Thursday, June 25, 2009

Masters of the Universe (1987)

I've been putting off summarizing this spectacular summit of supremeness for some time, but after seeing some nerd with a Masters t-shirt indulging in a greasy slice during karaoke night at a pizza joint in Davis, I could delay no longer. Part of my procrastination derives from the fact that I'm having trouble separating this sasquatch from it's elder brother, Flash Gordon, which I have also dipped into lately. In fact, now that I think about it, I may have watched more sword and sorcery epics in the last month than in most of the rest of my movie marathon life. But who doesn't like indulging in a little S&S now and then? It's not just the greasy, hairless (at least where it counts) blonde that reminds me of Flash; you've also got the bombastic ballads, sets on 80s planets with sequins and sparkles, and an amalgamation of animalistic participants that could only come from the mind of a comic book reader. That's right, Masters pulls some legends from across the nerd game board, with Soul Caliber characters battling it out with dwarfs and sorceresses. And then there's Skeletor. His costume is actually pretty good if you can ignore the fact that the skull face is awkwardly flexible. Like, how can bone make facial expressions? But forlorn fact is not what Masters is made of. No, no, that's 1 part supergeek to 2 parts 1980's to 1 part creepy sex fantasy to 3 parts awesome. Yes; never skimp on the awesome. Even without a big enough budget (that's why they had to move the intergalactic strip-war to Earth = cheaper sets!), the money is well spent. All the scenes in Eternia are outrageously outer space and perfectly crafty castle. And while Flash managed to hyperhype the 80's era execution with the presence of the glam gods Queen, Masters pulled out its own bomb with that whole synth side plot. Yes folks, they managed to throw in an epic eighties weapon with the arrival of the scintillating and psychedelic synth instrument which is actually some sort of cross-universe portal/transportation device. Ahh, the eighties. Courtney Cox is also pretty hot in this, and I was surprised to learn that Dolph Lundgren can in fact speak English, so that's a plus. And despite the blatant Star Wars ripoffs (the parent of an era!), this miraculous mess seems to hold itself together pretty well. But, what do I know (other than eighties action/creature comedies)? Even better, the director has literally done next to nothing in his career; the only other thing I've seen by him is the T2 3-D show at Universal Studios in the mid-nineties! But hey, it was awesome! I even heard that a sequel was in the works, but after rotten reviews and a lack of funding interest, they just turned everything into a platform for Cyborg, the starring vehicle for the relatively unknown Jean Claude, and also a delectable delight. Now all we need is some sort of showdown. Oh wait, I guess that's what the Universal Soldier collection is for!

Final Judgment: "Greasy and gleaming, a god among live-action space-fantasy comedies!/Hey, it's the eighties!/Swords and synths, crazy costumes, lizards and wizards, heavy with honor and filled with fantasy (I'm not just talking about Lundgren's thighs) = a movie clearly worthy of laserdisc!/Let me turn your cosmic key!/I'll take intergalactic instruments any day!/All I want to know is, where's his pussy?

1 comment:

Danny said...

Apparently if you listen to the director commentary on Superman 4, the director talks about the movie company ( Golan Globus productions) not having enough $$ to fund masters of the universe & Superman 4 and prioritising this. Which is why Superman 4 is appalling and why essentially you should never make 2 80's franchise epics when you only have the money to make one. (like Homer ripping up the cable guy script) "Damn you Masters, you almost ruined Superman's Movie Career!!"