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Masters of the Universe (1987)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 4
Fresh: 0 | Rotten: 4



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Average Rating: 2.6/5
User Ratings: 48,199

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Movie Info

Dolph Lundgren stars in this live-action film version of the popular television cartoon series (based on a collection of Mattel action figures). Lundgren is He-Man, a well-muscled super-hero, battling the evil Skeletor (Frank Langella) for control of the universe. Skeletor has designs on conquering the planet Eternia, a ravaged utopia ruled over by the Sorceress of Greyskull Castle (Christina Pickles). He-Man is summoned to stop Skeletor's plans. But when the wily dwarf Gwildor (Billy Barty)

Oct 23, 2001

Cannon Films

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All Critics (17) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (3) | Rotten (14) | DVD (4)

The result is a colossal bore.

May 13, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There are lots of flashes and bangs, but the effects are neither special nor camp enough to be more than vaguely amusing.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Their weapons make a Fourth of July sparkler show, but they almost never hit anybody.

May 21, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Little kids at play have come up with craftier plots, better characterization and conceivably more spectacular effects -- provided their mothers let them play with matches.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post | Comments (2)
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It is by no means a masterpiece, but it still possesses some keen schlock value for fans of eighties cinema.

December 6, 2012 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

The first film to be based on a line of toys, this might not be the last, but it'd take something awful to replace it as the worst.

May 13, 2008 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

There are some decent special effects, but overall it's about what you'd expect from a movie inspired by a line of toys.

May 13, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Goddard does a good job of bringing the characters to life....a treat for the fans

May 12, 2005

Halfway through this live action version of the popular early 1980s kiddies TV show, I wondered what I had done wrong to deserve all this pain and suffering.

November 7, 2002 Full Review Source: Sci-Fi Movie Page
Sci-Fi Movie Page


August 1, 2002 | Comments (4)

I'm not saying He-Man deserved all that brilliant of a movie ... but this thing's a freaking disaster.

July 25, 2002

Audience Reviews for Masters of the Universe

Always a little sad to see a childhood favorite not standing the test of time. That's not only due to special effects unworthy of their year of origin but also a pretty bumpy script. You gotta give the film credit for not taking itself all that seriously, but it is wasting said credit with stereotype dialogs and cardboard villains. Entertaining enough for kids at that time but after all those years nothing to write home about anymore, not even with plenty of 80s nostalgia bonus.
April 29, 2013

Super Reviewer

Oh my how delicious is this piece of 80's panto, some of the best badly adapted hokey nonsense I've seen yet somehow its so damn good :)

Where to start! this really is your typical fantasy film of the era, every cliche every funny little niche is here as you would expect and the funny thing is it was actually meant to be a blockbuster. I have since found out there were many problems in creating this film and it does show some what, the film is really nothing like the original He-Man cartoon in any way.

Effects wise this sorta stumbles through with some interesting ideas, some of the makeup is actually quite good, 'Skeletor', 'Beast Man' and 'Saurod' all have pretty nice makeup appliances and costumes which fit the He-Man universe. Other effects are laughably terrible with some awful bluescreen work, nasty models of which most seem ripped straight outta 'Star Wars', faded poor laser blast effects and some of the most hilariously bad stunts and fight choreography you will see. Most kicks and punches clearly (and I mean CLEARLY) don't make their intended contacts lol!

The cast are actually a mix of decent character actors which is the funny thing, some of these performances saved the film and gave it cult status. Of course Langella as 'Skeletor' is the co de gra of cheesy villains with his snarling voice and bellowing cries lusting for power. For me the best and most amusing performance was James Tolkan as the no nonsense cop 'Lubic' with his sharp tongue, gotta love that guy and his baldness.
Along for the ride is steady character actor Jon Cypher, fantasy actor regular Billy Barty, Meg Foster as the quite sexual 'Evil-Lyn' in her lovely tight barbarian-esq outfit with luscious lips (oh yeah!) and last of all Courtney Cox, yes THAT Courtney Cox of 'Friends' fame and as you would expect she's still annoying as hell even back then.

So yes the film is practically a joke with its 'Punch n Judy' style and completely awful effects, fights etc...but it has gained allot of notoriety for just that. Even when I saw this back as a kid I knew the film bared no resemblance to the original material, it always bewildered me why the creators thought to create new bad guys when there were so many rich villains to use, who the hell was 'Blade', 'Karg' and 'Saurod' suppose to be!? where was 'Trap Jaw' 'Tri-Klops' 'Mer-Man' or 'Man-E-Faces'? the same could be said for the heroes also. Then there was the question of who on earth were all these stormtrooper type foot soldiers clad in black armour that were an idea rip from so many films!?.

I have since found out they were stuck in so 'He-Man' could kill things without becoming too violent for the kids as He-Man wasn't suppose to kill. I can see that now but it still doesn't work right does it, I can't believe Lucas never sued frankly haha even with the almost identical ending to 'ROTJ'.

Its funny to look back and laugh, even more so to think films like this actually made it to the cinema and were meant to be big money spinners hehe. I actually love how the film just goes off on its own tangent completely ignoring the source material, its so far gone its brilliant in such a bad way. Gotta love 'Skeletor's' golden coloured horned silver foil battle mask getup when he transforms at the end which seems to be a rip off from 'Big Trouble in Little China'!, the way Tolkan swears oh and the fact 'Teela' seems to be wearing a thin thong if you look closely as well :) kids film?.
May 2, 2012

Super Reviewer

This film is absolutely hilarious. I was literally laughing out loud, by myself in the basement. There aren't words for this kind of exuberant ridiculous trash. It's got lines like: "You dare threaten her life?" "I DARE ANYTHING! I am Skeletor!" and a villain named Evillyn. Anyone who expects someone named Evillyn to do anything BUT mess with your day deserves exactly what's coming to them. Imagine, if you will, a film where Courtney Cox, running from extra-terrestrial, bounty-hunting monsters runs straight into the chest of... Fabio. Dolph Lundgren plays He-Man (or rather, as I came to learn, "Heehee!-Man") and spends the movie dressed like he's posing for the cover of a Viking-themed romance novel. I know this because I have read such novels, and they are as much fun as they sound. Oh my god, why am I not watching this movie RIGHT NOW?? Here is the secret formula for making giggly joy: Beefcake in underwear + Cape + Mullet = Hilarity!
February 13, 2011

Super Reviewer

This movie has a good, and interesting, cast. The story is better than I expected from a cartoon I didn't really care for, and it's got a nice combination of sci-fi, fantasy, and 80s cheese. I really enjoyed this movie, and I highly recommend it.
February 4, 2011

Super Reviewer

    1. Sorceress of Castle Greyskull: Men who crave power look back over the mistakes of their lives, pile them all together, and call it 'destiny.'
    – Submitted by Dann M (23 months ago)
    1. Sorceress of Castle Greyskull: The dark can embrace the light, but never eclipse it.
    – Submitted by Dann M (23 months ago)
    1. Skeletor: Yes! Let this be our final battle!
    – Submitted by Emil (2 years ago)
    1. Skeletor: Everything comes to he who waits. And I have waited so very long for this moment.
    – Submitted by Emil (2 years ago)
    1. Skeletor: I must possess all, or I possess nothing.
    – Submitted by Emil (2 years ago)
    1. Narrator: At the center of the universe, at the boarder between the light and the dark stands Castle Greyskull. For countless eons the sorceress of Greyskull has kept this universe in harmony, but the armies of darkness shall not rest and the capture of greyskull is ever most in their minds. For to those who controls Greyskull comes the power, the power to be supreme, the power to be all mighty, the power to be.... masters of the universe.
    – Submitted by Byron L (2 years ago)
View all quotes (8)

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Latest News on Masters of the Universe

April 10, 2014:
Jeff Wadlow Rewriting Masters of the Universe
He will attempt to inject the existing script with a little more power of Grayskull.
February 27, 2014:
Sony Assembling Director Shortlist for Masters of the Universe
Mike Cahill, Chris McKay and Harald Zwart are the rumored frontrunners.
October 8, 2013:
Jon M. Chu Drops Out of Masters of the Universe
His move was reportedly triggered by a studio-mandated rewrite from "Lone Ranger" co-writer Terry...
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