BCI Eclipse // 1984 // 710 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // November 22nd, 2006
(Judge's Note: To celebrate the release of the final set of classic He-Man episodes, I've decided to bring in a guest reviewer. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: Mekaneck!)
Hi everyone. Thanks to Judge David Johnson for giving me this opportunity to talk about a DVD release near and dear to my heart. Yes, while many of you may have thrilled to the adventures of He-Man, Teela, Orko, and Ram Man in this season, I have a different perspective: I lived it!
These days find me relaxing in a pleasant retirement community in upstate New York, but 20 years ago, I was on the front line in the battle between good and evil, fighting with the heroes of Eternia against the sinister minions of the Lord of Destruction. This set includes 32 of our adventures:
"Hunt for He-Man"
"The Greatest Show on Eternia"
"Not so Blind"
"Revenge is Never Sweet"
"The Good Shall Survive"
"The Secret of Grayskull"
"No Job Too Small"
"The Bitter Rose"
"Orko's New Friend"
"The Eternia Flower"
"Battle of the Dragons"
"Time Doesn't Fly"
"Here, There, Skeletors Everywhere"
"Beauty and the Beast"
"Visitors from Earth"
"Monster on the Mountain"
"The Magic Falls"
"Search for a Son"
"Happy Birthday Roboto"
"The Toy Maker"
"Bargain with Evil"
"Capture the Comet Keeper"
"The Ancient Mirror of Avathar"
"To Save the Creatures"
"The Cold Zone"
"The Problem with Power"
Yeah, I know what you're thinking: "Gee, Mekaneck, judging by the titles of those episodes, it sounds like you had some real exciting times." As an outsider, It'd be easy to for me to agree with you. Of course, "Happy Birthday Roboto" and "Battles of the Dragons" sounds like harmless little adventures, but take it from someone who was there: these were hard times.
Skeletor's maniacal quest for power plunged Eternia into ongoing strife and even with He-Man's impressive repertoire of counter-terror tactics (lifting boulders and hurling them at bad guys, using super-freeze breath on chemical fires, punching faces), there was always something smoldering somewhere.
Take "Here, There, Skeletors Everywhere" for example. On paper it seems like a humorous concept: Skeletor gets a hold of a machine that creates miniature copies of people and uses it to create an army of diminutive clones. He and his cadre of bone-faced midgets then assault the walls of the Royal Palace, generating all kinds of chaos. Sure, it's kind of funny seeing Skeletor trailed by a line of half-pint versions of himself, but what you don't know is the level of devastation these villains caused. You might have yourself a hearty chuckle when confronted with a two-foot Skeletor but, believe me when I say this friend, the situation gets a lot less humorous after he blasts you with his fun-sized -- though just as lethal -- Havoc Staff.
Or "The Toy Maker." Now here's a guy who almost comes across as a lovable rogue. He's fat. He's jolly. He always has a smile on his face. But what the episode doesn't explore is this bastard's psychopathic tendencies. The guy was trouble, plain and simple. For crying out loud, he infiltrated the vaunted security of the Royal Palace with some stupid dinosaur toys!
But, I'll give this much to Filmation: they didn't get it all wrong. For example, they captured the drama of Queen Marlena's reconnection with her own kind in "Visitors from Earth." It really was quite a moment to see actual human astronauts, form-fitting spacesuits and all (I'll give it to you Earthlings -- you really know how to clad your female cosmonauts), though I don't remember He-Man sticking his head out of the space shuttle and throwing a rocket at the asteroid like he did in the episode. I think Man-at-Arms would have some scientific quibbles about that maneuver.
And yes, the events from "The Greatest Show on Eternia" were a lame as the show depicted them. Why Skeletor, the Lord of Destruction, the ultimate source of evil the universe, the sworn enemy of all that is good and right, would concentrate his effort and personnel into acquiring a circus from Crackers the Clown is beyond me. Seriously, Crackers the f***ing Clown?!?
So what do we have here then? Thirty-two animated retellings of the exploits of a well-tanned perfect Aryan, his scantily-clad female counterpart, her grizzled old dad and a flying, disembodied Cabbage Patch kids outfit (yes, Orko was as annoying in real life as he was in the show) and their struggle against an ensemble cast of mentally handicapped villains. Yep, it's He-Man, as imaginative, colorful, corny and nostalgic as ever.
Looking at the mechanics of the set, BCI Eclipse should once again be commended for issuing such a top-quality release. The full frame transfers are great; heck, I was there and don't remember these adventures looking this good. For extras, lots: the episode commentaries featuring Lou and Erika Scheimer, Larry DiTillo, Tom Sito, Tom Tataranowicz, Dave Teague and Andy Mangels; two superb documentaries "The Stories of He-Man and the Master of the Universe: Season 2, Volume 2" and "Animating He-Man and the Masers of the Universe;" animated storyboards; profiles of characters, creatures and artifacts; trivia; DVD-ROM accessible scripts; and two collectible art cards.
Look, I should apologize for my cynical tone. This is a great collection and BCI Eclipse once again sets the standard that other TV sets should aim for. It's just that, well, my superpower is lame as hell. I have an extendable f***ing neck for God's sake!
Review content copyright © 2006 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Golden Gavel 2006 Nominee
Studio: BCI Eclipse
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
Running Time: 710 Minutes
Release Year: 1984
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Selected Episode Commentary
* "Animating He-Man and the Masters of the Universe"
* "The Stories of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Season 2, Volume 2"
* Two Collectible Art Cards
* Animated Storyboard Comparison
* 50 Profiles of Characters, Creatures and Artifacts
* DVD-ROM Scripts
* Season One, Volume One Review
* Season One, Volume Two Review
* Season Two, Volume One Review
* He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special Review