He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

Quick, name an actor who has played Dracula, Sherlock Holmes, and Zorro.  Okay, the title gives the truth away but Frank Langella has played all those parts and so many more.

He is best known for his portrayal of the 37th President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, in the film (and play) Frost/Nixon.  That role found him nominated for both an Oscar and a Tony.  He would go on to win four Tony awards for his roles in Frost/Nixon, The Father, Seascape, and Fortune’s Fool.

However, despite his success as a mainstream actor, Langella has gone on to perform in several nerd-centric roles.

Here are just a few of the noteworthy parts he played that brought him to the notice of nerds everywhere.

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He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. A cartoon that ran from 1983-85, which existed solely to promote the exceedingly popular (the most popular even) toy line of the same name. It spawned a corny live-action adaption that starred Dolph Lundgren (who was surely robbed of the Oscar that year) and Frank Langella, as well as young Courtney Cox. The cartoon was rebooted in 2002 but managed to only run 39 episodes. An action figure line from that series was produced, then later a line of mini statues. Another and now a current line of figures are produced by Mattel and sold on their collector’s website. The property is licensed to a number of other vendors as well, such as Funko, Super 7, Entertainment Earth. All of which are finding that the nostalgia for He-Man and The Masters of The Universe is as strong as ever. Out of every outfit capitalizing on the sentimentality felt by children of the 80’s, none are perhaps as hard-core as Sideshow Collectibles. Their line of collectible statues inspired by the popular 80’s cartoon are the earnest of representations, and completely unlike anything that has come before them.

No better show of display, than by checking out the very first in their 1:5 statue series, the one and only He-Man – the most powerful man in the Universe.  (more…)

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Ahh, the 1980s, when toys dictated the content of your television, and Saturday morning cartoons reigned supreme. One of the kings of weekend-morning comic machismo was He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, a show premised around Prince Adam channeling the power of the Castle Grayskull to unleash his inner barbarian (becoming He-Man), and battle the evils of the nefarious, skull-faced Skeletor. While a great success at the time, launching hundreds (if not thousands) of toys, various comic books, and even a (terrible) movie starring Dolph Lundgren, He-Man has not shared much of the nostalgic-based revival success of other 80s cartoons like G.I. Joe or Transformers, the closest it has come was an attempted revival series in 2002, which ran for two seasons, and an internet meme nearly a decade back. Despite this, He-Man (especially the 80s cartoon) still has quite a cult following, and it looks those fans will be rewarded at this year’s SDCC. (more…)

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Old cartoons from the 80’s with millions of fans are reanimating like colorful zombies. Dreamworks holds the Necronomicon from Generation X’s childhood. Studio executives using their back catalog of spells work to raise dead intellectual properties. Recently a deal with Netflix will conjure Voltron back to life. Now, Dreamworks TV revived He-Man And The Masters of The Universe to its lineup of kid friendly shows like Life Hacks for Kids and Sung History. (more…)

MOTU 2

In news that is sure to light up the interwebs one way or another, it appears that McG is allegedly in talks to helm a reboot of perennial 1980’s cartoon favourite Masters Of The Universe. The project has been in development at Sony for years, working it’s way through multiple scripts and writers. Now they are reported to have high hopes for a Transformers-style franchise with the property. (more…)

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For those of you still following the tales of He-Man, you’re probably already well-aware of the latest DC comic book incarnation of the character. The new(er) He-Man and the Masters of the Universe comic series is already up to issue #18 and the latest development is the rise of one of the He-Man universe’s most well-known characters – She-Ra. But this time, the female counterpart to the burly defender of Eternia is looking a bit more battle worthy. Scroll on to see She-Ra’s new look. (more…)

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Sony does not have the power to make a a good He-Man movie. They do, however, have fabulous secret powers at ruining one beloved franchise after another (Ghost Rider, Amazing Spider-Man). And with all do respect to the following directors, Sony’s latest reported choices in talent to helm a new live-action He-Man movie is… well, it just makes you wanna  tell them to shove the power sword up a place that makes Fisto and Ram-Man smile. (more…)

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Director Jon Chu got to talking recently on the matter of dropping out of his proposed He-Man and the Masters of the Universe live-action adaption and what he expects out of G.I. Joe 3. You don’t have to like Mr. Chu’s movies (I know I don’t), but the dude sure has a penchant for talking passionately. It’s too bad he doesn’t have the same passion for creativity and talent. Ouch, was that harsh? No, harsh was sitting through 2 hours of G.I. Joe Retaliation.

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I have the power… to not care about anything director Jon Chu says. Sure, he’s a fan of 80’s cartoons and speaks passionately about them. When it comes to adapting beloved filmation from 30 years ago, he even says all the right things. He’s convincing, I’ll give him that. His follow-thru, however, not so much.

I heard him speak many times about his “Yo Joe” mentality, growing up on the G.I. Joe cartoon and understanding it’s message about leadership and heroism. Toting how he was going to right the wrongs of the first abortion of a flick and not just make another action movie. Guy sounded a like a real American hero. Well, his homage to the G.I. Joe franchise, G.I. Joe: Retaliation didn’t exactly suck, but that’s only because nothing can be worse than G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra. While there were flashes of resemblance to the original cartoon (overabundance of ninjas and shit), it was a far cry from the source material, and well, turned out to be just another action flick. Like we could have expected anything truly worthy from the guy who directed that Justin Bieber documentary Never Say Never?

Now, I’m not here to talk about the critical failings of G.I. Joe: Retaliation.  No, I’m just using that as my point. He had his chance and he blew it. He needs to stay the fuck away from all 80’s properties. Namely such, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.

An adaptation of the cartoon featuring a muscle bound warrior with his “fabulous” secret and powerful friends as they face the evil forces of Skeletor, has been an raging for years. Sony Pictures eventually picked up the rights somewhere along the way and have been gunning for live-action treatment (forgetting the really bad 1987 movie having already been made) and capitalize on that sweet 80’s nostalgia.  Since the latest Joe flicked did so well, Sony has appointed Jon Chu to direct MOTU. Go figure.

While talking to SuperheroHype, Chu gave an update on what’s going on with Masters of the Universe, and he does that whole overly excited thing, which gets me excited. Here’s what he said:

“I think that what helps us is knowing what we do in ‘Joe’ and knowing that ‘Masters’ has to be very different and has to feel very different, but the script for ‘Masters of the Universe’ is what really hooked me. I love ‘Masters of the Universe,’ but I didn’t know necessarily how to make it into a movie until I read the script and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I totally see it. I get how this is going to shake it up, I get how this is different from any other thing,’ and it got me really really excited.”

He goes on to say,

“We’re still working on that one and ‘Joe’ has momentum right now. The audience has been great and they want another one, so we’re rushing to get that done and Dwayne has a certain time period so it may end up that ‘Joe’ goes first in all those things and I don’t know if ‘Masters of the Universe’ will wait for me or where that’s going to end up. But right now it’s been great. We’ve been designing a ton of stuff for ‘Masters of the Universe’ as a really beautiful, grounded, honest world – that’s the best way I can describe it. It’s everything you want ‘Masters of the Universe’ to be in terms of the fantasy but not in a way theatrical crazy way. It is actually a gorgeous world that we’re doing in the initial visual concepts that we’ve been making.”

Goddammit Chu, why you gotta say shit like that? That certainly sounds like the MOTU I’ve always played out in my head, but why you gotta sell us on promises you know you can’t keep? You’re like an Asian-American Uwe Boll. Just stop it. Leave my childhood alone. It’s already been goatsied enough by the likes of Micheal Bay and your sloppy seconds that was G.I. Joe 2.

He-Man isn’t the greatest of cartoons. It’s not even a very good one. It’s silly, stupid and filled with homoerotic undertones. Regardless, I’m a fan. As such, I have expectations that can never be met. I envision an EPIC, high-budgeted, stylistic, Sci-Fi, fantasy, action flick that’s dark and bleak with a modicum of humor (for the kiddies). 300 meets Lord of The Rings. Something like that, but I know it’s never gonna happen… and certainly not by the likes of Jon Chu. The hell with him and any director that wants to make it. Just leave it alone Hollywood, you bastards!

*steps off soap box*