just when you think it’s over, he bursts out from under them flinging them everywhere. Skeletor shouts, “Enough!” and He-Man stops and listens. Skeletor tells him that if he doesn’t submit, his friends will die. They are all well covered by enemy weapons. Skeletor offers that if He-Man returns to Eternia with him, his friends will be spared.
He-Man immediately gives up and allows himself to be cuffed. He says, “I’ll go. I don’t want any more people to die.” Which is a funny thing to say because, I haven’t actually seen Skeletor kill… okay, well there was Saurod, but that’s it. He-Man has killed dozens by now. He-Man goes peacefully. When he’s out of earshot, one of the soldiers asks what he should do with the other captives. Skeletor actually keeps his word and tells them to let the captures go. He figures He-Man will continue to be cooperative if he knows his friends are safe.
As He-Man and Skeletor are leaving through a portal, all are gathered around Julie. She’s not feeling so well. Man-At-Arms says that Skeletor’s magic does this – it’s poisonous and infects you – and they need to get back to Eternia. They still have the Cosmic Key, but Gwildor says the power core has melted down because of Skeletor’s magic blast. “There’s no way home. No way,” Gwildor says. They cover her with He-Man’s cape and head down to the street to get her some water from the fountain. But like, a decorative fountain, not like a drinking fountain, or a bubbler, as they call it in Wisconsin.
As soon as Skeletor’s forces are gone and the portal is closed, Detective Lubic shows up with a whole squadron of cops. “All right, Lubic, where’s the army?” one of the officers ridicules, “Will you shaddup? They were here, I’m telling ya! It’s the damndest thing you ever saw!” Lubic shouts. Well, at least it doesn’t seem like he told them they were a bunch of aliens, or beings from another dimension. Over at the fountain, they uncover Julie’s wound, and it’s pretty nasty. Kevin looks like he’s going to faint, or barf, or barf and then faint. Kevin asks what’s going to happen to her. Somberly, Teela says that the poison is already in her blood, and the wound is just going to keep spreading. Right then, I pictured the scene in Cabin Fever: Patient Zero, in which the dude eats out his girl, and comes back up and says, “Wow, you’re really wet”, and his face is covered in blood because her body is practically melting off. You’re welcome for that.
Well, unfortunately, only the Sorceress can fix her, and they can’t get back, so she’s fucked. Kevin is desperate, “There’s, got to be a way!” he says, he looks desperately between all of them. “Gwildor?” he asks, pleadingly. Gwildor shakes his head. “Opening a dimensional door is easy,” he says, “You just have to know the tones.” The thing is, Skeletor knows what he was doing, and he fired the memory too. Even if they could get the Cosmic Key working again, they could search forever and never find the right tones. Wait, a minute, wait, a minute, Kevin says, “The tones? Dude, I’m a fucking musical genius prodigy that thought the thing was a Japanese synthesizer in the first place. I got that shit memorized! Can I play it on a Casio and the same thing will happen?”
Kevin stands up and whistles. He starts and stutters the tune a few times and then he gets it. “How did you do that?” Gwildor says. “Well, if I hear a tune a couple times, I can usually remember it,” Kevin says. Gwildor gets all excited. “Why didn’t you tell me you were a song maker? Are you a master?” Without waiting for an answer, he says, “Yes! Yes, you are! I know that, eh-heh-heh-heh. That’s why the fates brought us here. The final chord, Kevin, pull it out of the air for us!” Kevin shits all over himself at the pressure, “You got the wrong song maker. I’m just a stupid keyboard player in a high school band,” he says. Gwildor challenges him to pull the last chord out of his ass for them instead. Man-At-Arms gives the climactic, plot-turning speech, “Listen people. In half a chrono, we’re not going to have a Sorceress to come home to. So if you know how to do something, you better do it.”
“Gwildor, Kevin knows the tones. Can you get us home or can’t you?” Teela asks, plainly. Gwildor agrees he can. Gwildor needs several random parts that I’m not even going to try and spell or list – just rest assured, that between all of them, it turns out they have the random parts that Gwildor needs. I thought he said the power supply was fried, how are they going to fix that? All the sudden between Man-At-Arms and Teela, they have all the parts they need to fix the Cosmic Key, and then coincidentally, Kevin is a self-doubting musical genius that has memorized the sonic code to get back to Eternia and save Julie from being a victim of Cabin Fever? Wow, this movie sure has taken a strange fucking turn in the third act. It’s almost become horror, in my mind. Well, that’s appropriate, considering this will nearly bring the project to a close in October, shortly before Halloween.
In Eternia, a shirtless He-Man is dragged into the throne room before Skeletor. Skeletor simply says, “I win.” The time is drawing near when the planets alignment will be correct and allow Skeletor to take on the power of Castle Grayskull. Skeletor taunts the Sorceress, reminding her that she will cease to exist when this happens. She has grown very old already and looks like an old hag. Skeletor takes He-Man’s power sword from Blade and slides it into a special holder by his throne, locking it in place. He tells He-Man to bow before him. He-Man vehemently refuses to EVER bow before Skeletor. Blade uses an energy whip on He-Man to whip some submission into him.
Back on Earth, Gwildor is getting shit set up when Kevin comes back with a keyboard from Charlie’s. How a keyboard survived the battle there, I have no clue. Unfortunately, Lubic saw him on the way and is headed in their direction with his officers. Gwildor fucking loves the keyboard and is impressed that people have music making machines. Julie isn’t doing so hot. She’s writhing in pain. Kevin tells her he loves her and touches her head affectoinaltely. Lubic and his officers approach stealthily, Lubic’s shotgun drawn. He has the officers hold back as he moves in, on account of his personal vendetta.
In Eternia, Blade is finishing up whipping He-Man, and his back is shredded and bloody. Skeletor tells him that when He-Man dies, Skeletor will be reborn. Outside, Skeletor’s giant hologram appears in front of everyone. He announces that he stands before the defeated traitor, and he, Skeletor, will transform before their very eyes. Skeletor announces that he is the Master of the Universe! Just then a big dilating door opens behind him and three yellow balls of light come through and Skeletor absorbs them, yellow electricity coursing through him. He rants about how powerful he is now, how he can feel the universe coursing through him. He tells He-Man to kneel, which he doesn’t. Skeletor says that He-Man is no longer his equal, “I am a god!” Skeleotr shouts! In a final burst of yellow light, Skeletor emerges with a golden mask and starts blasting He-Man with energy from his eyes while shouting, “Kneel,” over and over.
Gwildor fires up his jimmy-rigged Cosmic Key and it seems to be working. Kevin starts playing the sequence just as Lubic runs up with his shotgun to muck the whole thing up. He reaches forward to fuck with the machine just as the portal opens. We cut to Eternia where Skeletor is slowly approaching He-Man, taunting, “Where are they? Where are your friends now? Tell me about the loneliness of good, is it equal to the loneliness of evil?” I think Skeletor is making a pass at He-Man. Just then, right on queue, He-Man’s friends appear, complete with half the car, part of a brick wall, and the concrete slab they were on. The troops turn their guns on the new arrivals and Lubic says, “Holy Shit.” For real.
They open fire on the new arrivals and He-Man shouts at Skeletor, “You promised not to hurt them!”. “I lied,” Skeletor grins. I’d like to argue that the deal was probably contingent on the humans staying on Earth and not interfering further. I think Skeletor is in the right to try and take them out. Lubic opens up with the shotgun and He-Man uses some stray laser blasts to break the chains that bind him, then he starts kicking ass. He-Man hides behind a giant statue, then pushes it over. I’m not really sure why. Then, he grabs a streaming curtain and uses it to swing over to Skeletor’s throne. He tries to grab his power sword, but every time He-Man reaches for it, Skeletor zaps him, repeatedly, every time. He finally powers through the pain and pulls the sword free. For the first time in the whole movie, He-Man yells, “I have the power!”, the sword flashes, and then it’s time to fight Skeletor.
“Let this be our final battle!” Skeletor shouts. He-Man swings his power sword and Skeletor swings his staff. The two cross in a flash of sparks; purple and yellow lights cutting through each other. All the lights go out and flames rise up from the floor. The forces of good and evil are backlight by color changes floor spot lamps while the two clang their metal weapons together. It’s very obvious that they are only trying to clang their weapons together instead of strike each other. Surprisingly, it pays off, because with a mighty blow, He-Man breaks Skeletor’s staff and he shouts out as he loses his golden-god garb and heightened powers and turns back into regular old Skeletor.
He-Man says, “Skeletor. It’s over.” “Yes…. For you!” Skeletor says as he draws a sword and lunges at He-Man. He manages to knock the power sword from He-Man’s hand, which sends it sliding over a ledge. He-Man dives for it and catches it just in time. Without it, he’d just be shirtless and unarmed. He-Man spins around just in time to block Skeletor’s swing. He manages to dodge the next, then rolls up to his feel and around behind Skeletor in a swift move, swinging at him hard a few times, thus knocking Skeletor over the ledge instead, where he falls to his mother fucking death as he screams, “No! No! No!” in a high pitched voice that sounds nothing like Frank Langella.
Once Skeletor is dead, the lights turn back on and the dilating door closes. The force field lifts off the Sorceress, and she turns young again. Gwildor, Man-At-Arms and the gang start yelling, “Victory!”. He-Man turns around with a boyish smirk on his face then, slowly, in his deepest voice, says, “Victory.” We cross fade to a little later, all the rebel troops are standing around and He-Man has his clothes back on, by which I mean a leather chest strap. Lubic has already made himself at home, seated to the left of the Sorceress on her throne, with a Madonna ho on his lap. He announces he has no intention of going home, “Look what I got here, I got, I got a castle, I got a beautiful view, clean air, I got a beautiful woman, ah?” Dude, how the fuck did Lubic come to possess the castle in one afternoon, much less a woman? What is going on here?
The Sorceress stands up and gives Julie a special orb and tells her that if she keeps it with her, Eternia will always be near. She starts saying a teary good-bye to everyone, but Teela stops her and tells her to say, “Good journey,” instead. So she does. Before they go, Gwildor is like, “Are you sure you don’t wan to go back in time? I can send you in your planet’s history?” Kevin poops on that idea, and he’s like, no, man, ‘the fuck for? Just send us home. Julie’s all high from the hug she just gave He-Man so she starts skipping through the portal, and just as she’s slipping though, she turns around and shouts in horror, “No, wait! Gwildor, send us back! Send us back!” as she realizes that she just wasted her chance to stop her parents from dying, and to be stuck a year earlier as a doppelganger of herself.
She wakes up in bed in a very frocky nightgown, a dog barking, a photo of her parents by her bed. Clearly Gwildor was smart enough to know to send her back anyway, because she’s obviously in her parent’s house. She comes down stairs and finds her parents. They’re getting ready to head out to Catalina. She starts crying and begs them not to go, says she has a bad feeling about it. Her mom says, “Don’t worry, your father’s an excellent pilot, and it’s a short flight.” No, he’s not an excellent pilot, lady. Julie grabs the keys to the plane, says, “I love you,” then runs out the door in her unsightly night gown.
Outside on the street, Kevin shouts her name from down the street. They run up to each other and hug. Kevin says, “Don’t let your parents get on that plane.” Julie assures him she won’t. They quickly discover they both remember their adventure in Eternia, and Kevin holds up the gem that the Sorceress gave them. In it, Castle Grayskull appears, and then He-Man appears in front of it and lifts his power sword aloft and shouts, “I have the power!” The camera fades to white, then to the stars where the credits roll. They should have made him appear in front of Castle Grayskull like this when he uttered the magic words back in Skeletor’s throne room. I almost mentioned that earlier.
He-Man Murder Rank Achieved: Killing Machine
Well that’s it, that’s the movie. Remember when I said that I thought Dolph Lundgren did a good job as He-Man? I still think that’s true, but I have to qualify it – I meant he was a good He-Man for this movie, which was bad. I’ve heard rumors that some are trying to get a He-Man reboot movie off the ground. I hope it learns from movies like Guardians of the Galaxy, or Avatar, and they realize they need to keep the movie in Eternia and make it a fantasy film, not a Sci-Fi movie. The makers of this film really succeeded in failing to capture the spirit of the show. It had none of the magic. It was watered down too much in an effort to make the movie more relatable, and what was left was nothing.
Let’s face it, back in the 80s, they weren’t that good at adapting cartoon and comic book properties to live action. They just didn’t have the technology or the vision for it yet. I don’t even know what they did with this story. It was a hot mess. They dumped all of the lore of He-Man, brought him to Earth to “ground” the movie, made up awful new characters, threw in tons more fighting, a little cursing and more kills, and then managed to make it boring and uninteresting. I don’t think I laughed even once.
Thank you for reading, friends. Those are all the reviews of He-Man I committed to, which basically concludes the project. I’ll be back next week for my final post – a look back and decompression on this 2 ½ year project.