Masters Of The Universe: Revelation review – Brilliantly executed with one major flaw
He-Man (Chris Wood) rides Battle Cat in Masters of the Universe: Revelation. (Still: Netflix)
Running time: 24 - 28 minutes
Speakers: Chris Wood, Mark Hamill, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Liam Cunningham, Lena Headey, Griffin Newman, Susian Eisenberg, Justin Long, Tiffany Smith, Diedrich Bader and Alicia Silverstone.
3 out of 5 stars
Streaming on Netflix starting July 23
The original He-Man animated series from the 1980s was titled He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe - a fitting title given that He-Man played a central role in each episode. He-Man was the muscled hero of the series of the same name, who became the most powerful man in the universe when he held up his sword of power and invoked the power of the mystical castle of Grayskull. The new Netflix series Masters Of The Universe: Revelation is a sequel to the 80s series and picks up where it left off, albeit with more elaborate animation. There were rumors that the title character wouldn't play that big a role on the series because He-Man's name wasn't included in the series' title. And that also applies to the first part of this series.
Skeletor (Mark Hamill). (Still: Netflix)
The new story focuses on the fate of the planet Eternia after a disastrous clash between He-Man and his archenemy Skeletor tore the world to pieces. The first five episodes of the series focus on the protagonists traveling to heaven and hell to save the universe. The next five episodes will be released at a later date. This review focuses on Part 1, the first five episodes.
Orko (Griffin Newman), Andra (Tiffany Smith), Teela (Sarah Michelle Gellar), Roboto (Justin Long) and Evil-Lyn (Lena Headey). (Still: Netflix)
The first thing you will notice about the series is the amazing animation. All characters have had an anime-esque makeover to match their classic designs, but with new details and updates appropriate to those of a series from the 2020s. Likewise, the animation is fluid and the battles spectacular, with epic, high-impact battles in every episode. The characters were brought to life in a way that truly corresponds to the masters of the universe. Even He-Man (Chris Wood) gets a transformation sequence (which feels like it's from an anime) when he shouts "I have the power!"
Orko (Griffin Newman) (Still: Netflix)
The series also knows there's a lot of nostalgia in there, so it starts in a way that feels familiar and friendly. The characters' voices are instantly recognizable, using the same language patterns of the 80s series, complete with the usual banter and a shrewd nod to how cheesy He-Man can be given that he is ultimately "a teenager who doesn't understand" . a lot, "after all. Skeletor (Mark Hamill) is still cackling and berating his henchmen.
He-Man (Chris Wood). (Still: Netflix)
You have all of the classic locations in the series spotlight, like Castle Grayskull (which holds mystical secrets that both factions battle for) and Snake Mountain (the villain's hideout), as well as familiar vehicles and supporting characters that appear in each episode. There are many Easter eggs hidden in each episode, like the Three Towers and Kuduk Ungol, which are cherished by long-time fans.
Teela (Sarah Michelle Gellar) fights Evil-Lyn (Lena Headey). (Still: Netflix)
However, the series also adds new elements that fit nicely into the existing lore of the series. It takes ideas and concepts only seen in toys, mini-comics, and other media and builds on them for the show. We finally find out who / what Scare Glow is, and the protagonists explore the rest of Eternia and venture into Preternia and Subternia - both are completely different than portrayed in previous media. It is these refreshing new elements that captivate the viewer and arouse curiosity about these previously unmentioned aspects of Eternia.
Skeletor (Mark Hamill) fights He-Man (Chris Wood). (Still: Netflix)
While He-Man's love interest Teela (Sarah Michelle Gellar) gets the lion's share of character development on the show, Skeletor's servant Evil-Lyn (Lena Headey) also gets plenty of screen time lighting her background, which makes her easily the most interesting character on the series . Orko (Griffin Newman) and Roboto (Justin Long) are also in the spotlight on the show. One thing you'll notice is that the series doesn't shy away from killing characters at all. So fair warning - there are quite a number of deaths in the series, and some characters actually suffer more than one death (but you have to watch the series to find out why!).
He-Man is transforming. (Still: Netflix)
Unfortunately, He-Man plays a much smaller role in the series than expected. You see He-Man literally in every episode, but it's clear that he's not the central character in the series (nor is his secret identity, Prince Adam). For fans who were expecting more he-man action in a Masters of the Universe series, this is a huge disappointment. While it can be argued that He-Man doesn't have to be the main character since his name isn't in the show's title, his name is synonymous with the Masters of the Universe. The only other medium He-Man doesn't appear in is in a Masters of the Universe comic story arc, but that's because Prince Adam and Teela were captured and tried to escape, and Prince Adam is He-Man . It's quite a disappointment to find out that He-Man isn't the one saving the day on this series.
Prince Adam holds up his magical sword. (Still: Netflix)
Overall, Masters of the Universe: Revelation Part 1 is executed as brilliantly as possible, with one glaring flaw - there isn't enough He-Man on the show. If that could have been corrected in any way, this would have been the perfect Masters of the Universe show. However, there will be five more episodes of the series in Part 2, so we might see more He-Man!
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TV Guide for July 2021: Gossip Girl, Kingdom: Ashin of the North, Masters of the Universe: Revelation, Transformers: War for Cybertron Chapter 3, Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness, Dynasty Warriors
In this article:
Sarah Michelle Gellar
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