Tonight’s offering may not run on Vista and sooner operating system-friendly browsers. Every time I tried to run it on my computer it pauses during the lion roar and I get a message saying “Sorry, there was an error licensing this video.” and yet on my old Android tablet and my dad’s computer (running Windows 8) it ran just fine, at least as far as the credits. If it doesn’t work my old Reviewers Unknown colleague the Blockbuster Chick did a review of the movie before she retired, so check that out. Between this and YouTube getting rid of the current upload system for one that doesn’t run on Vista it seems Google really wants me to upgrade but won’t give me the money to do so and doesn’t care I don’t have it on my own. So I don’t know how I’m going to edit videos in the future or even upload them. A rant for another time perhaps. Let’s get to why you’re here tonight.
Speaking of things Google and YouTube do wrong, did you know they have a channel where they stream movies and TV shows legally for other companies? You didn’t? Maybe because they barely promote the thing if at all. It’s done in the style of Vudu: some movies/shows free with ads while others you have to pay for. They also have exclusive programming on YouTube Premium. If you ever wondered where that Karate Kid spinoff series Kobra Kai is, now you know. One of the movies is one that I wanted to put on Saturday Night Showcase but the rights holders dropped it from their YouTube channel in favor of this service. So with all the talk about a new Masters Of The Universe movie, I thought it would be a decent time to show you the old one.
Released in 1987 this movie is not a very good adaptation of the source material, namely the toys, or even the cartoon. The costumes are way off, Frank Langella’s Skeletor and Meg Ryan’s Evil-Lyn being the closest to other incarnations of the time. Dolph Lundgren was given a cape and a sword that looks cool but doesn’t resemble any version of the Power Sword from the time. Teela and Man-At-Arms have the wrong colors, as does Beast Man, and Teela is now a blaster-wielding badass instead of a sword or staff wielding badass. They travel to Earth to meet Courtney Cox, who takes time away from dancing with Bruce Springsteen to mourn her dead parent before she and her boyfriend stumble across a portal device that Skeletor wants…as if creating intra and interdimensional portals was some new thing on Eternia. I will at least give the movie credit for being fun, though not always in the way intended. Still, if you can run it, enjoy.
Two things to note about this movie. One is that the He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe magazine, a kids magazine featuring stories of interest to kids wrapped in He-Man trappings and a short comic, ran a contest where the winner would get a walk-on role in the movie. Or maybe it was just a set visit because I’ve never been able to pick him out. Then again, they also ran a contest where a kid won the right to create an official Masters Of The Universe action figure and we didn’t get that until the Classics line a few years ago, the Phereless Photog. So who knows, maybe it ended up on the cutting room floor.
The other is the big fight scene at the end between He-Man and Skeletor was actually done on the sly. While it’s possible the movie was overbudget (directors seldom care about the cost) Canon is also known to be a bunch of cheapskates. That fight was the last scene to be filmed and the company’s rep to the movie wouldn’t let them shoot it, despite being one of the most important scenes of the movie and the only scene left to shoot. So the director snuck in with the actors and a cameraman and filmed the scene in secret. The end result is actually better than it would have been had they shot it as planned. As soon as Power Sword and Havoc Staff clash and that effect happens it’s all a sneak filming until the fight’s over. For those of you who couldn’t run the video above I’ll at least show you that.
Victory alright–for the director at least. The movie budget is estimated at $22,000,000 according to IMDB and only made $17,336,370 US gross, with $100,000,000 cumulative worldwide. That’s not a high return and they needed to go beyond the country it was made for just to do that. Nowadays the film is a cult classic. What it lacks in…a lot of things, most notably adaptation, it makes up for in just being fun to watch. That’s a victory I guess.