When I was a kid, I loved to watch “He-Man and The Masters Of The Universe.”
I marveled at his adventures. The way, time and again, He-Man used his wits (and sometimes the assistance of Cringer, who turned to the mighty Battle Cat–seemingly against his will) to beat back the forces of Skeletor in such a way that the only things hurt were the execution of Skeletor’s evil plans.
This is despite the fact that I found it silly, because I saw that what MoU (much better than HMATMOTU) was essentially “The A-Team,” in that no matter how much He-Man swung that sword around, whomever was on the business end never suffered a nick, never mind a slash.
And considering that the show was aimed at children, I understood (not so much for the A-Team though. I actually wanted someone to take a bullet every once in a while, if only to reassure me that the universe that they lived in was at least adjacent to my own).
I didn’t even bat an eye that someone would actually want to call themselves ‘He-Man’ because, to my young mind, it all made sense.
Now, I couldn’t take such a character seriously, and I suspect that I am not the only one.
So, how is it that I can watch G.I. Joe (the movie, cartoon, and occasionally comic), you may ask? Don’t they have characters called ‘Snake-Eyes,’ and ‘Duke?’ Sure, but they’re just names. He doesn’t, literally, have snake eyes (though if he were on MoU there would be more that’s serpentine about the character than his name).
Which reminds me: Why is it that you can change one detail about a person, let’s say glasses, and it becomes like you’re looking at a different person? I call this ‘Clark Kent’ syndrome because, despite Kent playing meek and wearing glasses, he looks too much like Superman to fool anyone. Prince Adam (He-Man) is the same way. He doesn’t look significantly different from his alter ego, yet for some reason no one–even his parents–recognize who he is.
As a kid, such inconsistencies have always amused me, though as an adult they’re enough to take me out of a movie.
The problem isn’t the material itself more than how the film makers intend to approach it. The toys–I mean action figures–are clearly aimed at the younger set (eight to 12 years, I gestimate) and have colorful names like Man-E-Faces (Many faces. Get it?), Merman, Man-At-Arms, Evil-Lyn.
Children like things to be literal. Adults, not so much, and there lies the problem. Why would a grownup want to see the adventures of He-Man? One factor that contributed to the success of “The Dark Knight Rises” and “The Avengers” was that they were reality-based enough that even people that hate comics could have a good time.
However “He-Man and The Masters Of The Universe”is rebooted, it will have to somehow be mature enough for adults, while engaging enough the younger set, which had more than a little to do with the first film failing (though there was the fact that it wasn’t very good, despite Richard Edlund doing the special effects and Frank Langella as Skeletor).
That John Chu is being considered also gives me pause because his sequel to G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra has been delayed, so I have no idea how he can handle such material.