I wasn’t the biggest fan of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe when I was growing up because I came along just as the hype was starting to die down meaning I missed a lot of what made the show special. My main love for the franchise actually came from the 1987 Masters of the Universe film starring Dolph Lundgren and a dozen or so episodes of the show my brother had on VHS so while I would consider myself familiar with the show and I’d say I enjoyed the show, I wouldn’t say I’ve seen enough of it actually consider myself a true fan.
However, I have been looking forward to Masters of the Universe Revelation since it was first announced by Kevin Smith and Marc Bernardin on Fatman Beyond a couple of years ago. Between the two of them, they have managed to create an unbelievable amount of hype for what is essentially a sequel to a 40 year cartoon that barely anyone talks about anymore.
This isn’t a remake of the original show by ant stretch. This is He-Man and the Masters of the Universe for a new generation which unfortunately does give the show little bit of an identity crisis in the sense that while I expect a lot of old fans to return to the show they grew up with, it doesn’t really give enough backstory and context for new viewers to understand the gravitas of what’s unfolding on screen but in truth, aside from that, I can’t think of a single bad thing to say about this show.
This is indeed only part one of this new series and here we’re treated to five spectacular episodes that firmly bring Masters of the Universe into the 21st century for the Avengers Generation. The first episode starts as strongly as any show could and comes across as a direct sequel to what has come before with the battle of good vs. evil in full swing in order to decide the fate of Eternia and in those opening moments I was instantly transported to another place and time and on more than one occasion, I nearly cried like I was Kevin Smith himself.
Not only does the show look stunning with some of the best animation I’ve seen outside of Disney, the story is brilliantly told across these five episodes and it is told with a level of maturity never before seen in this franchise to date. Don’t worry though, nothing has been lost in translation with this updated version of the show and unlike something like say, Star Trek Picard for example, the show is still easily recognisable as the animated toybox many people grew up with but be warned some of your toybox is going to go the way of the dodo and you’re probably going to find yourself online looking new toys.
Kevin Smith and the team behind the scenes have done a marvellous job at crafting an emotional and unpredictable story but as all know when it comes to animation, flashy visuals and a good story will only get you so far if the voice acting isn’t up to par however, once again, Masters of the Universe Revelation knocks it out of the park by assembling a star studied cast featuring the likes of Henry Rollins, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Lena Headey, Tony Todd, Chris Wood and of course, Mark Hammill to name but a few.
Special mention and appreciation also must be given to the work of Bear McCreary and his musical score on this show. I’ve always been a fan of Bear’s work from his days on Battlestar Galactica, or more recently his work on Outlander and God of War and like seemingly everyone else involved in this show I can’t fault anything that he does here and while I admittedly a little apprehensive about the absence of the original, and frankly iconic, theme music once Bear’s pulse pounding score gets going, you really don’t care.
To wrap this review up so it doesn’t go on forever, I’ll leave you with this. Masters of the Universe Revelation treats its source material with the respect it deserves. The show takes us on an epic journey across Eternia, a journey that draws parallels from some of our greatest myths and legends of all time and no matter when part two arrives, I’ll be there to watch it.
by Edward Laing