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Unappreciated. Underwhelming. Under-performing. These are words that describe the original theatrical release of “Masters of the Universe: The Motion Picture”. For fans of the cartoon/toy line, the movie was…different. When I was 5 years old, I watched this film and was like “Where is Orko? Where is Battle Cat? Where the hell is the Eternian Royal Palace?” As years go by, and multiple viewings ( I have seen this film over 800 times) you realize that some things (especially in 1987) just couldn’t be done. For a low budget sci-fi/fantasy film, it tried…god it tried. The plot device of the cosmic key is a MOTU-style plot device, and going to earth was a TERRIBLE idea. The actors do what they can, as the characters aren’t fleshed out at all except Skeletor and maybe Evil-Lyn. And in the end the film is just that, a film. Is it a good sci-fi film? For the time period and budget, yes. Is it a good MOTU adaptation? I will have to say enjoyable but not “good”. Now for the 25th Anniversary of the film Warner Bros. has released it on Blu-Ray and this is what you will get:
The package for “Masters of the Universe: The Motion Picture” is well….the exact same as my DVD released in 2001. No cool slipcase, no special artwork….nothing. The disc is even bland, a black disc with the logo etched in silver. All in all, disappointing.
When grading the picture I watched my DVD release next to the Blu-Ray. And I have to say: 80% of the film is beautiful, colors are rich and the Blu-Ray transfer REALLY makes the effects better than what they are. The other 20%….looks like my DVD picture with extra GRAIN! Now I don’t know if they transferred from the DVD picture or from the original film (which is probably WAY degraded by this point, explaining the grain in some areas). Even with the grain, it is the best the film has (and probably will) look. I just really wish that WB took the care they do with some “Anniversary” releases such as “Batman” or “Blade Runner”.
Where the picture has issues, the sound is absolutely PERFECT. You hear every sound effect and even generic background noise, top-notch work indeed. When the weapons are fired, you hear their power. When swords clash, it echoes in the room. And when Skeletor laughs…you feel it in your bones. This aspect GREATLY makes up for the flaws in the picture
As great as the technical aspects are on the film, that is where the praise ends. BARE BONES are the only words I can describe it. The menu is a direct port from the DVD. And the special features..I’m sorry special feature, is Director Commentary (which is entertaining and insightful). You would think with an anniversary release you would add something for the fans, but no, nothing.
This film may not have been a success, but it deserves better. WB should have put more work into it and put some more features in there and give FANS something more for the 25th Anniversary of this film. If you haven’t seen this film, watch it and enjoy it, despite its flaws. And fans, this is the best it is going to get. It is sad that it took this long for it to get on Blu-Ray, and it is even more sad that this is what we get, this film could have the power.