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Thread: 1987 movie...convince me!

  1. #1
    Court Magician KingRandorFacepalm's Avatar
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    1987 movie...convince me!

    By 1987 I was coming up on 12 years old and moving on from MOTU to other things (only to come back, as so many, with a passion as an adult). So I never saw the '87 movie. I knew I needed to right this wrong and so got hold of a copy a couple of weeks ago and sat down with a friend who hadn't seen it either.

    It was awful.

    Now, I knew it was going to be pretty bad. But I was prepared to find it endearingly bad. I just found it bad.

    I grew up on the vintage toys and Filmation and still can't get enough of them. I'm going through all the Filmation cartoons (both He-Man and She-Ra) with my kids. And while I believe the cartoons totally hold up, there are many elements that are just bad as well. But endearingly bad. The fun is that my kids are old enough to get it and really enjoy them, but also old enough to heckle them. And I can't wait to watch the He-Man and She-Ra Christmas special each year because it is, in many ways, so goofy and bad that it wraps all the way back to awesome. Can't get enough of episodes like Play It Again, Bow because Bow's vocal artistry is so cringe-worthy.

    That is what I love about Masters. It has everything -a healthy does of bad-a__, goof, fun, fierce -whatever you're in the mood for.

    But I just couldn't fit the 1987 movie into all this. Again, I wanted to love it in its badness, but...nothing. In fact, if it wasn't part of Masters, I don't think I would have been able to get through it. My kids can't get into it, either (they disparagingly call it "He-Man in New York").

    I know the movie has been pretty universally panned. But it has, especially in recent years, endeared itself to so many in the MOTU fan community.

    So what am I missing? I want to be convinced -help!
    "Anybody want to buy a used bolo?"

  2. #2
    Heroic Warrior MOLKROM's Avatar
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    Well if you look at it through the eyes of an adult then yes, its pretty goofy and low budget . I pretty much enjoyed it as a kiddy . It had a gritty feel to it .The whole Skeletor taken over Eternia thing . Feels like one of Heman,s final adventures before he retires . Skeletor is not just a handfull of goons but he corrupted enough of Eternia and its people to have an army .

    Man At Arms and Evil Lynn were friggin awesome . "Lubic" did the human race proud . Oh boy Cortney Cox was a teeny bopper and in a much much better movie then teeny bopper Jen and the leprechaun. Gwildor was no more or less irritating then Orko. A few low points was Skeletor and Tina Turner costumes . . It would have been cool if they called Beastman , Grizzlor instead . That was a Grizzlor

    If that was translated into filmation multipart cartoon episode , It would probably be considered one of the best.

    Live action has limits yes . There is some awful effects and acting but they did a good enough job to convince me that i am looking at HeMan and the Masters of the Universe movie. Growing up in the 80,s we were always exposed to strange and sometimes substandard translations . Its no better or worse then a MOTU ladybug book .

    Its the only live action we have and until someone makes another if ever . Then we can rag on it fully.
    Last edited by MOLKROM; July 25, 2015 at 06:10am.
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  3. #3
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    I seen like .2 seconds of it back in the day and was like what is this crap? Didn't even know they made a movie. Til this day I still say there is no movie.. I do the same with g.i. joe.

  4. #4
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    Well, Langella's Skeletor is still the best depiction of the character ever, surpassing by far any other version that came before and after the movie!

    Langella took an one dimensional clown of a villain, and turned him to a Shakespearean character, that still now is considered one of the best fictional villains that ever appeared in the big screen. He completely eclipsed He-Man in the whole movie. As someone very well stated, "we may not remember which actor was the 87's Academy Awards Winner, but we will never forget Langella's incredible performance as Skeletor".





    And maybe we are all too little to appreciate it, but this movie had a lot of meaningful messages and a philosophical moments, like this incredible little dialogue between Skeletor and the Sorceress (for the first time here we saw that Skeletor believes himself that he is destined for the Power of Grayskull, something that with the current story of the character, a.k.a Keldor's story, he wasn't exactly wrong about it, or at least now we comprehend why he believed so)



    So only for giving us the best Skeletor ever, this movie is more than worthy, considering the small budget and the serious production problems that the film faced in order to be made.

    Actually if ever a new MOTU movie being made, i would be glad if the actor that would play Skeletor will have 50% of Langella's performance, and will not be something cute and dump like MCU Loki.
    Last edited by granamyr80; July 25, 2015 at 07:01am.

  5. #5
    Heroic Warrior Poweron's Avatar
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    I was 13 years old when this movie got released, and I didn't get to see it until years later when I rented it on VHS. I lived in a small Ontario town whose movie theatre could often suck for getting movies, and I couldn't travel to a big city in time to see it.

    So my friends and I were excited about it for a long time. There were elements that disappointed us eventually, but all in all we were happy to finally see it. I'll back up what granamyr80 said about Langella's performance, and what Molkrom said about other positive elements.

    For myself, I think the greatest element of the movie was it's "final battle/apocalypse" storyline. For my friends and I at the time, it was where we were wanting the story to go. We'd been with the franchise for 6 or 7 years by that point and it just seemed logical that we'd get to the point where Skeletor makes his big play, and things get settled once and for all.

    At the time, I liked Gwildor much better than Orko - and we were all happy to see that the ridiculous "secret identity" was gone. Again, a thing that we felt had to logically happen. It's like Billy Batson and Captain Marvel, eventually he's just going to grow up into that adult alter-ego anyway.

    Another part of its appeal was that it brought things back to a bit more violence. Before Filmation, MANY boys got into the toyline because of the implicit violence that was possible in the storyline (and that the original mini-comics didn't necessarily negate). It was nice to see some real threats and fights happening (instead of just He-Man throwing someone into a mud pool for the hundredth time). Beast Man gets acid to the face! That blew us away!
    Orko: It's like the Sorceress said: sometimes, the ones who seem the worst, need our help the most.
    He-Man: You're learning.

  6. #6
    Heroic Warrior The Mad Bubbler's Avatar
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    I guess I'd have to know more of your specific criticisms to fully answer you, but I think it's a solid movie. They basically told Gary Goddard 'Here's the budget and you have to have Dolph Lundgren play He-Man.' I think that, especially considering those limitations, he made an extremely solid film. Sure, if he had 3 times the budget, and could have made it PG-13 or R, it may have been amazing, but I think it was a cool take on the mythos, that was about as mature as you could make it for a PG-rated film. Considering that Lundgren's level of English fluency was so-so in 1987, I thought that he did an admirable Job, and, as granamyr80 said, Skeletor OWNED this movie- I think that Frank Langella's performance is fantastic, and takes Skeletor from a goofy old-timey "Nyah-ha-ha!" moustache-twirling villain and makes him actually scary.
    "I am The Mad Bubbler... breathe in the vapors of my madness!"

  7. #7
    Heroic Warrior bcbsdrg's Avatar
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    I use to not like this movie that much. But I have warmed up it a bit over the years. Yeah like others have said Langella as skeletor was good. And I read somewhere that he actually liked the role. I think I would have liked it more if it was just set on eternia. If it wasn't for the colors man at arms had a fairly faithful costume. I think there is an old thread here that recolored the armor.

  8. #8
    SoH Supporter He-Dad's Avatar
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    Courtney Cox....who needs a better reason than that?!?!

  9. #9
    Heroic Warrior bcbsdrg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by He-Dad View Post
    Courtney Cox....who needs a better reason than that?!?!
    True dat,lol
    I had a mad crush on her as a kid after seeing her on the show misfits of science

  10. #10
    Heroic Warrior Eternian-King Paul's Avatar
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    The '87 movie was great for one reason...

    It proves that Dolph can act.
    Playing He-Man in leather nipple straps and body oil and Nintendo Zappers is not easy.

    However the role he needs to play is Skeletor.

  11. #11
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    thought this was great back in '87 when I saw this at the local drive-in: a moment of silence for drive-ins, please.
    ...
    it's still great today, just 2 years shy of being 30. it's another example of a movie being a bomb during it's initial release only to rise up years/decades later into a well respected, cult classic.
    Flash Gordon, Blade Runner, Legend, Big Trouble in Little China, Willow being other examples of now, loved movies.

    As for the movie itself, it took what was a fun, narratively inconsistent 30 minute toy commercial and turned it into a fun action filled, tight, 3 act-structured movie that works even if one isn't familiar with the source material.

  12. #12
    Heroic Warrior Trap-Jaw-'s Avatar
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    I like it Evil Lyn is ace.

    I'd have preferred it if they'd used Trap Jaw or Mer man over Garn though - that was a bit embarrassing.

  13. #13
    Drinking Innocence TheDeviot's Avatar
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    Ah the 87 movie.

    Well there are some things about the film that are very awesome. First off, Frank Langella portrays the dark, evil, Skeletor
    we all loved from the minicomics, and DC Comics. Ergo: In those books there really wasn't much in the way of censoring,
    or toning things down. They showed Skeletor off as a truly despotic ruler. Frank Langella does the same. Some may find
    it a bit overly theatrical or over the top. But on the whole, it's an excellent portrayal.

    Dolph Lundgren might not be the best actor on Earth, but frankly, he's one of the best action stars of all time. Dolph still tried
    to give us the He-Man we wanted to see on screen. The hardcore hero nobody wants to mess with. We get to see He-Man blow away
    a ton of robots, a fight against Blade, and a pretty cool sword battle with Skeletor.

    Everyone else really portrays the other characters properly. Teela has the same impulsive need to jump into a fight. Man At Arms
    still takes the guardian role.

    We also get three new characters that were never in the toon. Blade, Saurod, and Gwildor, along with a crappy character in Karg.

    While we get really good characterizations, and some performances, there are a few HUGE problems with the movie, that make it go
    from what could have been an enjoyable popcorn movie, to fodder for YouTubers, and RiffTraxing.

    The biggest flaw is the story, which is the way it is for two reasons. 1. Director Gary Goddard really wanted to make a New Gods movie
    So replace the DC characters with MOTU, and now you know why there was an Earth subplot. 2. Cannon's parent company Golan Globus (Who
    was known for shifting money around between several movies at once) kept taking money away from the production to go into Superman IV, and
    vice versa at times. It's pretty well documented, and it got so bad that they almost didn't get the ending filmed because they were thrown off the
    lot early. They actually had to sneak into the sound stage to record the final sword battle.

    Between the messed up budget, and a script that didn't serve the property well, we got a movie that was pretty bad. The editing
    was also terrible, leading to major WTH? moments like nobody noticing Skeletor's army exiting a portal, and marching down city streets.

    Thankfully it isn't Garbage Pail Kids bad though. When you watch it, and really analyze it, it's apparent that the people involved were TRYING
    to make a good movie, but a lot of circumstances out of their control got in the way.

    Had the script been better (Like making the film take place entirely on Eternia), and the money hadn't been fudged around with constantly,
    we could have been singing its praises, or at least going "Eh, it was okay."

    And when you compare it to other movies based on toys....... it still doesn't come out too bad.

    87 MOTU is still ahead of

    Battleship
    Garbage Pail Kids (But what isn't?)
    TMNT III
    TMNT 2014
    Jem (I think it's pretty safe to say this.)
    Bay Transformers (Boo me all you want it's the truth)
    Gi Joe Live Action films.

    Of course it also falls short of

    Secret of the Sword
    Transformers Animated movie
    Gi Joe Animated movie
    TMNT 1 & 2
    TMNT 07

    If you watch the first 20 minutes, and then the last 20 minutes you have a pretty fun movie.
    The Deviot
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  14. #14
    proudly outatime JoeyCruel's Avatar
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    There are 3 ways to look at this movie.
    1. You aren't a MOTU fan and you'll hate it
    2. You are a MOTU fan, you expect somethin' like Filmation (or you expectin' somethin' else) and you'll hate it
    3. You are a MOTU fan, you "understand" the changes and you'll adore it
    There's no way around it!

    I'm in the third position, I love the '80s, I love how everythin' is so colorful and I love the Filmation cartoon but I "understand" that a movie with those colors could be only campy.
    I love the classic characters but I just want He-Man, Man-At-Arms and Teela and Skeletor, Beast Man and Evil Lyn and it's enough, then I want somethin' new that will be related forever with the movie, Saurod, Blade and Karg are great.
    What about Orko and Cringer/Battlecat? I hate Orko! And I love Gwildor. They are the comic relief but Gwildor isn't childish and stupid like Orko! Battlecat is iconic but I didn't liked the talkin' feature, it's just a "vehicle", I can live without it.
    MOTU on Earth... what's wrong in this idea? It's great! When I was a child I couldn't believe my eyes! He-Man was here! On Earth! I was flabberghasted!
    Then there a lot of great stuff like the Julie's trauma and the warm happy ending or the Shock Troopers (I hated those little hover robots!)
    Finally I got one word to love this movie: James "Shotgun" Tolkan! Holy guacamole! When I saw BTTF 2 in 1989 and he was firin' with the shotgun I was expectin' to hear him sayin' "Nobody takes potshots at Strickland!".
    What's wrong with this movie? As far as I am concerned nothin'!
    It's only a matter of who are you and what are you expectin', it's like a pie, you can like it or not.

    Last edited by JoeyCruel; July 28, 2015 at 12:45am.
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  15. #15
    Heroic Warrior MOLKROM's Avatar
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    I got one word to love this movie: James "Shotgun" Tolkan!
    That is my favorite part . OOH RAH !

    A peeved off detective gets a battlefield promotion to Heroic Warrior status.......... and that package comes with girlfriend benefits.
    Last edited by MOLKROM; July 28, 2015 at 09:31am.
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  16. #16
    Heroic Warrior InThe80s's Avatar
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    To enjoy the 1987 Masters movie you have to understand the context in which it was made. This was 1987 when they actually made movies campy on purpose because it was the in thing at the time. Look at movies such as Howard the Duck or Labynth or the Return to Oz. Master of the Universe doesn't seem so out of place when taken into proper context of the popular culture of 1987. Alf was a popular TV show. It was a weird time to be making movies. Star Trek even got weird when they did the Voyage Home and visited Earth. If Star Trek and Howard the Duck and Alf could pull of coming to Earth then so could He-Man or so that was the way the thinking went.

    Masters of the Universe really wasn't that bad of a movie. It bombed at the time and didn't age well but the movie never really had a fair shot. Here is an honest break down in what to look for:

    PROS:
    - Costumes and Makeup were spot on
    - Actors (Dolph Lundgren was a decent enough He-Man and Frank Langella was amazing as Skeletor)
    * Skeletor carries the movie here
    - Interesting scenes (He-Man getting whipped, Skeletor becomes a god and his monolog, He-Man saying "I have the power")

    CONS:
    - Low production values and budget cuts from both Mattel and Cannon going bankrupt.
    - Poor plot (Earth setting was total crap)
    - Lack of character development outside of Skeletor
    - Corny dialog
    - Rushed ending
    - Overall campyness

    MIXED:
    - Setting (Some of the sets were amazing such as inside Castle Grayskull while Earth stuff was bland)
    - Musical score (parts felt like a rehash of superman and star wars but others were unique and fit well)

    Neutral:
    - Special effects were decent enough
    - New Characters (Gwildor, Blade, Sarod, etc)
    - Missing old characters (lack of Cringer, Orko, Tri-Clopse, etc)
    * Any fan of the series knows that characters come and go. Not every character is every episode while Skeletor always had new henchmen. Why do people make a big deal about this?


    If the movie had to be done over again it would have been better to model it after the success of the Neverending Story. Both movies are similar in what they tried to do conceptually. That is take outlandish fantasy and make it approachable and down to Earth. It had Earth scenes too but they were well integrated with the fantasy elements. Both movies had similar low budgets. What The Neverending Story has on its side was a studio that actually cared and a plot with a lot of heart in it that Masters of the Universe lacked.

  17. #17
    Heroic Warrior Lich Leech's Avatar
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    I hated it as a kid. I've come to enjoy it now. You have to go into it expecting it to be kind of a side step from typical MOTU fare. You also have to be okay with watching a "C" movie. It's more of a reboot than 200x was, for sure.
    By the ancients!!!


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  18. #18
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    Hey, what's with trashing the garbage pail kids ?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDeviot View Post
    Ah the 87 movie.

    Well there are some things about the film that are very awesome. First off, Frank Langella portrays the dark, evil, Skeletor
    we all loved from the minicomics, and DC Comics. Ergo: In those books there really wasn't much in the way of censoring,
    or toning things down. They showed Skeletor off as a truly despotic ruler. Frank Langella does the same. Some may find
    it a bit overly theatrical or over the top. But on the whole, it's an excellent portrayal.

    Dolph Lundgren might not be the best actor on Earth, but frankly, he's one of the best action stars of all time. Dolph still tried
    to give us the He-Man we wanted to see on screen. The hardcore hero nobody wants to mess with. We get to see He-Man blow away
    a ton of robots, a fight against Blade, and a pretty cool sword battle with Skeletor.

    Everyone else really portrays the other characters properly. Teela has the same impulsive need to jump into a fight. Man At Arms
    still takes the guardian role.

    We also get three new characters that were never in the toon. Blade, Saurod, and Gwildor, along with a crappy character in Karg.

    While we get really good characterizations, and some performances, there are a few HUGE problems with the movie, that make it go
    from what could have been an enjoyable popcorn movie, to fodder for YouTubers, and RiffTraxing.

    The biggest flaw is the story, which is the way it is for two reasons. 1. Director Gary Goddard really wanted to make a New Gods movie
    So replace the DC characters with MOTU, and now you know why there was an Earth subplot. 2. Cannon's parent company Golan Globus (Who
    was known for shifting money around between several movies at once) kept taking money away from the production to go into Superman IV, and
    vice versa at times. It's pretty well documented, and it got so bad that they almost didn't get the ending filmed because they were thrown off the
    lot early. They actually had to sneak into the sound stage to record the final sword battle.

    Between the messed up budget, and a script that didn't serve the property well, we got a movie that was pretty bad. The editing
    was also terrible, leading to major WTH? moments like nobody noticing Skeletor's army exiting a portal, and marching down city streets.

    Thankfully it isn't Garbage Pail Kids bad though. When you watch it, and really analyze it, it's apparent that the people involved were TRYING
    to make a good movie, but a lot of circumstances out of their control got in the way.

    Had the script been better (Like making the film take place entirely on Eternia), and the money hadn't been fudged around with constantly,
    we could have been singing its praises, or at least going "Eh, it was okay."

    And when you compare it to other movies based on toys....... it still doesn't come out too bad.

    87 MOTU is still ahead of

    Battleship
    Garbage Pail Kids (But what isn't?)
    TMNT III
    TMNT 2014
    Jem (I think it's pretty safe to say this.)
    Bay Transformers (Boo me all you want it's the truth)
    Gi Joe Live Action films.

    Of course it also falls short of

    Secret of the Sword
    Transformers Animated movie
    Gi Joe Animated movie
    TMNT 1 & 2
    TMNT 07

    If you watch the first 20 minutes, and then the last 20 minutes you have a pretty fun movie.

  19. #19
    Drinking Innocence TheDeviot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Webstor1983 View Post
    Hey, what's with trashing the garbage pail kids ?
    I think Doug Walker explained just how terrible that movie was better than anyone back in his earliest days.
    Google Nostalgia Critic Garbage Pail Kids review. I'd post it, but some of the jokes would get a bit
    tar swampy.

    Here's a short list though.

    Deplorable script.
    Little if any character development
    Paper thin story (if you can call it that)
    Unfunny jokes
    Contradictions, and plot holes at every turn.
    Awful practical effects, puppets, and models.
    Terrible performances all around.
    Horrible directing.
    Terrible editing.

    But in all seriousness, Doug really does point it all out much more eloquently than anyone.
    The Deviot
    -------------------------
    "No matter how hot you think they are, Someone. Somewhere. Is tired of their crap."

    -?

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