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"He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: The Beginning" Review

By Shawn McKenzie 08/19/2002

When I was a kid, I was a He-Man junkie. I had most of the action figures, and I watched the cartoon religiously. I even saw the 1987 live action movie Masters of the Universe with Dolph Lundgren as the title character, Frank Langella as Skeletor, and Courteney Cox (long before she had "Friends" or became an Arquette) as Julie Winston, a teenager who helps He-Man and his pals out.

Like most fads, I grew out of it. I stopped watching the cartoon, I sold my action figures in a garage sale (a mistake I still regret, seeing as they would be worth a lot as collector’s items today), and basically forgot about the muscle man. The country eventually forgot about him too. The original series ran for two seasons, was followed by a spin-off series called "She-Ra: Princess of Power," and after the movie was released, had a new series called "The New Adventures of He-Man." After that, the cartoon and the toys pretty much disappeared.

Now the man with the power of Grayskull is back, this time on the Cartoon Network. The new series, "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: The Beginning," is being met with the style of anime in its current form. In case you have forgotten the story of He-Man, I’ll spin you the tale now. He-Man is the alter ego of Prince Adam, the brave but scrawny son of King Randor and Queen Marlena. They live on the planet Eternia, and in this series, he is 16 years old (in previous versions he was older.) He has a scaredy-cat named Cringer, and a friend named Teela (who is raised by Man-At-Arms after her own parents died.) The enemy of the kingdom, Skeletor, has figured out a way to bust through the magical protective wall that surrounds the kingdom. His purpose, I suppose, is to rule the kingdom and do evil things. An oracle known as the Sorceress gives Adam the power of Grayskull through the Sword of Power, where he turns into He-man. The only people who know he is He-Man (besides himself and the Sorceress) is Man-At-Arms, Orko (a court jester who isn’t very funny), and Cringer (who turns into Battle Cat when Adam turns into He-Man.) He fights Skeletor and the evil one’s motley crew of bad guys on a weekly basis.

Is the new series any good? Well, I suppose it is good if you are a fan of the anime style. I, unfortunately, am not. I have never seen its appeal. I find it hard to swallow that every character can leap really high like a character from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I know it’s a fantasy cartoon, but I didn’t forgive XXX for being unbelievable, and I’m not going to do it here. I’m also wondering if it is going to be the same battle with Skeletor every week. One of the good things about He-Man is their assortment of weird bad guys (what better way to sell more toys?) I’m sure it will be a who-is-Skeletor-bringing-in-to-beat-He-Man show every week, and if that is good enough for you, then by all means, tune into the Cartoon Network every week and watch it.

I will admit that this series is much better than the goofy Lundgren movie, but I don’t think I will be as faithful a follower as I was when I was a kid. If you grew up on He-Man and now have kids of your own, I do recommend "He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: The Beginning" over another stupid anime show like "Pokemon." It’s kind of like "Dragon Ball Z" lite, and it may bring back some memories of your own.

Buy the 1987 movie starring Dolph Lundgren as He-Man:

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Try to catch this show every week...

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If this show is on, change the channel immediately!


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