Judge David Johnson thinks the Sorceress is hot—at least when she's not molting.
Our reviews of He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe: Season One, Volume One (published November 2nd, 2005), He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe: Season Two, Volume One (published June 7th, 2006), He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe: Season Two, Volume Two (published November 22nd, 2006), He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe: The Complete Second Season (published October 23rd, 2011), He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe (2002): The Complete Series (published October 26th, 2009), He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe (2002): Volume One (published February 27th, 2008), He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe (2002): Volume Three (published August 20th, 2008), and He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe (2002): Volume Two (published June 11th, 2008) are also available.
I have the power!!!
He-Man is back for the second portion of his mammoth 65 episode Season One debut. What to expect from the great blond tanned one's adventures this go-round? How about evil plots, mystical warlocks, goofy sidekicks, emotionally abused lackeys, dragons, mutant fish, a totalitarian female regime, trans-dimensional hopping, proof of Orko's heterosexuality, Teela in exile, Man-at-Arms helmet-less, the King and Queen of Eternia skiing in their royal garb, more dragons, and half a loaf of Ram Man?!
Facts of the Case
In 1983 the world changed: He-Man arrived.
Okay, so I didn't note the degree to which the world changed, but in the near-infinite scheme of space-time there must have been a nano-modicum of ripple when Prince Adam first held aloft the Sword of Power and torched his cat, Cringer. He-Man and the Masters of the Universe opened the door to Eternia, a far-off planet ruled by the benevolent King Randor and Queen Marlena, and protected by the powerful perfect Aryan, He-Man, a pumped-up sword-wielder with Boy Scout sensibilities. Aiding He-Man in his duties are Man-at-Arms, inventor extraordinaire and weapons expert; Teela, captain of the Eternian Guard; Orko, the comic relief; Sorceress, the bodacious bird-woman hybrid and occupier of Castle Grayskull; and a host of bizarre heroic warriors.
Their nemeses? Skeletor, the most inept despot in animation history and his battalion of buffoons: Beast-Man, Mer-Man, Evil Lyn, and a bunch of robots that detonate on contact. Skeletor's objective is to rule Eternia, and to do that he must commandeer Castle Grayskull. But with He-Man always a step ahead of him, his schemes always fall apart, leaving Skeletor and his sinister crew retreating to Snake Moutnain to lick their wounds and watch with disgust at the ensuing moral that caps each episode.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: Season One, Volume Two features the final 32 episodes of the 65-strong Season One:
Let us cut to the quick: this batch of episodes is every bit as over-the-top, imaginative, cheeseball and fun as the 33 that preceded them. And these sets from BCI Eclipse are just awesome, obviously crafted by people with a deep love for this series. Frankly, whenever I tear into one of these collections, I come away staggered by the level of detail and quality—these releases indicate to me the proper way to put a DVD set together.
As for the stories themselves, we're talking typical He-Man:
1. Show the lurking threat, gathering, as our heroes fraternize.
The writers mix and match these elements, but the general play-by-play is followed pretty routinely. What's different in these episodes than in the first 30-odd, is the reduced role of Skeletor. He is certainly in a good share of shows, but compared to the prior episodes, where he was in almost every one, old Boneface seems to have exceeded his union-mandated workload. And while I love Skeletor in all his bastard glory, I enjoyed the latitude for crazy villains that his time off allowed. You got the sorceress Shokoti, those sweet fascist women warlords, Negator, Rabar the rock creature, Baron Grod, and the Game Master.
By mixing up the villainy, and tossing in a barrage of weird plot devices like The Golden Disks of Knowledge, The Fountain of Life, the Scarab of Power, the Dimension Sphere, and the Stirrups of Eternal Lamentation (I made that last one up), the imagination meter blows way past "psychotropic drug-induced."
Look, these shows are a blast, a welcome shot of animation throwback, crammed silly with outlandish creatures and stories, and rife with the social values that have gone the way of the Dodo for many cartoons.
Dude, He-Man rocks.
You know what else rocks? This set. The 32 episodes are spread over five discs, with a sixth disc devoted to extra features. Each episode comes with a chapter selection and a few paragraphs of show-specific trivia. The full frame transfers look great, with superb colors and clean detailing. The 2.0 stereo tracks (English and Spanish) hold their own.
Disc six sports two lengthy featurettes: "The Stories of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Season 1 Part 2" and "He-Man Invades the Sand Diego Comic-Con." The former features writers going through a selection of the episode found on this volume, laying down insight and making-of trivia. The latter documents the 2005 Comic-Con, where He-Man creators talked to fans, signed autographs, and addressed crowds at a panel discussion. Wow, there are some dedicated fans out there.
As with the last set (and the The He-Man and She-Ra Christmas Special), this one comes with two nifty collectible art cards. Rounding out the extras is a gallery of 50 character profiles, DVD commercial spots, five episode scripts via DVD-ROM, and full-length animated storyboard for "The House of Shokoti, Part 1."
A truly awesome production.
I love reviewing these sets. This is what DVD was made for, and the creators of these offerings embrace the creativity of the technology. The extras, the packaging, the re-mastered episodes, even the menu selection, are dripping with adoration and innovation. Man, even if you don't really like Masters of the Universe, you should try to take a look at one of these. They're that impressive.
Teela has never looked better. Let's go Prince Adam, make your move! Not guilty.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: BCI Eclipse
• "He-Man Invades the San Diego Comic-Con"
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