"Who wants a moustache ride?"
But homosexual undertones aside, this show managed to meld two of my favorite genres together seamlessly, sword & sorcery with Star Wars-esque sci-fi. The only other show to successfully do this would be Thundarr the Barbarian (which unfortunately, at this time, has still yet to be released to DVD). Another interesting fact is, both of these shows only lasted two seasons. Although Masters of the Universe had a highly prolific run consisting of two seasons of 65 episodes each, Thundarr only boasted a paltry 21 episodes total. Perhaps it was a right-wing conspiracy, like Jerry Falwell’s persecution of the gender-bending Tinky Winky. But I digress. At any rate, I was totally obsessed with He-Man as a kid. I had all the toys. And I was thrilled when they released the show on DVD.
He-Man originally aired in 1983, and was created by Filmation (the same guys to bring us Fat Albert and Star Trek The Animated Series). It was a daily syndicated series based on the line of toys from Mattel. Many critics have put He-Man on blast for being nothing more than 30-minute toy commercials, with cheap animation. I happen to disagree, I think He-man has pretty good stories for an 80’s cartoon (you ever seen a episode of Care Bears, now that’s a bunch of crap) and the synth score is hella tight. Sure, Filmation may have cut corners by rotoscoping and re-using the same animated sequences over and over again, but you would have to be blinder than the bastard child of Helen Keller and Ray Charles, not to appreciate those long establishing shots in which the camera would slowly pan across a wide, extremely detailed, background painting. Those paintings were sick and you know it! They’d make Frazetta proud.
“Filmation also pioneered other animation technologies, including backlighting effects for the first time in American animation (they were already in use in Japan), including moiré effects to represent energy fields; a technique that was later used in He-Man. They also pioneered a unique method of generating 3-D vehicle animation by filming white-outlined black miniatures against black backgrounds using a computerized motion-control camera and high-contrast film, then printing the negatives onto acetate frame-by-frame to create animation cells which were then hand-painted. This produced a dynamic, three-dimensional effect which had never been seen in cell animation before and predated the modern use of 3-D computer animation for vehicles in 2-D animated productions (although it had a distinctive "flicker" to it as some of the painted lines went in and out of visibility as the miniatures moved).”
"Ouch, these tights are riding!"
I feel He-Man is pretty timeless (well, maybe not timeless, but it’s held up pretty well to this point), and even though I have yet to watch it with my own daughter, I have watched with my niece and nephew (9 and 4 respectively) and they both loved it. The stories also feature a moral lesson at he end of ever episode (something that was very prevalent during the eighties), I suppose in an attempt to tone down the rabid homosexuality that persists throughout, and keep the Christians at bay. And what kid couldn’t use a little morality these days. And for those of you pussies out there that think He-Man is too violent, that was just some nonsense cooked up by bored housewives in the 80’s, who had nothing better to do with their time when they ran out of cooking sherry to drink. The average Sponge-Bob episode has more violence than a He-Man cartoon. And I picked up The Best of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe at Walmart for 5 bucks. It features five of the best episodes from season one, five of the best episodes from season two, and all-new documentary featurettes that shed some light on the making of this classic animated series. So, all in all (even though this show is gayer than cum on a sailors moustache), I have to give The Best of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, five out of five beers.