In which the scientists unveil their full horrifying natures.
After last week’s exciting quest to Denebria, the newly-christened Starship Eternia returns to Primus, where He-Man presents the scientists with the crystals. As they get to work on repairing the generator and lowering the intense heat on Primus, a report comes in of an attack on the Floating City of Leviton. In case you couldn’t work out from the obvious “levitate” derivation of this city’s name, I can here inform you that it floats in the sky, not on water. You might not care. I don’t know.
On arrival at Leviton, however, He-Man, Hydron, Flipshot and Caz discover that there’s nothing wrong, and instantly realise they’ve been lured away from the generator. Clever Mutants! Slush Head and a squadron of other Mutants enter the generator and take the scientists captive. Good riddance, of course, but He-Man doesn’t see it that way.
He-Man and his team now meet up with Master Sebrien, Drissy and Mara. He-Man looks longingly in Drissy’s direction, remembering her promise to whip him if Caz goes to Denebria, but it seems Drissy isn’t up for playing dominatrix right now. Instead, everyone is agreed that they must rescue the scientists immediately – but this may not be easy, since they’ve been transported to the Quagmi Swamp on Denebria, and are to form the bait in Skeletor’s latest trap.
Thanks to a robot called UR – which for some ill-explained reason has the ability to track the scientists, wherever they are – He-Man and Master Sebrien successfully discover that the captives are now in the Quagmi Swamp. And so that’s where He-Man, Hydron and Flipshot go, and face a number of non-too-exciting challenges before eventually finding the scientists, but at the same time coming face to face with Skeletor and the Mutants.
The ensuing battle essentially sees the Mutants defeat themselves by doing demonstrably idiotic things, but there’s a very slight degree of peril when Skeletor grabs Gepple and threatens unpleasant consequences if He-Man doesn’t surrender. Naturally, He-Man has a trick up his sleeve: he retorts that he will destroy the Mutants’ ship if Gepple is not released.
Not wishing to remain in the Quagmi Swamp for the rest of his life, Skeletor gives in, and vanishes in a puff of bad-tempered smoke. I don’t know why he couldn’t have taken Gepple with him in this smoke, and I am tempted to conclude that he simply didn’t want to. I can’t say I blame him. With that settled, He-Man returns the scientists to Primus, and all the heroes stand around mugging at the camera, in the perhaps mistaken belief that we want to look at them.
In today’s adventure…
No moral again, though the actual storyline certainly featured a lot of sermons from He-Man, on topics ranging from the importance of not going looking for a fight to the importance of teamwork. I have a moral lesson too: if you’re Skeletor, don’t bother setting a trap for He-Man. Though really, if you are Skeletor, you ought to know that by now.
Again, I’m a bit crippled by not knowing everyone’s name, but among others, I can report that there are appearances from He-Man, Hydron, Flipshot, Caz, Drissy, Master Sebrien, Mara, Gleep, Gepple, Meldock, Elcon, Krax, UR, the Sorceress, Skeletor, Flogg and Slush Head.
Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance
Adam doesn’t even appear this week, nor is he mentioned.
Caz refers to Skeletor as a “bag of bones”, while Hydron considers him a “sore loser”. Interestingly, both of these comments are made when Skeletor is not present, suggesting these two are too cowardly to insult him to his face. On that subject, a green toothy Mutant says that Hydron is a “coward”, though it’s difficult to see exactly how this was provoked. And finally, there’s a moment when Skeletor clearly wants to insult Flogg and Slush Head, but is too overcome with inarticulate rage, so he simply settles for shouting “NYAAAAARRRGGGGUUUUHHHH!” I’m not sure that’s how to spell it, but that’s definitely how it sounds.
Meldock earns himself 1 idiot point for claiming that he will be able to fix the generator by himself, another point for falling asleep on the job, a third point for having an annoying outbreak of sneezing, and – perhaps unfairly – I’m also going to give him another point for having a really irritating voice. I recognise I can’t award Meldock a point every time he speaks, but I’m going to do so on this occasion.
Krax gets an idiot point for telling a robot to cool him down, and ending up being encased in ice. Gepple gets a point for bouncing around and punching the air, making out that he’s going to be even vaguely capable of fighting the Mutants. Finally, all four of them are going to get two more points each, one for shrieking and running round in circles whenever anyone mentions the word “Mutant”, and another for having a completely brain-dead argument when Skeletor comes to have a chat with them. God, these guys are going to be hard work.
To sum up, the current rolling totals are:
Does it have the Power?
Not this time. The problem is that it’s all about the scientists, and they are genuinely so annoying that I’d rather watch 15 episodes about Orko, Uncle Montork and Loo-Kee than 30 seconds of these guys. Even the other characters clearly hate them: Caz and Flipshot are both pretty rude about them, and they almost drive Skeletor mental. I’m assuming they’re meant to be comic relief, but they’re outstandingly misjudged.
Otherwise, this episode is a bit of a time-killing piece in the middle of a greater story. Nothing of any particular note happens, and I feel no more enlightened about any of the characters than I was last time round. I’m guessing next week is going to start with the scientists fixing the generator with the crystals, and am tempted to conclude that this episode could be skipped entirely without you even noticing. I recommend you don’t bother with it.
Master Sebrien begins the episode by taking He-Man to an underground city, known as Onnor. While there, he introduces He-Man to the other inhabitants, including the scientists, and it’s so very nice to see them again. There is widespread scepticism among the people that He-Man is capable of doing anything against the Mutants, so helpfully the Mutants launch an attack ship to give He-Man the opportunity to prove himself.
The attack ship contains a green Mutant called Slush Head, who is – rather surprisingly – given to composing poetry about how evil he is. It’s not very good poetry, admittedly, but it still must be noted that this is intelligence beyond anything of Skeletor’s former minions. The poetry doesn’t help, of course: He-Man shows up mighty quick, and sends Slush Head packing.
Slush Head returns to the Mutant base, where despite his defeat, he reveals that he has at least fulfilled the main part of his mission: to take some reconnaissance photos of various locations on Primus. Skeletor examines the photos, and forms a plan with Flogg: they will destroy some crystals from a power generator. Once the crystals are gone, the temperature on Primus will rise to an unmanageable level.
The Mutants are successful in this exciting plan, which prompts a discussion between He-Man, Master Sebrien, Mara, Hydron and Flipshot. The only place to get replacement crystals is Gorn City, which is incidentally on the Mutants’ home world Denebria. It’s nice to see that a complete and total lack of forward planning is not limited to Man-at-Arms. In order to get to Denebria, our heroes dust off an ancient starship.
The starship is crewed by He-Man, Hydron, Flipshot and a robot called Gleep. In addition, the young boy Caz stows away on board, even though his sister Drissy threatens to “whip” He-Man if Caz goes with him. Once on Denebria, He-Man and Gleep head to the market in Gorn City, and bloody Caz follows him. I’m getting a bad feeling that Caz is going to be the Orko of this series, but let’s keep an open mind.
Of course, this whole business with the stolen crystals is an elaborate trap. Once He-Man starts asking around trying to buy replacement crystals, he comes to the attention of a bunch of Skeletor’s thugs, led by a Cyclops called Meliak, who try to take him prisoner. Interestingly, Meliak has a degree of morality: he refuses to harm Caz and lets him go.
He-Man defeats Meliak pretty easily, at which point Skeletor turns up for a more interesting duel. It’s not a duel that lasts particularly long, however; He-Man soon contrives to hurl Skeletor into a pit of water. Once that’s achieved, He-Man grabs some crystals, which are suddenly on the scene. I’m not sure where they came from, but never mind. He re-boards the starship, which he finds that Hydron and Flipshot have decided to name Starship Eternia. He-Man tries to make out that he’s impressed, but I suspect he’d rather Hydron and Flipshot had actually helped in this mission, rather than sit around thinking up names for their ship.
In today’s adventure…
Hm. Weird. Last week there was a moral lesson, this week there’s not. I’ll admit, I’m watching these on YouTube, so it’s not necessarily complete. In the absence of an official moral, though, I’ll supply my own, which is that if you’re building an energy system on which your planet depends, you should definitely make sure that it’s fuelled by something which can’t be found on your planet. It’ll be even more sensible if the fuel is something which can only be obtained from your enemy’s planet. That definitely makes sense.
Right, let’s try and take stock. There’s Prince Adam, He-Man, Master Sebrien, Hydron, Flipshot, Caz, Drissy, Gleep, Gepple, Meldock, Elcon, Krax, some other dudes, Skeletor, Flogg, Slush Head, Meliak, and several other Mutants, whose names I didn’t get.
Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance
Adam makes his transformation with only Master Sebrien around, so he doesn’t need to give an excuse. That’s probably just as well. Until he’s got to grips with what’s normal on Primus, he probably doesn’t want to be giving excuses. Imagine if he said, “Oh, Adam’s just gone down to Asda to buy some crumpets,” then everyone else would say, “What’s Asda? What are crumpets? What the hell are you talking about, you loon?” Then He-Man’s reputation would be damaged. It doesn’t bear thinking about.
No one makes any outright insults this week; the best we have is Skeletor implying that Slush Head is a moron by saying, “Too much brain strain?” when Slush Head fails to comprehend a simple plan.
Does it have the Power?
Again, this is a nicely watchable instalment. There’s nothing wrong with it, and we’re beginning to get to know our characters reasonably well now. Our heroes are the more well-developed group so far; Master Sebrien, Caz and Drissy all have discernible personalities. Hydron and Flipshot have the same personality so far, but it’s early days yet. On the Mutant side, Flogg comes across as the most evil, while Slush Head looks likely to be the idiot of the group, despite his bizarre poetry.
Plotwise, it’s all fairly standard for He-Man, and at this stage it’s nice to see familiar storylines playing out, rather than the series trying to be too different. One nice touch is that He-Man actually takes some currency to Gorn City with which to pay for the crystals, which is very pleasing. Filmation He-Man may have been a stout moraliser on many subjects, but his personal ethics seemed a little less clear-cut when it came to nicking things (rainbow quartz, for example).
So let’s call it another win for the New Adventures of He-Man. Who’d have thought it?
Well, here we are. The first episode of the much-derided New Adventures of He-Man. Let’s approach this with an open mind. As was the case with She-Ra, the first five episodes of this series were edited together into a film, so this is not only the first episode but the first 20 minutes of a longer story.
The first few minutes of the episode establish our basic premise. There’s a planet called Primus, inhabited by a boy called Caz and two young ladies called Drissy and Mara, as well as a whole host of other goodies, who I expect I’ll get to know soon enough. Orbiting Primus is a skull-shaped moon, on which live the Mutants. These are led by a purple dude called Flogg, and for whatever reason they are trying to destroy or invade Primus. Fortunately, a defensive shield protects the planet.
Still, the Mutants’ attacks are getting ever stronger, and the inhabitants of Primus fear that the shield will not hold. Luckily, an elder gentleman called Master Sebrien – identified as the leader of the Council – has come up with a solution, which involves opening a time portal to the past, sending a timeship through it, and collecting someone with the power to defend Primus. Anyone want to guess who this mysterious someone might be?
After a scene in which we are introduced to the notoriously irritating scientists – a quartet of shrieking morons called Gepple, Krax, Meldock and Elcon – the timeship sets off, carrying the brave pilots Captain Hydron and Flipshot. It isn’t specified, but presumably the timeship can travel in space as well as time, since it winds up – obviously – on Eternia, which I assume is a different planet to Primus.
No need to get too bogged down in logic, though – it’s time for a bit of action! When Hydron and Flipshot arrive, they are instantly assaulted by a trio of impolite dudes who take them prisoner. I should probably mention that these dudes are dressed as sheep, so they aren’t as intimidating as perhaps they could have been. Anyway, the sheep men announce their intention to take Hydron and Flipshot to Snake Mountain, and with this bombshell, we fade to the commercial break.
After the break, we meet this series’ version of He-Man. He’s a tad disappointing, in that he has blonde hair, rather than neon orange, and he also wears jeans, rather than red furry underpants. Well, he might wear the red furry underpants, but if he does, they’re under his jeans. Anyway, he is contacted by the Sorceress, who tells him that he must journey to the future to save humanity, so he barrels off to say his goodbyes to Eternia, and find Hydron, Flipshot and their timeship.
Meanwhile, we now meet the new Skeletor. I like him a lot more than I like the new He-Man. He’s not got the right voice, of course, but otherwise he seems to be exhibiting his usual winning combination of evil, stupidity, sarcasm and unnecessary unpleasantness. Learning that Hydron and Flipshot are highly technologically advanced but have virtually no defences, he turns on the charm, convinces them that he is the hero they seek, and agrees to come to Primus with them.
Over at the Royal Palace, He-Man has turned back into Prince Adam, and is explaining to King Randor and Queen Marlena about the whole secret identity business. The animators have succeeded in drawing King Randor almost exactly as the Filmation animators did, but seem to have had a complete spasm when they drew Marlena, to whom they have attributed a prominent hunchback and bright blue hair. Consequently, the dramatic impact of this scene is diminished slightly, but it’s still rather touching when Randor says, “You have made me so proud, my son.” It’s nice that the writers of this series chose to tie up that ongoing plot point from Filmation.
Hydron and Flipshot are just about to board their timeship with Skeletor, when He-Man shows up, and the ensuing rumble results in all four of them travelling back to Primus. Instantly, Skeletor drops his charade of not being evil, and casts his lot in with the Mutants, currently bowing to Flogg’s leadership but clearly having designs on command himself. In the meantime, He-Man reveals his secret identity to Master Sebrien and turns back into Adam; in order to maintain the secret identity, Sebrien suggests that from this day forward Adam pretend to be his nephew. And so all the pieces are in place for this new, sci-fi-oriented He-Man series.
In today’s adventure…
Hydron and Flipshot explain that when there’s an emergency, the first rule is to not panic, since it’s easier to work things out if you remain calm. This has absolutely bugger-all to do with the story we’ve just watched, but I’m so glad to be out of the dark days of Loo-Kee’s moral sermons, I don’t care.
Yeah, so, I don’t know everyone’s name yet, so this one’s going to be difficult. Giving it my best shot, there’s Prince Adam, He-Man, the Sorceress, Master Sebrien, Hydron, Flipshot, Caz, Drissy, Mara, Elcon, Gepple, Krax, Meldock, King Randor, Queen Marlena, Skeletor, Flogg, Slush Head, some sheep-men, and some other Mutants.
Excuse given for Prince Adam’s disappearance
The whole point this week is that Adam reveals his identity to his parents and to Master Sebrien on purpose, so it would be pretty weird if he did give an excuse.
Hydron and Flipshot refer to the Mutants as “space buzzards”, and they in turn are referred to as “mock turtles” by the sheep men. Otherwise, He-Man makes us feel like we’re on comfortable territory by telling Skeletor that he’s a “fool”.
I know enough about this series to know that the scientists have an immensely poor reputation, and so I have decided to introduce this new category, to replace the hugely popular Oh No, Bow! section that featured throughout She-Ra’s run. I say “hugely popular”. I mean that I enjoyed it. I don’t know if anyone else did. Anyway, Silence, Scientists! will record the no doubt many occasions on which the scientists ought to shut up, or piss off entirely.
The first such incident is, of course, their sole appearance in this episode, in which they manage to make themselves enormously unlikeable within the space of a mere 30 seconds of screen time. The worst so far is Gepple, who has the most incredibly improbable hairstyle I’ve ever seen. It’s a close-run thing though; they’re all complete dicks. In fact, let’s award them points every time they’re idiots, and we’ll see who’s the most irritating by the end of the series. Based on their performance this week, they’ve all got 1 point so far.
Does it have the Power?
Actually, and perhaps surprisingly, yes it does. There’s clearly a degree of affection for the Filmation series here, and it’s appreciated that the story takes the time to wrap up the ongoing story in which King Randor is disappointed in Adam. In addition, it’s pleasing that when Skeletor departs Eternia into the future, the episode takes the time to show a shot of Snake Mountain losing its evil nature. It all helps to ease us into this new setting.
I mentioned that He-Man is a tad disappointing, but he’s not that bad really. If it weren’t for the memory of the neon orange haired moron that we all know and love, I think this He-Man would have made a decent impression. Skeletor is still awesome, and comes across as ever so slightly more sociopathic than the original. I think I’m going to like him.
The other baddies are as yet fairly characterless, but they were barely in this episode, and there’s plenty of time for them to develop. As to the goodies, the scientists are massive clowns, but otherwise Master Sebrien seems likeable enough, as do Hydron and Flipshot. Unfortunately, it did occur to me pretty early on that Flipshot is an anagram of “shit flop”, which an unkind person might suggest was a fair description of this series. I am not that unkind person. Not yet. I’m giving this first entry into the series a relatively enthusiastic thumbs-up. If nothing else, it’s certainly better than watching She-Ra swanning about in space.
This magnum opus of cinema begins with some helpful narration, which explains the basic concept of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, and it remains broadly similar to the premise that we all know and love. On this outing, Castle Grayskull sits at the centre of the universe, and it contains the power needed for someone to become Master of the Universe. The Sorceress of Grayskull guards this power from the forces of evil.
Immediately after the credits, we are introduced to Skeletor. This is no doubt because the filmmakers knew he was far and away the best thing about the film, and was thus needed as soon as possible in order to hold our attention. Skeletor has evidently been watching Star Wars, since he has a huge army of Imperial Storm Troopers, the only difference being that they are dressed in black rather than white. Skeletor is less subtle in his evilness than the Galactic Empire.
Anyway, rather to my surprise, Skeletor has already captured Castle Grayskull, and is lounging about on the throne. The budget evidently didn’t stretch to showing the battle in which he managed to gain access to the castle. Evil-Lyn is present, wearing a bin bag and a tin foil hat, and she reports that He-Man is continuing to lead the resistance. The Sorceress is also present, and is just as given to talking in irritating, unhelpful cryptic hints as she was in the Filmation series.
Skeletor makes a public service announcement to Eternia, informing them that he has taken control of Grayskull. He-Man stands on a hill in order to pose dramatically while Skeletor makes this broadcast, then introduces himself to the audience by having a random fight with some Storm Troopers. Man-at-Arms and Teela appear at this juncture, the latter of whom looking as though she’s escaped from the set of an intergalactic remake of Grease. He-Man gives her a welcoming hug and cops a quick feel of her backside.
Before Man-at-Arms can complain that He-Man hasn’t fondled his rear end too, we are treated to the appearance of a ghastly Orko-substitute called Gwildor. Gwildor is the inventor of a device called the Cosmic Key, which can open a doorway between any two locations. He explains that Evil-Lyn stole the Cosmic Key, and used it to allow Skeletor and his Storm Troopers to enter Grayskull. Once this exciting plot point is established, our heroic party waltzes into Grayskull themselves, and after a less than enlightening conversation with the Sorceress, they are pinned down by Skeletor.
I’d love to say it’s an exciting fight, but unfortunately all I could think of during this scene was that Star Wars does this sort of thing so much better. And frankly, I don’t even like Star Wars. The scene ends with Gwildor using another copy of his stupid Cosmic Key to open a gateway to a random location, through which our heroes escape.
These events cover the first 15 minutes of the film, and it’s all been pretty standard silly Eternian shenanigans up to this point. It’s not been good, as such, but it’s been watchable. Unfortunately, Gwildor’s gateway takes He-Man and his mates to Earth, and so the film now takes an unwelcome left turn into a boring story in which our heroes set to work looking for the second copy of the Cosmic Key, which they have somehow lost. They are pretty sure that it must be somewhere on Earth, so they split up to try to search the entire planet. I’m sure this won’t take long, especially since splitting up seems to mean that He-Man goes one way, while the other three go to a cheap version of KFC and steal some fried chicken.
In this cheap version of KFC, we meet Monica from Friends. She does have another name in this film, but obviously I didn’t listen to it. When we first meet her, it’s the end of her final shift at the knock-off KFC. She therefore changes out of her uniform right behind the counter where all the customers can see her. This seems odd behaviour, but as this film goes on, we’ll learn that Monica is a pretty odd person.
Monica has just broken up with her boyfriend, who is Tom Paris from Star Trek: Voyager. Tom Paris also has another name, but we’re going to call him Tom Paris because I think it’s funny, and there are precious few other laughs in this film. Tom Paris and Monica have broken up for no readily apparent reason, but they still act like they’re together anyway, regularly hugging and kissing throughout the film. “Why?” you ask. “Why not?” the filmmakers reply, shrugging their shoulders.
Monica and Tom Paris go to the local cemetery, where Monica ribbits on about how her parents have recently died in a plane crash, which is tragic, so it’s no surprise that she’s easily distracted when she finds the Cosmic Key. The Cosmic Key looks like a bomb, so Monica eagerly picks it up and beams with demented delight. Tom Paris is no less insane; he decides the Key must be a musical instrument, and laughs merrily as it emits sparks. These two have a complete death wish. If I’d found that thing, I’d be calling the bomb disposal squad, not carrying it round and chuckling like a halfwit.
The next scene confirms that Tom Paris is a complete moron; he takes the Key to his band’s rehearsal space, and plugs it into his amp. Come on, Tom Paris. It doesn’t look like an instrument in the slightest. I’ll admit it makes silly noises, but that’s sheer coincidence. I’m also unconvinced that Gwildor would have installed an Earth-compatible audio jack on the Cosmic Key.
Of course, thanks to Tom Paris’ stupid mucking about, Skeletor and Evil-Lyn are able to lock on to the Key’s current location, and so they send an advance party of baddies through a gateway to recover it and ambush He-Man. The baddies include:
Blade, a dude who wears an eye patch and has a pair of knives strapped to his head.
Saurod, a vaguely reptilian gentleman in a silly black armoured suit. Saurod has the dubious honour of being incinerated by Skeletor in the not-too-distant future.
Beast-Man, who looks like a Poundland version of Chewbacca.
Karg, who looks like a Family Bargains version of Beast-Man.
Hilarious japes ensue when these four bound happily through the gateway and corner Monica in the band’s rehearsal space. I’m sure this scene is great, but I’m watching and writing this on the Southwestern Trains service from Waterloo to Portsmouth, and there’s an enormously stupid woman sat behind me shrieking into her mobile about some horrible house she’s renovating, so I was rather distracted. Listen lady, no one cares about your house. I’m watching He-Man.
Actually, to be honest, I’m not watching He-Man. He-Man has been mysteriously absent from this film for the last quarter of an hour, and instead I’ve been watching a load of really cheap messing about with Monica from Friends crawling around under a table while four individuals – allegedly the best assassins in the galaxy – inexplicably fail to capture her. Come on, He-Man. If you don’t show up soon, I’m going to start randomly skipping ahead.
Ah, here he is. Right on cue, Monica blunders into He-Man while she’s running away from Blade and Skeletor’s other dicks. Unfortunately, that bloody woman’s started up again, so I have more information about her plastering and painting contract with “Dave” than I do about He-Man and Monica. Apparently, Dave isn’t doing his job very well. On the plus side, we’ve just left Clapham Junction and I know for a fact there’s no signal from here until at least Woking, so the beastly fool will shut up soon. On the minus side, Dave and his ineptitude is actually quite a lot more interesting than this film is at the moment.
With the help of his chicken-pilfering colleagues Teela and Man-at-Arms, He-Man repels the attack of Blade and co. as easily as he would in the cartoon. It’s now time to seek some answers from Monica, who is surprisingly not too worried about the appearance of a buff bodybuilder equipped with a sword, a laser pistol, and wearing nothing more than his pants and a red cloak. He-Man laboriously explains the entire plot to her, and she happily accepts it all as if this sort of thing happens all the time. She and Tom Paris are definitely doing some serious hallucinogenic drugs. Loo-Kee would not approve.
Tom Paris teams up with a police inspector and spends some time cruising the streets looking for Monica, while Gwildor nicks a car and takes Team He-Man on a ride looking for Tom Paris. With both sets of characters out looking for each other, it naturally takes a fair while before anything of interest happens, so I have occupied myself in tuning back in to the ongoing saga of Dave the Rubbish Painter. Turns out he’s painted the outside of the house blue, but he was supposed to paint the inside. That is, admittedly, a pretty poor effort, but there’s still no need for the idiot woman to inform the entire train.
Eventually, all our heroes reunite, and are pinned down in a music shop by Evil-Lyn, Blade, Beast-Man and Karg. Saurod is no longer present, owing to the above-mentioned incineration. Gwildor attempts to reactivate the Cosmic Key so they can all go back to Eternia, though I don’t know why they want to go back there. The only reason they’re on Earth in the first place is because they were defeated on Eternia and had to run away. Nothing’s changed, so why bother going back?
This very good question is not answered, because before Gwildor can reactivate the Key, we get a huge case of “what the fuck is wrong with you, Monica?” Basically, Evil-Lyn pretends to be Monica’s dead mother and asks Monica to fetch the Cosmic Key for her, and Monica does so. At this stage in the film, Monica knows the following:
Her mother died in a plane crash.
There is an evil being called Skeletor, who requires something called the Cosmic Key to dominate the entire universe.
The Cosmic Key is currently in Monica’s possession.
Her mother, despite being dead, is currently standing outside a music shop asking Monica to fetch the Cosmic Key, an artefact of great power in which she has heretofore displayed absolutely zero interest.
Knowing all the above, why the Jesus Christ would Monica choose to simply hand over the Cosmic Key? The only plausible answer is that she is completely brain-dead. On reflection, that explains it.
He-Man has again gone AWOL from the film, in favour of endless scenes of the police inspector standing around bellowing that he’s going to arrest everyone. He should start with Dave the Painter, I think, who is clearly dangerously incompetent, given the current thread of that moronic woman’s conversation. Still, once Monica’s done her little Cosmic Key giveaway, He-Man reappears looking mightily fucked off, and he looks even more so when Evil-Lyn opens a gateway to Eternia, from which Skeletor emerges in a massive tank. I didn’t know that was part of the plan, but I’m increasingly getting the impression that the writers have only the vaguest notion of the concept of narrative.
There’s now an interminable sequence involving He-Man flying around on a hoverboard shooting Storm Troopers. If I knew when Back to the Future 2 came out, I might have concluded that Masters of the Universe was ripping that off as well as Star Wars, but since I’m not sure, I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt. Instead, I’ll settle for commenting that this bit is less than compelling, and has the feel of a bit only inserted at the last minute because the producers suddenly realised they had a bit of cash left over. It’s certainly not relevant to the plot, not that I can really remember what the plot is supposed to be by this stage.
Skeletor, meanwhile, is merrily driving his tank up and down the high street as if he’s part of a Thanksgiving parade. He moves at an infinitesimally slow pace, and yet still manages to capture all of our heroes, with the exception of that dick of a policeman, who has been missing from the film for some time. I’m not sure if this is because he’s going to make a grand re-entry at some stage, or simply because the writers have forgotten about him.
He-Man strikes a bargain with Skeletor, agreeing to return to Eternia as a slave if Skeletor will spare the lives of Man-at-Arms, Teela, etc. As opposed to the Filmation version, this incarnation of Skeletor has some conception of the long game, and actually keeps his word, taking He-Man away but leaving the other goodies alive and at liberty. Unfortunately, Gwildor reveals that the Cosmic Key is now fused or broken or something, which means that they are stranded on Earth.
Already in training for Star Trek: Voyager, Tom Paris is insistent that there must be a deus ex machina available for use at this stage. And thus it proves. Because Tom Paris can remember the sequence of stupid noises the Key made when he thought it was a musical instrument, Gwildor is able to reprogram the Key with Eternia’s coordinates! Hurrah! Despite a last minute reappearance from the stupid policeman, trying to delay proceedings, the gateway is opened, and it’s over to Eternia for all our heroes.
They arrive just in time to miss a serious display of overacting from Skeletor, who has absorbed all the powers of Grayskull, thanks to some bollocks about the moon rising and some magical eye opening. As a result of this, he’s put on a new outfit, which looks considerably tackier than his previous effort. Once Teela etc arrive, there’s an almighty ruckus in Grayskull’s throne room, which comes to an almost satisfactory conclusion when He-Man raises his sword and cries, “I have the Power!” before launching into a Star Wars-aping duel with Skeletor.
Well, of course, He-Man wins, and sends Skeletor plummeting down into a pit. I don’t know why there’s a massive pit in the middle of the throne room, but why the hell not? The film ends with He-Man restoring the Sorceress to power, and for no readily apparent reason she allows the halfwit policeman to go into retirement on Eternia. Gwildor sends Monica and Tom Paris back to Earth, where Monica finds that her parents have been magically and inexplicably restored to life. I cannot express how happy I was at this revelation. If I hadn’t been on the train, I’d have cheered.
And finally – there’s a post-credits sting in which Skeletor pops his head up from beneath some pink liquid and announces to the camera, “I’ll be back.” Unfortunately, this version of Skeletor was never able to come back, due to his subsequent arrest for copyright infringement of Star Wars and the Terminator, and possibly Back to the Future.
In today’s adventure…
You know as well as I do that there was no moral segment to this film. A moral segment at least implies a degree of coherent thought about what story the writers were trying to tell, and I don’t think that coherent thought was anywhere near the production of this film. I have therefore taken it upon myself to supply a couple of moral lessons drawn from the film:
If you meet a man dressed in nothing more than pants, bra and a red cloak, don’t worry: he’s the Most Powerful Man in the Universe, not a sex pest. Though, worryingly, I suppose he could be both.
If you find a mysterious glowing piece of machinery in a crater, it’s probably a special Japanese musical instrument, not a bomb. You should definitely fiddle about with it and press all the buttons.
If you’re an American policeman, act like a complete dick throughout any weird proceedings, and you’ll be rewarded by being allowed to retire to Eternia.
If your parents have recently died, they will probably reappear later, with zero explanation.
If you’re Monica from Friends, don’t worry – no one will remember you appeared in this atrocity of a film. If, on the other hand, you’re Tom Paris, this is probably the pinnacle of your career, and is about twenty times better than Star Trek: Voyager.
If you’re redecorating your house, don’t call Dave the Painter.
For the first 45 minutes or thereabouts, the only person doing any insulting is Teela. She calls Gwildor a “worm” and what sounds like a “Fenurrian wombat”. This may not be what she said; Teela doesn’t speak very clearly. Shortly afterwards, she refers to Earth as “a barbaric world”, as part of a bizarre little interlude in which she and Gwildor make an unexpected and somewhat half-hearted case for vegetarianism.
Once Teela’s finished, it’s time for the baddies to take their turn. Blade starts off by calling either Beast-Man or Karg an “animal”. It’s not entirely clear which of them he’s addressing, and they’re both present and would both fit this description. Evil-Lyn shortly thereafter shrieks “fools”, though I don’t know who she was talking about. Frankly, only about half of the sentences uttered in this film seem to have any kind of relevance to the preceding piece of dialogue.
It’s only towards the end that Skeletor gets into his stride, starting off by calling Gwildor a “minute minion”, and then proceeds to describe Earth as a “primitive and tasteless planet”. These barbs are only warm-ups for the main event, which I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for: the high point of the entire film, when Skeletor keeps up the He-Manic tradition of referring to He-Man as a “fool”.
Elsewhere, the police inspector calls Tom Paris a “moron kid”, and finally, the woman behind me on the train referred to Dave the Painter as a “fucking idiot”.
Does it have the Power?
Let’s just say it’s easy to see why this didn’t get a sequel, and didn’t go on to spawn the multi-film franchise that it was plainly aiming at. It isn’t a complete disaster, but it is a 90% disaster. I hate deriding things for looking cheap, because obviously there’s only so much money they were given and that’s that, but this film really does look like it was put together in a weekend with whatever materials could be salvaged from the bins behind B&Q.
The lack of budget is obviously the reason for the film primarily being set on Earth; it’s a lot easier to film on streets, fast food restaurants and music shops than it is to build impressive sets for various exotic Eternian locations. The problem is that in a Masters of the Universe film, we want to see Eternia, not Earth. We want to see Snake Mountain, not a KFC knockoff, and we want the Royal Palace, not Monica’s parents’ house.
As far as characters and actors go, it’s difficult to pick a favourite. Skeletor made a reasonably good impression at first, but let himself down with some dreadful acting in the final 15 minutes of the film. It’s not really fair to compare him to Filmation’s Skeletor, who is indisputably the greatest character in the history of television, but I have to conclude that this Skeletor never really cut the mustard. He’s certainly evil, but comes across as rather more doleful than his usual gleeful nature, as if someone’s making him be evil, but he can’t really be bothered.
And speaking of can’t be bothered, I think that description fits a lot of other characters, notably He-Man, Man-at-Arms and the Sorceress. None of them – especially the Sorceress – ever give the impression that they’re involved in this film for anything other than a paltry pay check. Teela, bless her heart, does give it her best effort, but I rather wish she hadn’t been trying so hard. The same can be said for that div of a policeman. I’m not even going to discuss Gwildor.
Monica and Tom Paris do the best they can with some pretty appalling material; Monica gets a rawer deal, given that atrocious scene in the middle where she idiotically gave away the Cosmic Key to Evil-Lyn. It’s a hard sell, having to convincingly behave like a complete moron and then scream “NOOOOO!!!!” when you realise what you’ve done, but Monica just about gets there. All Tom Paris has to do is hang around being a typical American teenager – albeit one who appears to be out of his head on LSD, given his casual acceptance of the bizarre proceedings – and this seems to be within his abilities.
Plotwise, the film is pretty straightforward, and despite my comments above, it’s relatively logical, insofar as He-Man is ever logical. The only confusing bit is the apparent existence of two Cosmic Keys, which has the ring of a last-minute rewrite when someone realised that if Skeletor has nicked the Cosmic Key, how can Gwildor accidentally transport our heroes to Earth? “Quick – make Gwildor have another copy of the Key – that’ll sort it!”
I’m trying, desperately, to think of something nice to say about the film, and thus prove that I’m not a negative person, forever carping on about why things are rubbish. Unfortunately, I’m finding it difficult to come up with anything. I think it’s probably best to quietly draw a veil over this entry, and move on to The New Adventures of He-Man. Surely that must be better than this?
This episode opens with She-Ra chatting on Skype to Sweet Bee, who is still flying around the galaxy in the Hive looking for a new home, and we are treated to a brief recap of the relevant bits of the episode Sweet Bee’s Home. You may recall in that episode, She-Ra was dead set against Sweet Bee’s people settling on Etheria; today, she seems to have done a complete u-turn and is trying to persuade Sweet Bee and the rest of her bee friends to come and join the Rebellion. Sweet Bee is not at all keen on this notion, however, and ends the chat rather hurriedly.
It now emerges that the Hive is being observed by a malevolent power, and that power is Skeletor, who’s been absent from the She-Ra series for so long that I thought he’d settled into graceful retirement, perhaps in a little villa on the Costa del Sol. Far from it. He’s barely on screen for 10 seconds before he’s up to his old tricks, shrieking out his latest moronic plan in between gratuitously insulting his henchmen.
This time, Skeletor’s plot is to enslave the entire race of Bee People and use them to defeat Horde Prime. I don’t want to pour cold water on your scheme, Skeletor, but if every single Bee Person can be defeated by you, Beast-Man and Trapjaw, what the flying fuck makes you think they’ll be any use whatsoever against Horde Prime?
Anyway, Skeletor successfully captures the bee people and hijacks the Hive, but he is foolish enough to let Sweet Bee escape. She leaps into a scout ship and flies off to ask for She-Ra’s help, which is all too eagerly granted. She-Ra is also considerate enough to call He-Man and let him know that he’s got a second chance with Sweet Bee, so He-Man comes bouncing over to Etheria with all due enthusiasm.
Sweet Bee points out that the Hive is deep in space, and her scout ship is a one-person craft only. This conundrum is our cue for things to go completely mental. Swift Wind pipes up to state that he “can’t fly that fast in space”, a statement which I at first thought was as close as the writers would ever come to admitting that he shouldn’t be able to fly in space at all. Instead, Swift Wind flies our heroes out into space anyway (no helmets or space suits, obviously, and plenty of talking in a vacuum) and contacts his friend, Crystal Sundancer, who is a red winged horse. For whatever bonkers reason, Crystal Sundancer CAN fly really fast through space, so He-Man and She-Ra board him instead.
En route to the Hive, our heroes run into two big purple balls chasing a big red ball. These balls all have extendable necks and heads which look vaguely lizard-like. With no idea what’s going on or why this chase is occurring, He-Man leaps off Crystal Sundancer and drifts off into space, hoping to help the big red ball. Why he does this is completely beyond me. It feels like the writer of this episode was having some sort of literary spasm.
In the meantime, She-Ra and Sweet Bee reach the Hive, where Skeletor has hypnotised all the Bee People, and is using them to fire force rays at our heroes. Pleasingly, he manages to defeat both She-Ra and Sweet Bee, but it all starts to unravel for him when He-Man re-enters the episode, riding the big red ball. Skeletor, Beast-Man and Trapjaw are easily defeated, and He-Man delivers a little lecture to the Bee People informing them that sometimes, it is necessary to fight to ensure peace.
In today’s adventure…
Loo-Kee is on Eternia today, outside Castle Grayskull! How the hell did he get there? He doesn’t explain, instead simply leaping into his latest crazy monologue, which this time concerns the fact that if you really want something, it’s worth working to get it. I don’t think I’d have ever worked that out on my own, so thanks, Loo-Kee. You can’t begin to understand just how helpful you are.
This one’s got She-Ra, Swift Wind, Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Sweet Bee, Netossa, Loo-Kee, the Bee People, Skeletor, Beast-Man, Trapjaw, Hordak, Catra, and how could we forget Crystal Sundancer and the purple and red balls? On the other hand, I don’t think Adora was in it, but maybe I just wasn’t paying attention.
Yes, well, with Skeletor about, it’s inevitable that there’d be a lot of insults. Disappointingly, though, we aren’t treated to anything particularly imaginative. Skeletor calls Trapjaw a “tin-head” twice, and then calls a Bee Person called Drone 7 a “bug-brain” and a “bee-man”, before turning his attention to Sweet Bee to tell her she’s a “bee-lady”. Drone 7 retorts that Skeletor is a “bone-faced monster”, and Sweet Bee refers to Trapjaw as a “can opener with a bad temper”. Last but not least, Skeletor tells the big red ball that it is a “miserable cat”, which seems a little odd. If anything, it looks like a lizard and acts like a dog, so I’m not quite sure what he’s on about there.
Does it have the Power?
It starts well and ends well, but the ten minutes in the middle of the episode are slow and a lot of it is just weird. I can’t shake the feeling that all the nonsense with the purple and red balls (introduced as Dinosaubs), and with Crystal Sundancer, was inserted purely as toy advertisements, though I don’t know if these were ever actually produced as toys. I know I’m on the internet, so I could look it up, but in the spirit of petulant stubbornness, I’m not going to. All I will say in addition to this subject is that Crystal Sundancer’s voice is really creepy, like an older person trying to sound young in order to trick a child. It quite disturbed me.
Otherwise, as mentioned above, the beginning of the episode was great; it’s always a pleasure to see Skeletor, and for Beast-Man and Trapjaw to reappear after all this time was a delight as well. Skeletor was entertainingly evil, and it’s been an enormously long time since we saw him and He-Man face off as we do at the end of this episode. The He-Man/Sweet Bee romance angle has been dropped, which is just as well, because without Frosta around to keep things tart, I’m sure it would have been sickening.
In short, this is an entertaining but flawed offering, which is worth watching, but with the caveat that you may as well skip from the moment Swift Wind flies into space until She-Ra and Sweet Bee arrive at the Hive. Still, purely for having Skeletor in it, this one gets a pass.
In which the Christmas spirit comes to Eternia. And Etheria. But mostly Eternia.
Merry Christmas to you all. I’m sure that, like me, you’ve spent every Christmas Day for the last 30 years watching the Christmas Special on repeat until your mind melts. However, it has come to my attention that there are a few unfortunate souls who haven’t yet been introduced to this classic of Christmas television, so I will here summarise the plot and then review it.
In the Royal Palace, King Randor and Queen Marlena welcome a vast phalanx of Eternia and Etheria’s foremost freaks of nature to celebrate Adam and Adora’s birthday. There’s Moss-Man flirting outrageously with Queen Angela, Snout Spout hanging out with Fisto, Stratos hulking ominously over Castaspella, and Glimmer being studiously ignored by Cringer. Sy-Klone is also present, though he seems to have been relegated to the role of a waiter. Don’t worry about all these names; they’re only here as background action-figure advertisements, and they don’t do anything important. It’s a lovely panning shot, but let’s get with the story.
Prince Adam and Man-at-Arms have skived off from the decorating in order to build a Sky Spy, a rocket which Man-at-Arms claims will allow them to learn of Skeletor’s every move. Of course, it’s not long before a combination of Orko’s innate stupidity and Man-at-Arms’ exceptionally poor design work means that Orko accidentally launches the rocket, with himself inside.
Skeletor is cruising about in the Collector, evidently simply looking for trouble, and the runaway rocket soon attracts his attention. Once Adam and Adora realise that Skeletor has noticed the Sky Spy, they become He-Man and She-Ra to stop Skeletor getting his bony blue hands on it. In this, they are successful: they inflict some gratuitous damage on the Collector, forcing Skeletor to turn and head for home. However, with his unerring talent for making a situation worse, Orko casts a spell on the Sky Spy which causes it to fly off into outer space.
He-Man and She-Ra – who as we all know can of course breathe, talk and survive in the vacuum of space – fly out of Eternia’s atmosphere and give chase. On this occasion, however, the Sky Spy engages its warp drive, and our heroes lose track of it. They return to Eternia, unaware that Orko was on board anyway, though I have to wonder how far they’d care, even if they did know.
The Sky Spy crash-lands on Earth, and Orko emerges to immediately find two children about to be buried by an avalanche. He casts a spell to save them, and as a consequence of this idiotic act, we’re stuck with these bratty kids for the rest of the Christmas Special. They’re called Alicia and Miguel, and they are kind enough to explain to Orko all about Christmas. It turns out that Christmas is about presents, peace and goodwill towards men. There is evidently no goodwill towards women. Jesus is also conspicuous by his absence.
Back on Eternia, Man-at-Arms successfully tracks the Sky Spy to Earth, and at the same time, Marlena and Teela realise that Orko is missing. They put two and two together, and Teela says with undisguised glee, “Are you saying we’ll never get Orko back?” Man-at-Arms suggests using a transport beam to travel to Earth, but this will require the use of a kerium water crystal, which must be obtained from Etheria.
She-Ra returns to Etheria, where she meets up with Mermista. Mermista was apparently not invited to the party on Eternia, which seems a trifle harsh. Choosing to ignore this snub, Mermista agrees to help She-Ra acquire the water crystal, which is achieved by having a short and lacklustre fight with one of those ubiquitous dragon-like creatures, this one known imaginatively as the Beast Monster.
Once the crystal is in She-Ra’s grubby mitts, she is confronted by three tall robots which introduce themselves as Monstroids. It seems that someone at Mattel was well aware of the success of the Transformers, because these are second-rate rip-offs. The Monstroids imprison She-Ra in a forcefield, for no readily apparent reason, and then they fly off. Once they’re gone, She-Ra releases herself from the forcefield with ease. This little sequence is the very epitome of a pointless advertising scene.
She-Ra brings the crystal back to Man-at-Arms, who uses it to activate his transporter beam. As an aside note, I don’t know why Man-at-Arms keeps inventing things that rely on nearly unobtainable power sources. Off the top of my head, this transporter beam is one such example, as is the Palace radio transmitter in Three on a Dare (which needed rainbow quartz from Snake Mountain), and he also reveals that the entire planet needs Eternium in Double Edged Sword. Forward planning is clearly not his strong suit.
Anyway, once he turns on the transporter beam, a glowing light appears next to Orko and the children, which finally distracts them from the endless nattering about Father Christmas. They all walk into the light, which somehow – do not ask me how, because it defies logic – makes the entire Sky Spy disappear and rematerialise on Eternia. Orko introduces Alicia and Miguel to the inhabitants of the Palace, though he notably limits the introductions to the more normal-looking citizens. Snout Spout, Moss-Man and Sy-Klone are no longer anywhere to be seen.
With Alicia and Miguel on Eternia spreading the message of Christmas goodness, Horde Prime is disturbed. Or I assume he’s disturbed. He sounds like he’s talking underwater, frankly, so I haven’t really got a clue what he’s saying. He definitely summons both Hordak and Skeletor, and tells them to do something or another, which – based on what they subsequently go off to do – is capture the children.
Hordak gets there first, kidnapping the children with a tractor beam, and taking Orko too for good measure. Once he gets them back to Etheria, however, he is ambushed by the Monstroids, who have decided to capture the children to deliver them to Horde Prime and claim some kind of reward. Hordak gives the children up without a fight, and they end up locked up in a cell with Orko, who starts off on one of his infuriating “it’s all my fault” kicks. Yes it is, Orko, and it’s always all your fault. Why don’t you learn not to piss about with stuff that’s nothing to do with you?
This irritating little sequence comes to an end with the beginning of an even more irritating sequence, in which some tiny robots called the Manchines come to the rescue. There are only two things I think I need to say about the Manchines: firstly, they plumb new depths of annoying, and secondly, one of them is called Cutter, which is possibly the most serial-killer name I’ve ever heard. They may seem to be rescuing the kids, but it can only be a matter of time before things turn nasty.
Luckily, He-Man and She-Ra show up to take the children out of Cutter’s hands, but less fortunately, Skeletor does likewise. He manages to get away with Alicia and Miguel, as well as some abomination of nature called Relay, who is a Manchine Puppy. He-Man and She-Ra give chase, but rather half-heartedly, and as a result, Skeletor escapes.
Not for long, of course. No. Now it’s time for Hordak to get involved again. He shoots down Skeletor’s Sky Sled, which crashes to a landing in some snowy mountains. Skeletor is then subjected to his most heinous character assassination since The Greatest Show on Eternia, when Alicia and Miguel tell him all about Christmas being the season of goodwill, and he actually listens. He gives the children nice warm coats and even saves that bloody dog Relay from freezing. In total fairness, this sequence does contain some of the funniest lines in the entire Christmas Special, as Skeletor tries and completely fails to understand how Christmas works.
Eventually, the whole sorry situation comes to a head when He-Man, She-Ra, Hordak and Horde Prime all locate Skeletor and the children. There’s an almighty ruckus, the end result of which is that Skeletor takes a stand and saves the children from Horde Prime. He then claims to feel unwell, and unceremoniously exits while He-Man and She-Ra laugh at him. Which is nice of them.
Back at the Palace, Man-at-Arms has recharged the water crystal sufficiently to return the children to Earth. Before they go, Prince Adam dresses up as Father Christmas and gives them some flying belts, which I hope Man-at-Arms didn’t invent, given how often Man-at-Arms’ inventions break. Once they’re gone, Father Christmas Adam saunters up to Adora and says “Ho ho ho!” in a tone that implies he’d like some Christmas sex, immediately. For once, Adora doesn’t seem to be in the mood, but before the situation can turn ugly, Orko appears terrifyingly close to the camera and wishes everyone a merry Christmas. The End.
In today’s adventure…
Adam and Orko deliver this week’s moral, in which Adam explains that not everyone celebrates Christmas, but the spirit of love, joy and caring is within us all. Orko adds that Christmas is also about peace, happiness, and – most importantly – presents. At this, Adam turns to mug at the camera with one of the weirdest expressions I’ve ever seen him pull. I assume it’s meant to look like mild exasperation with Orko’s obsession with presents, but unfortunately he looks like he’s quite seriously mentally disturbed. Frankly, I’ve never seen an expression that more succinctly conveys the phrase, “I will kill again.”
Oh good god, I don’t feel like I can successfully list all the characters in this car crash. I mean, it definitely includes Prince Adam, Cringer, He-Man, Battle-Cat, Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Man-at-Arms, Orko, Teela, Glimmer, Bow, Kowl, Alicia, Miguel, King Randor, Queen Marlena, Madame Razz, Broom, Stratos, Fisto, Snout Spout, Sy-Klone, Moss Man, Ram Man, Mechaneck, Zodak, Man-e-Faces, Flutterina, Peekablue, Frosta, Castaspella, Queen Angela, Perfuma, Mermista, Sea Hawk, the Twiggets, Dree Elle, Yuckers, the Widgets, Loo-Kee, Skeletor, Hordak, Two Bad, Webstor, Rattlor (who’s working for Skeletor this time, though he only has one line, and it’s not to explain what he’s doing there), Spikor, Catra, Modulok, Multibot, Horde Prime, the Monstroids, the Manchines (including Relay), and Alicia and Miguel’s parents, but for all I know it includes billions of others too.
Excuse given for Adora and Adam’s transformations
Despite numerous transformations, some of which take place in the easily over-looked Palace courtyard, neither Adam nor Adora nor anyone else seek to explain their absence.
Fittingly for a feature-length episode, we’ve got a feature-sized quantity of insults. We start relatively sedately, with Two-Bad’s purple head calling his blue one a “lamebrain”, and the blue head retaliating with “motormouth”.
Once Two-Bad’s got his little personality disorder out of the way, the majority of the rest of the insults are directed at Skeletor or the Monstroids. Swift Wind refers to the Monstroids as “evil robots”, whereas Hordak considers one of them to be a “bucket of bolts”. He-Man and She-Ra get in on the act with “metal-mouth” and “iron head” respectively. None of these insults is particularly imaginative, but everyone’s just warming up at this stage.
Hordak’s in a foul mood with Skeletor this week, calling him “bone-brain”, “bonehead” and “skull-faced scoundrel” on various occasions. He-Man’s heart doesn’t seem to be in it, but he does at least contrive to join in by calling Skeletor a “bone-face”. Skeletor doesn’t even dignify this with a response, but does tell Hordak that he’s a “miserable excuse for a villain”. He then refers to Alicia and Miguel as “troublesome tots” and to Relay as a “dratted dog”, a sentiment with which I wholeheartedly concur.
Finally, Hordak says that Alicia and Miguel are “goody-goods” and “little fools”, while She-Ra tells Horde Prime that he is a “troublemaker”. This last is entirely accurate, and I suspect Horde Prime is pleased about it, but I’m pretty sure She-Ra wasn’t trying to be complimentary.
Oh No, Bow!
In the scene at the start where our heroes are decorating the Palace, Bow is engrossed in unnecessarily painting a box, which is the most complicated task that anyone dared to assign him. Even so, he’s still got the nerve to tell Peekablue that the stars she’s painting on the wall ought to be purple. Bow is clearly big in the world of interior design, as evidenced by the fact that he lives in a campsite in the woods, and therefore has loads of experience in the subject.
Bow then disappears from the episode, until about halfway through when he pops up again in order to lean against a tree, thrusting his crotch provocatively in the direction of Alicia and Miguel, and to teach them to sing a horrendous song about joy and Christmas spirit. It’s dreadful. Bow’s done some horrific things in the past, but this really does go the extra mile. Go away, Bow. I never want to see you again.
Does it have the Power?
I don’t like being overly negative, especially when it’s plain that the writers and production team have really tried to craft a great Christmas special, but this one has never really done anything for me, and I don’t know why. I think part of the problem is that an awful lot of it comes across as an advert, rather than a story – the Monstroids and the Manchines, in particular, really felt like they were only there to sell toys.
Looking back over the episode summary, I’d say that I enjoyed the Special mostly up to the point where Alicia and Miguel arrived on Eternia, after which it goes downhill quite rapidly with the endless capturing and rescuing of the children. As mentioned above, Skeletor has some brilliant lines when he has custody of the children, but this is pretty much the only point in the whole special at which the dialogue really comes to life.
Speaking of Skeletor, I think I’m more open than many He-Man fans when it comes to his character. I know that his crazy desire to bring the circus to Snake Mountain in The Greatest Show on Eternia infuriated many, but I – while not welcoming it with open arms – didn’t particularly mind. However, his behaviour in this episode is perhaps one step too far. I simply cannot believe that Skeletor would ever do anything good, especially not giving up a reward from Horde Prime for capturing the children. It just doesn’t ring true. My impression of Skeletor is that he can be petty and small-minded (as with the circus incident), but he just doesn’t have it in him to do good.
Everything else this time is pretty much by-the-numbers. He-Man, She-Ra and Hordak are all present and correct, as are the lead supporting casts from the respective shows, but no one does anything inspiring. It’s nice to see Man-at-Arms again, though it would have been good if Teela could have had a few more lines. Glimmer gets short shrift, as always, but who cares about her? In summary, I’m afraid I can’t say I loved this episode, but being honest, if you’re a He-Man fan, you’re going to be watching it this Christmas anyway.
In which Adora and Adam put on the worst disguises ever.
This week is a rare treat: we open on Eternia, where He-Man and Man-at-Arms are hanging out, testing a new shield that Man-at-Arms has invented. It’s good to see Man-at-Arms again, even if it does remind me that he’s almost as big a tit as Bow is. Anyway, soon enough, He-Man is summoned by the Sorceress to Castle Grayskull, and off he goes, leaving Man-at-Arms behind. This is surely the last time we see Man-at-Arms, and it feels like I’ve left a small piece of my soul behind.
At Castle Grayskull, the Sorceress gets on Skype with Adora and Madame Razz on Etheria. Adora relates a hard-luck story about how the rebels were fooled by one of the most obvious traps I’ve ever seen, and have all been captured by Hordak. Adora and Madame Razz are the only ones who managed to escape, and Adora has lost her sword. Consequently, they’d really like He-Man’s help to get them out of this self-inflicted mess. Personally, I have no sympathy at all, but He-Man is a much nicer person than I am.
In the meantime, Hordak is celebrating his victory and congratulating Spicester, who is the gentleman who lured the rebels into the trap in the first place. His celebration is short-lived, however; Horde Prime gets in touch and announces that he is sending Inspector Darkney to make a thorough assessment of Hordak’s operation, and to discover why Hordak has completely failed to defeat She-Ra.
The moment He-Man arrives on Etheria, he is ambushed by Mantenna, and the one-sided battle is observed by Darkney. He-Man subsequently captures Darkney, and in a fit of insanity, decides to impersonate him and go to the Fright Zone. In total fairness, the impersonation does involve turning back into Prince Adam and putting on a fake beard, so I imagine Hordak will be completely fooled.
Actually, I don’t know why I’m being so sarcastic. Of course Hordak is fooled, even though Adam has brought Public Enemy Number One, Adora, along with him, and her only concession to a disguise is a big red cloak. Adam and Adora then put Hordak through a variety of humiliating exercises, seemingly purely for their own entertainment, before locking him in a cell and getting down to the serious business of locating Adora’s sword so she can become She-Ra.
Adam then dresses She-Ra and all the rebel prisoners up in Horde Trooper costumes, and marches them out of the Fright Zone. It’s Catra – putting in her first appearance for absolutely ages – who smells a rat, and rescues Hordak from his cell. Hordak gets in a big tank and gives chase to the prisoners, but comes up against He-Man and She-Ra, and the encounter goes about as well for him as you might expect.
Back in Whispering Wood, Adam accepts the thanks of Bow and Netossa for rescuing them, and then does a little flirting with Adora which makes for rather uncomfortable viewing. Cersei and Jaime have nothing on these two.
In today’s adventure…
Not unexpectedly, Loo-Kee is in a tree in Whispering Wood today. He witters on about the love that families have for each other, which is definitely a topic he’s never touched on before. The writers had blatantly run out of life lessons to dispense by this point.
This trip to Etheria features Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Prince Adam, He-Man, Madame Razz, Bow, Netossa, Man-at-Arms, the Sorceress, Loo-Kee, some random rebels, Hordak, Catra, Spicester, Mantenna, Grizzlor, Inspector Darkney, and some Horde Troopers.
The word of the week is evidently “bumbling”, since it appears on no less than four separate occasions. Mantenna and Hordak both refer to some Horde Troopers as “bumbling robots”, Hordak calls Spicester a “bumbling fool”, and Darkney calls Hordak a “bumbling bozo”. Darkney also considers Hordak to be a “miserable excuse for a Horde commander” and furthermore believes He-Man and Adora to be “blasted rebels”.
In return, the rebels only manage a couple of barbs in the Horde’s direction: Madame Razz says that Darkney is an “unpleasant man”, and He-Man calls Mantenna “bug-eyes”. The Horde do, however, manage to insult each other on a few further occasions: Catra says that Spicester is a “measly sneak”, and Hordak rather surprisingly calls Catra and Spicester “baboons”. This could have been “buffoons”, but I prefer “baboons”.
Does it have the Power?
I enjoyed this episode, though I certainly wouldn’t rave about it. It was, as noted above, good to see Man-at-Arms again, and the opening scene felt like the beginning of a He-Man episode rather than a She-Ra one, which was pleasingly nostalgic. The plot once again revolves around people being captured and needing to be rescued, but with the added spice of the inspector impersonation, this storyline doesn’t feel as tired as it often does.
Speaking of spice, I’m at a loss to understand the need for Spicester, and I certainly don’t know why he’s called that. He doesn’t look particularly spicy, and he doesn’t go round throwing spices at people, which in the He-Man universe are the only two reasons why he might have a name like that. Neither, unfortunately, is he especially interesting. The only good thing about him is that Catra clearly doesn’t like him, which was vaguely amusing.
Anyway, this one’s not bad at all, especially if you ignore Spicester. You could definitely do worse.
In which He-Man is subject to sexual harassment in the workplace.
Prince Adam is back on Etheria yet again, but his holiday comes to an end when he and Adora witness the Horde shooting down an unarmed spaceship. They adopt their alter egos and go running off to lend whatever assistance they can, accompanied by Mermista and Frosta, the latter of whom takes an immediate shine to He-Man.
The spaceship has crashed in the Polar Sea, so Hordak takes a bunch of Horde Troopers on a team away day to the Sea to recover it. Of course, our heroes arrive just in the nick of time, and divide their company. He-Man and Frosta occupy themselves with some flirting while they attend to the Horde Troopers, leaving She-Ra and Mermista to dive into the water to rescue the spaceship’s pilot.
Once He-Man has defeated all the Troopers, Frosta leaps on him, with the intention of taking a starring role in Filmation’s first 18-rated cartoon. Unfortunately for her, She-Ra and Mermista reappear with the pilot, and accuse He-Man of molesting Frosta. Once that’s sorted out, He-Man pulls the pilot’s helmet off, revealing a sexy ginger-haired woman. Well, judging by He-Man’s reaction, he thinks she’s sexy. Anyone in their right mind would disagree, but we’ve established on many occasions that He-Man is not in his right mind.
The rebels take the pilot to Whispering Wood, where she introduces herself as Sweet Bee. It’s clear that we’re heading for a love triangle situation, since He-Man clearly can’t do enough for Sweet Bee, while Frosta is prancing about in the background pouting because she can’t get He-Man’s attention. I can’t help but wonder what Teela would say about all this.
Sweet Bee explains that her home sun exploded in a supernova, but her people escaped in a large ship known as the Hive. Sweet Bee was searching for a new world for her people to colonise. He-Man immediately leaps in and volunteers Etheria as a suitable planet, which is a bit rich considering he doesn’t even live there. Sure enough, She-Ra intervenes and points out that if Sweet Bee’s people come to Etheria, they are likely to be enslaved by the Horde.
Once this is explained, Sweet Bee determines that she must warn her people, but Mermista tells her that her spacecraft has been stolen by the Horde. Unbeknownst to the rebels, the situation is much worse than that: Shadow Weaver has disguised herself as Sweet Bee and contacted the Hive, inviting them to come to Etheria to become Hordak’s slaves. She doesn’t mention that last bit.
He-Man, She-Ra, Frosta, Sweet Bee and Mermista all come bounding along to the Fright Zone to recapture the spaceship, and get involved in a super exciting battle, punctuated by amusing little quips and a very pleasing scene in which Frosta rescues He-Man from Shadow Weaver’s magic. It’s even more pleasing because She-Ra takes a back seat and doesn’t really do anything.
At the last moment, however, Hordak destroys the communication equipment and the launching jets of Sweet Bee’s ship, ensuring there is no way to warn the Hive against approaching Etheria. Of course, He-Man and She-Ra have a plan; Sweet Bee gets into the ship, and they throw it into space. Sweet Bee reaches the Hive and they depart, searching for a more suitable home. Once she’s established that Sweet Bee has really gone, Frosta starts draping herself all over He-Man again, much to his discomfort.
In today’s adventure…
Loo-Kee is in the Fright Zone today, probably because he’s a traitor and is planning to sell all the Rebellion’s secrets to Hordak. His moral is that Frosta’s aggressive sexual overtures in today’s episode were way beyond the norms of acceptable workplace behaviour, and he suggests that He-Man should speak to his line manager or consult the union. Okay, okay, I’m lying again. Actually, he advises us that if our family ever moves house, we shouldn’t be sad about it.
So, today we’ve got Adora, Prince Adam, She-Ra, He-Man, Spirit, Swift Wind, Frosta, Sweet Bee, Mermista, some guys from the Hive, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Shadow Weaver, and, of course, some Horde Troopers.
Hordak is the only one dishing out insults today, telling one of his Troopers that it is a “tin dolt” and referring to Sweet Bee as a “bee-brain”. I’m very surprised that we didn’t have Frosta calling Sweet Bee a bitch, but there we go.
Oh No, Bow!
Bow’s not in this episode, for which I’m glad. With all the hormones raging between He-Man, Frosta and Sweet Bee, Bow would undoubtedly achieve Maximum Sleaze.
Does it have the Power?
There must have been something in the water at the Filmation office around about this time in the production history of She-Ra, given we’ve had three episodes involving romance recently. Romeo and Glimmer was the first attempt, while the opening scene of Just the Way You Are also suggested love was in the air between Adam and Glimmer.
Sweet Bee’s Home, though, is definitely the most successful episode concerning this theme, mostly because it’s not sugary-sweet. The only time it approaches saccharine is when Sweet Bee introduces herself and He-Man responds by saying her name is sweet. Even then, the focus of the scene is on Frosta, who is standing in the foreground wiggling her hips crossly and imitating He-Man.
That’s not the only great animation in this episode: whenever Frosta is involved, there’s something entertaining going on. Early on, the scene where He-Man is battling the Horde Troopers at the Polar Sea, he’s essentially battling to keep Frosta off him as well. Pretty much any time Sweet Bee says anything, Frosta can be seen glaring at her. There’s even a moment when Mermista compliments He-Man, and Frosta gives her a death stare, as if to say, “don’t you get involved too”.
Eventually, at the end, He-Man gives up and surrenders to Frosta. There’s even a kiss sound effect after the episode fades to black. And that concludes one of the best She-Ra episodes we’ve ever seen.
In which Bow might as well rename himself Captain Obvious.
This episode begins with a really random scene where all the rebels argue about what their favourite food is. With the sole exception of one of the Twiggets, they eventually agree that they all very much enjoy some weird foodstuff called golden spuffles. I am sure your lives are greatly enriched by your acquisition of this information. Anyway, the Twigget who hates spuffles suddenly decides that he fancies Adora’s pants off, so he decides to go and get some spuffles for her.
Unfortunately, golden spuffles only grow on the banks of a river in the Fright Zone, which means the stupid Twigget – whose name is Sprocker – gets himself captured pretty much immediately. His captor is Octavia, that green tentacled lady we last saw ages ago in Treasures of the First Ones. Her big idea is to use Sprocker as bait to capture She-Ra, which is such a stunningly original plan that Hordak agrees to it at once.
Hordak sends Adora a note to explain that the rebels will never see Sprocker again, unless She-Ra shows up at the Fright Zone, unaccompanied, unarmed, and mentally unbalanced. He doesn’t actually say that last bit, in case I needed to clarify there. Adora decides that she has no choice, so she pops off into the woods and transforms into She-Ra.
Once She-Ra gets to the Fright Zone, Hordak promises to release Sprocker and never attack the rebels again, if She-Ra will promise to place herself under arrest, never try to escape, and obey all Hordak’s commands to the letter. She-Ra agrees to these terms and is escorted out to the dungeons, while Hordak keeps his word and releases Sprocker.
Locked in her cell, She-Ra decides to escape – but then realises that she has made a promise, and will not break it. She instead concludes that the best thing to do is stand around in the dungeon shouting, “He-Man! He-Man! I need help!” Yes you do, She-Ra, but not in the way you think. Anyway, He-Man astoundingly manages to hear She-Ra, and enthusiastically appears on Etheria to bust her out of prison.
In the meantime, Hordak has violated his side of the bargain by capturing Bow, Madame Razz and Broom. He’s also, somewhat unusually, taken the trouble to arrest Bow’s horse, though I suppose in fairness the horse does have a bigger brain than Bow does. He carts them off to Beast Island, which means He-Man and She-Ra have to go to Beast Island as well and bring them back. After they’ve dealt with that, He-Man and She-Ra stare at each other with expressions suggesting that they have the sort of sibling love that society isn’t prepared to accept.
In today’s adventure…
I feel like the animators couldn’t be bothered trying to
hide Loo-Kee today, since the episode’s very first shot is a massive close-up
of his face. His advice today is that it’s okay if we feel a sort of sexual
feeling for our siblings, but it’s probably best if we don’t act on it, and
it’s better yet if we could move to a planet in a different dimension to avoid
Once again, of course, I’m lying, but my idea was about 100 billion times more interesting than Loo-Kee’s drivel, which is that we must always tell our parents where we’re going. I must have missed this episode as a child, since I have been known to go on holiday for two weeks without telling my parents, and if I’d seen this episode and learned this lesson, I’d never do that.
Okay, lads, we’ve got Adora, Spirit, She-Ra, Swift Wind, Prince Adam, He-Man, Bow, Kowl, Madame Razz, Broom, Sprocker, the other Twiggets, Loo-Kee, Hordak, Octavia, Mantenna, Imp, and some Horde Troopers.
Madame Razz considers Sprocker a “scallywag”, which is
exceptionally mild. I think he’s a dick. Hordak starts off imaginatively, with “armour-plated
pop-eye” for Mantenna, but he all too quickly lapses back into old habits, by
calling Mantenna a “fool” and addressing Bow and Madame Razz as “fools” as
well. Bow retaliates by referring to the entire Horde as “cowards”.
Oh No, Bow!
When Adora receives Hordak’s note asking She-Ra to come
unarmed to the Fright Zone, Bow chirps up, “It could be a trap!” You know what,
Bow, you might be on to something there. You’re right. It definitely COULD be a
trap. There’s certainly an outside possibility, isn’t there? That’s a degree of
prescience bordering on the fucking supernatural you’ve got going on there,
Bow. It’s a wonder MI5 haven’t recruited Bow, given his uncanny grasp of the
subtleties of counter-intelligence.
To put it another way – of course it’s a trap, you complete and total tool. Now shut up, unless you’ve got anything to contribute, which we all know you haven’t.
Does it have the Power?
This one clearly started out in the writer’s room as a quite
interesting notion. I like the idea of She-Ra being forced into making a
bargain with Hordak, but frankly that’s the only good thing about this episode.
The setup to the promise bit is less than compelling: the golden spuffles
nonsense is completely random, and She-Ra could have easily rescued Sprocker
and done a runner without having to enter into any kind of deal. Once she’s
locked up, she does agonise a little about breaking the promise, but seems to
think that calling on He-Man to rescue her does not constitute trying to
escape. She’s then let off the hook all too easily because Hordak goes back on
his side of the deal: it could have been an interesting episode if She-Ra had
had to choose to break her promise when Hordak had kept his. All in all, we
have a missed opportunity here, which is somehow more frustrating than the
episodes that never had a hope of being any good. Still, there’s enough of a
decent effort here to make it worth a watch.