I can remember the first He-Man figure we ever got. My grandparents brought it to us from Montgomery Ward and it felt like it had arrived from another planet. Where He-Man and even Star Wars felt grounded in our reality, The Masters of the Universe seemed the unholy union of technology and sorcery, the kind of place where a caveman could fight alongside a man in green armor and a flying monkey against a humanoid beast, a swamp creature and a living skeleton. As the line grew, the edges of this weirdness were somewhat sanded down — then again, any toy line that contains a character named Two Bad that is constantly fighting itself is still pretty wild — as it became more popular.
This documentary gets into how He-Man and the Masters of the Universe were “designed in the wake of Conan the Barbarian and under the shadow of Star Wars,” eventually becoming a multi billion dollar property that remains popular today.
From the initial development of the toyline to how it used the deregulation of toy advertising to become a multimedia entity, the start of this film tells the tale that many He-Man fans know, but one that newcomers will be interested to learn.
The movie also goes deep into the creation of the cartoons, the spinoffs and the 1987 Masters of the Universe movie, which starred Dolph Lundgren and Frank Langella, who are both quite candid and completely entertaining in their interviews.
While I’m definitely the target audience for this, I think anyone with an interest in 1980’s pop culture or marketing will find plenty to enjoy.
You can watch this on Netflix or grab it on on DVD and digital from High Octane Pictures on September 3.
DISCLAIMER: We were sent this movie by its PR team, but that has no bearing on our review.