He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is the latest addition to the popular He-Man franchise that made its debut on TV in the 1980s. However, while Kevin Smith’s Masters of the Universe: Revelation (also on Netflix) offers a more mature take and is targeted towards the older fans of the original 80s show, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is handcrafted for the kids of today. This doesn’t mean that older fans won’t like it. They will enjoy it quite the same if not just the same. And herein lays its effectiveness.
The animated series takes the presentation of magic and sorcery to a whole new level and gives the perfect rendition of a He-Man show that takes us back to our childhood. And all thanks to CG animation and great dialogues.
From action to humor to drama, the show has it all. The transformations of Adam into He-Man, Krass into Ram Ma’am, Teela into Sorceress, Cringer into Battle Cat, and Duncan into Man At Arms are purely anime that look super cool. Imagine the Netflix Transformers: Prime (2010), but only better considering how far visual effects have come. So, no decapitated hands or legs, no blood either but good-looking magic. Nothing can be better than this for a show made for kids and gives them a taste of our childhood. Both the good and the wrong people have “special moves” that make them way cooler. One cannot say no if someone prefers one of the baddies over the good ones in terms of style with their cool weapons and body armor.
‘He-Man and the Masters of the Universe’ Plot Summary
While each of the ten episodes of the first season has different adventures, the whole season itself has a clear serialized storyline that will keep kids interested. And while one does know at the back of the mind that the Masters of the Universe will win at the end of the day, Skeletor and his “minions” don’t make it look easy. There are twists, like King Randor’s guards recover general Dolos. Still, later we find out that he is functioning under the influence of Skeletor’s Havoc spell.
Each episode can portray exactly what it intends to and even gives us a glimpse of what is about to happen in the next one with the help of black and white sketches. There is no drag, although older fans might feel that the first season is not the show but more like a prologue to it. But, and it’s a strong “but,” the kids of today who will experience He-Man and the Masters of the Universe won’t be able to feel it. For them, it will undoubtedly be a joyful ride that takes He-Man and his friends on an adventure against the evil Skeletor.
For a show meant for kids, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe has excellent characterization. Each character is distinct from the others and has its own style. Colors play a vital role here, and each character has a particular color that highlights him or her. This is a strategic move on the part of the creators to help kids distinguish between the characters more easily. For instance, He-Man is yellow, Teela is Blue, Krass is purple, Cringer is green, and Duncan is orange.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe also pays attention to the voice play. Keldor, AKA Skeletor, has the perfect voice of a skeleton villain, and so does his brother King Randor. The latter has a very authoritative fatherly voice that represents his king nature. Emotions are conveyed better, thanks to explicit facial expressions. All in all, characterization has no flaws.
One can only say so much about dialogues for a kids’ show. Yet, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe does make a mark here as well. Friendship, strength, goodness are stressed time and again. But these do not take away the presence of badness at all. And this is what makes the difference between them so palpable. Simple words and also humor makes for excellent dialogues that are small and crisp.
Moreover, comedy has been nicely added, even during the most intense scenes. The show’s main villain Skeletor also adds to it. This works like magic and will give the kids comic relief (although they wouldn’t realize it).
Background Music and Sound Effects
An essential element in any kids show, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe deliver in this aspect. Not only are the sound effects practical, but even the background music, especially during the transformations, adds to the “masters of the universe” vibe. Moreover, the background score changes based on the character that appears on the screen. If it is Adam, the music is inspiring. If it is Skeletor, the music is gloomy. This is a great way to portray characters and their natures.
All in All, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is an excellent rendition of the original 80’s show. Tailored for the kids of 2021, it shows the use of technology and magic and has a fun element. A well-planned show, it provides everything of today while holding on to the source of the material. The only thing that an older fan would have preferred is the original intro song or at least a new version of it. This one doesn’t really live up to the original Shuki Levy, Haim Saban, and Erika Lane theme. But that’s okay.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is a 2021 Animated Series developed by Rob David. The series reimagines the 1983 series of the same name. It is streaming on Netflix.