He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002)
Animated television series by Mike Young Productions
Behold, Eternia, land of fabulous wonder and amazement. Home to many great warriors and horrendous fiends. This is the setting for stories of epic proportions and fairy tales beyond imagination.
This series brings back to the glory days of the 80ís entertainment. Iím talking about epic battles of good and evil. The sword versus the sorcery, itís a concept so old and gold that anyone could immediately comprehend. Itís time for adventure in fantasy land, thereís caves to explore, treasure to seek, and giant monsters to battle. Who could ever turn away? So grab your sword, your staff, or your laser gun and letís show the world what weíre made of.
During the 80ís when animation was really just beginning to peak, a show came a long that would become a milestone of superior programming. It was a bold and colorful new take on the barbarian age and specifically Conan, whose stories could be considered lavish in adult themes and situations as well just being overall too violent and tragic for kids.
Thus He-Man and his trusty sidekicks were created for a new generation to appreciate.
The original show, lasted for a good while, and was extremely popular, and was mostly noted for the multitude of merchandise including probably one of the most successful toy lines ever.
The 80ís came and went and not long after cancellation an attempt was made to follow up on the concept with a series called The New Adventures of He-Man. With a radical change in setting and tone, this series felt far removed from the beloved origin and was not nearly as successful as some had hoped. It ended abruptly and the franchise would remain off the tv screen for the rest of the entire decade.
At the turn of the 19th century, and the beginning of a new millennium it was finally time for some nostalgia. The audience of the original show had become adults and some with children of their own, many of those in charge had been fond of the series and were looking for a way to bring it back. By 2002 a group of creative enthusiasts managed to convince the copyright owners to invest in a fresh new design and feel to the series with retrospect to its roots. The updated graphics and expanded stories, were a key point to establishing this revival.
If ever there was a hero of might and magic, a mythical legend of a man so noble and courageous he could overcome any obstacle; surely He-Man would be that hero.
He is after all; ďthe most powerful man in the universeĒ.
Of course who could forget the antithesis of He-Man; The incouragable Skeletor?
Evil and rotten to the very core Skeletor was the perfect adversary to combat He-Man.
So we have a just and inhumanly strong warrior, a wicked and powerful sorcerer, what else? Well you name it. Thereís the wise and experienced leader with advanced tech knowledge ( Man at Arms), the troublesome but loveable mascot (Orko), The childish and gentle brute ( Ram-Man), young prodigy and determined female warrior (Teela) to name a few of the many many supporting character on the heroic side, while on the opposite end ( the evil doers) there are just as many detailed and complex characters.
Itís no doubt that this show had some highly inspired and transcendent characters.
The stories usually revolve around protecting the source of He-manís power (Castle Grey Skull) from those that seek to use it for selfish intentions. This results in He-Manís group battling Skeletorís forces and thwarting his schemes to conqueor Eternia.
However, on occasion a story will revolve around a certain characterís background or character flaw. These are welcomed excursions and do much to expand the importance and interest of each character. I particularly enjoyed learning more about the relationship between Teela and her adopted father Man at Arms as it pertains to her blood mother ; who happens to be the sorceress and protector of Castle Grey Skull.
Other plots involve the infamous snake men re-emerging from their prison and
Skeletorís main squeeze, Evil Lynn defying him for her own pursuits of glory.
All the plots lent themselves well to interesting scenarios and the potential for drama.
I have to say the production really outdid themselves. The scenes look incredible and the action is very fluid. The details are fully crafted and the vivid colors look very pleasing.
The designs are a refreshing update to the modern era of super heroes. For itís time, I feel this was a fine tuned work, and was overall very well put together.
Voice Acting and Sound
This is yet another area where I felt they just did a great job.
I was very pleased watching the show as it progressed, it kept a steady pace and great sense of continuity. The battle sequences were never sparse, and the show just kept adding more and more spectacle.
I canít say the way it ended was truly satisfying; however, the final episode was a highly dramatic conclusion. I also find it rather insufficient that the show didnít completely reveal who Teelaís real father was or reunite her with her mother. Same can be said of Evil Lynneís origin as regards to her loyalty to Skeletor.
As for our main character Prince Adam, Iím really not sure where his character arc was going or that it went anywhere at all. Unfortunately this is pretty much the norm when it comes to serialized fiction, where everything depends on maintaining the status quo.
Overall the writing provided much needed detail and depth to the characters and world and for that I applaud the effort.
The show really raised the stakes and increased my expectations for great action cartoons in the 21st century. It also gave me a huge appreciation for the original creation and made me a much greater fan of the franchise. I really wish to see more adventures of He-Man and the rest of the Masters of the universe in the near future.
This show was a major love song to all the fans and developers of the franchise and it was a crying shame that it ended so soon.
The action was intense, the adventures took us to amazing places and led us to big discoveries, and the characters were absolutely sincere and memorable.
It gave us all a reason to stand up on our couch and say the immortal words of the legendary hero ďI have the powwwerrrr !Ē