POWER OF GRAYSKULL: THE DEFINITIVE HISTORY OF HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE (2017)
Featuring John Atkin, Gwen Wetzler, Mark Taylor, J. Michael Straczynski, Dolph Lundgren, Frank Langella. Directed by Randall Lobb & Robert McCallum. (95 min)
ON DVD FROM HIGH OCTANE
Review by Fluffy the Fearless😺
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe was a garbage cartoon, cynically thrown together to push a line of action figures on undiscriminating kids. It certainly didn’t match-up to the classic Saturday morning shows I grew up with, like Hot Wheels, Gilligan’s Planet, Scooby’s All-Star Laff-A-Lympics and -
Oh well, one man’s garbage is another man’s nostalgia, which this revealing documentary affectionately demonstrates. Power of Grayskull covers the character’s entire history, from the initial line of toys through its syndicated cartoon and subsequent reboots, as well as Cannon Films’ infamous slab of ‘80s megacheese starring Dolph Lundgren & Frank Langella (both of whom are interviewed here). As someone with more of a movie background, I found the latter section particularly interesting.
|"Andy's home! Everybody freeze! Even you, Skeletor!"
Not that there aren’t surprises throughout the rest of the film. With hindsight, I guess it’s obvious those who created the He-Man universe drew considerable inspiration from the paintings of Frank Frazetta, but I’d be willing to wager nobody who grew up playing with these toys were even aware of his adult oriented artwork. I was also unaware that the original toys came with meticulously crafted comic books which dropped these characters into actual stories. Even the packaging contained a surprising amount of creativity.
We meet the toy designers, various writers & directors of the show, storyboard artists and, of course, historians & collectors who discuss He-Man’s popularity. I still think the cartoon is garbage, but even as someone who was arguably too old to ever buy-into the He-Man universe, looking back at its cultural impact was pretty interesting. And it goes without saying that those still holding a nostalgic fondness for the big lug will love this.
PURR-R-R...LIKE A GOOD SCRATCH BEHIND THE EARS.