Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Masters Of The Universe

Illustration for article titled Masters Of The Universe

Crimes

  • Setting an epic science-fiction struggle in generic small-town America for the sake of cost-cutting and lame fish-out-of-water gags
  • Trying and failing to provide George Lucas spectacle and fantasy on a budget from the Cannon Group (best known as the production powerhouse behind such films as Breakin' and Death Wish 4: The Crackdown)
  • Replacing the beloved character Orko with what looks like a medieval werewolf dwarf sorcerer played by Billy Barty, and hoping no one would notice
  • Defender
    Director Gary Goddard
  • Tone Of Commentary
    Detail-oriented, mildly passive-aggressive, and full of deep inhalations and resigned sighs. Goddard praises his collaborators, discusses the film's technical aspects, and puts a brave face on the whole undertaking, but reveals a distinct undercurrent of resentment over having to make such a big, complicated feature with the limited resources and patience of Team Cannon.
  • What Went Wrong
    Goddard is diplomatic, but it's clear that Cannon wasn't too big on concepts like "spending money" or "budgeting adequate time." Toy company Mattel had script approval, and it ran a contest with a film role as the prize; Goddard was then forced to shoehorn the contest winner into the movie late in the shoot. Cannon shut down production before the movie's final battle could be completed, and Goddard had to pay out of his own pocket to finish the movie many weeks later.
  • Comments On The Cast
    Goddard heaps praise on actors Courteney Cox and Frank Langella (the latter is lauded for treating the role of villainous Skeletor "with respect") while hinting that the studio forced Dolph Lundgren on him.
  • Inevitable Dash Of Pretension
    Goddard cops to borrowing a line from Shakespeare. He also insists that an ultimately shortened ending scene was so powerful in its original form that members of preview audiences openly wept.
  • Commentary In A Nutshell
    Goddard confesses that he regrets cutting the ending, but adds, "Everything else, I think, turned out fairly decently, all things considered." It's notable that his sterling recommendation employs a remarkable three separate qualifiers to water down the already wishy-washy "decently."