I have been very wary of Kevin Smith’s Masters of the Universe: Revelation for two reasons. The biggest one is that Smith kept calling it a “continuation” of the original 1983 He-Man and the Masters of the Universe cartoon, which seemed impossible because the original was completely episodic, meaning there was never any story to continue. The second reason is that Netflix originally called it an anime series, which would have been even less of a continuation (Netflix has since stopped). But watching this very, very good first trailer for the series, I think I finally get it.
Yes, this means I’ve had a revelation about Revelation. Shut up and watch:
From that opening shot of Castle Grayskull, which is pretty much picture-perfect with the original series, everything looks exactly like it did in the ‘80s series just…much better. The characters are using the same design and (reasonably) simple palettes, but they’re more detailed, more cool-looking, and more accurate representations of the original action figures—they haven’t been updated, just improved. Well, with a few exceptions that are for the best; it looks like Prince Adam is now visible younger and smaller than He-Man, which makes his transformation much more impressive and meaningful, while He-Man has his more recent “H” symbol on his chest instead of an Iron Cross, which has always been an extremely good idea for multiple reasons. Admittedly, I’m not sure about He-Man’s new, Sailor Moon-esque transformation sequence.
But it’s hard to get too concerned when Revelation seemingly has all the action the original cartoon lacked, and then some. Back then, kid’s animation really couldn’t show graphic violence—I don’t mean gore, I mean that He-Man literally never used a sword on or punched another living being in the entirety of the original ‘80s series. The worst he would do was pick up a bad guy and toss him into a barrel or puddle of water. As you can see, this is no longer the case. He-Man, Skeletor, and the other no longer have any problem trying to beat the hell out of each other with fists, weapons, and in Skeletor’s case, some truly badass sorcery. Hell, even Orko does something cool! Sure, Beast-Man still jumps out of the Land Shark a second before a laser blows it up, classic cartoon-style, but that’s fine! We ‘80s kids never needed the Masters of the Universe to murder each other, we just wanted He-Man to punch Skeletor in the face…and it looks like we’re going to get that in spades.
In news that hasn’t sent me into paroxysms of delight, Netflix has also announced the existence of Revelations: The Masters of the Universe Revelation Aftershow, which sounds like it’s going to be a single 25-minute special that will arrive alongside Revelation’s first five episodes. It’ll be hosted by Smith, “executive producer and Vice President, Content Creative, Mattel Television Rob David,” and actor Tiffany Smith, who plays Andra (an effectively new character for the series. It’s a long story). They’ll be joined by cast members Mark Hamill (Skeletor), Chris Wood (He-Man), Sarah Michelle Gellar (Teela), Lena Headey (Evil-Lyn), Henry Rollins (Tri-Klops), Griffin Newman (Orko), and more.
The first half of Masters of the Universe: Revelation will premiere on Netflix on July 23. Suddenly, that feels far, far away.
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