|Masters of the Universe|
|"I'm John McCain and I approve this message." - Ronin Fox|
|Riffed by||Ronin Fox Trax|
|Series||Masters of the Universe Series|
|Date Released||March 12, 2009|
Masters of the Universe is a 1987 American science fantasy film based on the popular Masters of the Universe franchise. The film was written by David Odell and directed by Gary Goddard. Golan-Globus produced the film, which was released by Canon Films. It starred Dolph Lundgren as He-Man and Frank Langella as Skeletor. Made after the popularity of the Masters of the Universe toy line and animated series had peeked, the film adaptation debuted at number three in its opening weekend but still drew disapointing box office numbers and was considered a critical and financial failure.
Technically based on the toy line, the film disapointed many by bearing almost no resemblance to the animated series. Any references to He-Man having a secret identity as Prince Adam were absent, the film featured no Eternian royal family at all. Many characters were omitted because the effects budget would not allow them to be depicted realistically, including Orko and Battlecat. Skeletor was portrayed as a much more somber and reserved character, commanding an army of loyal soldiers, a sharp contrast to the excitable villain of the cartoon who surrounded himself with colorful and unique warriors.
Some critcs claimed that the film was based more on the Jack Kirby comic book metaseries The Fourth World than any version of MOTU, citing similarities between the film's depiction of Skeletor to the character Darkseid among other details. Director Gary Goddard clarified this claim in a letter published in John Byrne's Next Men #26 by explaining that while the film was not based directly on The Fourth World, it was intended as a tribute to Jack Kirby's body of work.
Ronin Fox Trax released their riff of the film in March of 2009 and it is available through iRiffs and Gumroad. In the months leading up to the release, Ronin Fox Trax accepted submissions from any writers who wished to participate, and the script was compiled and edited from the best submissions.
In March of 2012, the results of a vote on the Rifftrax Forum to determine the top 50 iRiffs were revealed. Masters of the Universe took the number one spot , a fact announced by a video of Meg Foster, who played Evil Lyn in the film, congratulating Ronin Fox Trax.
Synopsis and PreviewEdit[Spoilers Begin]
On the faraway world of Eternia, the evil Skeletor has managed to conquer Castle Greyskull and capture the powerful Sorceress. Holding her captive in a magic field Skeletor drains her lifeforce to feed his own strength. His next plan is to capture the powers of the Universe when the Great Eye of the Galaxy opens inside the throne room, an event he must wait for, as the moon is not yet in the right allignment.
The forces of good have not been completely vanquished, three of them fight on in the desert. He-Man, Man-At-Arms and Teela rescue a captive from some of Skeletor's forces, a Thenorian inventor named Gwildor. He brings the Eternian freedom fighters to his workshop to show them why Skeletor was after him, an invention called The Cosmic Key. The Key is a cylindrical device that uses sonic waves to open portals to anywhere in the universe. Skeletor stole one Key and wanted to capture Gwildor to keep another one from being made, not knowing that Gwildor had already hidden the prototype. To attone for Skeletor using the Key to take Greyskull, Gwildor agrees to help the Eternians get inside too.
As the Eternians get to the Sorcerer and attempt to break her from the force field, Skeletor and his troops spring a trap. A battle breaks out and in despiration Gwildor opens a random portal. The Eternians escape to Earth in order to save as much of the budget as possible. They regroup but discover that they have lost the Key on the journey.
Two Earth teenagers, Julie (Courtney Cox) and Kevin (Robert Duncan McNeill) find the Key in a crater and immidately start playing with it. Kevin, who is a musician and should know better, assumes it is a Japanese sythesizer.
When Kevin activates the Key, Skeletor's troops are able to track it and locate Earth. Skeletor and Evil Lyn send a team of mercinaries to recover the Key and the Eternians.
Julie is having a dramatic time of preparing to leave her home town to get away from the memories of her parents, who died in a plane crash. Kevin is sad that his girlfriend is leaving and all, but you don't find a heavy awkward alien musical instrument that fell from the sky and not try and use it in your high school garage band, so he's a bit distracted. While at the high school late at night to prepare for a dance, a portal opens and the mercenaries attack Julie. Julie escapes and finds He-Man wandering around aimlessly. He-man fights off the attackers, who eventually retreat back to Eternia. Skeletor is enraged at their failure, and kills one of them. He then sends a larger force back to Earth with Evil Lyn in command.
Kevin finds his way to the now partially demolished school and is questioned by Detective Lubic. The two of them try and find Julie. Julie does contact Kevin discreetly over the phone and she fills him in on the importance of the Key. He can't hold onto it though, as Lubic thinks its stolen property and takes it as evidence. He leaves Kevin behind, only for Kevin to be captured and interrogated by Evil Lyn.
Lubic takes the Key to a music store hoping to get it identified. While there, he finds the Eternians, and assumes they're behind everything weird going on because they themselves are weird. He almost arrests them when Evil Lyn attacks, trapping everyone in the music store. While the less battle-inclined hide in the back room, Evil Lyn masquerades as Julie's dead mother and fools her into bringing the Key out a back door to her. Evil Lyn opens a new portal, and Skeletor arrives with an army and a giant floating throne-barge. No one in the city seems to notice.
The battle continues, and Julie is gravely injured. He-Man is able to recover the Key, but in the process everyone else is captured. Skeletor threatens to kill his captives if He-Man doesn't surrender, which of course he does. He-Man returns with Skeletor to Eternia while the others are left behind. They have one Key, but it was damaged in the battle and the tones that could lead them back to Eterna were erased. Since Kevin is musician, he has the amazing ability to remember music, and he works with Gwildor to repair the Key using a keyboard from the music store to play the tones.
Skeletor takes He-Man's sword and has He-Man himself chained in front of the throne of Greyskull. He orders He-Man to kneel before him, but He-Man refuses. Skeletor orders him whipped. Things get weird, even for this movie.
The Great Eye opens, and Skeletor is transformed into Skeletor with Gold Stuff. He claims godhood and starts torturing He-Man with Sith-like finger lightning to try and force him to kneel.
The makeshift Cosmic Key starts working, and transports Kevin, Julie and the Eternians to the throne room of Greyskull. Lubic is pulled along too, as he runs up to Kevin trying to arrest him. The battle breaks out anew. Skeletor tries to kill He-Man with his lightning, but He-Man blocks with his own chain and uses the attack to break free. He-Man recovers his sword and fights Skeletor, breaking Skeletor's staff in the process. With no staff, Skeletor's godlike power fades and he returns to normal. He continues the fight sword to sword, but is knocked into a pit.
Julie gets healed by the Sorceress. Lubic is declaired a King for some reason and decides to stay in Eternia. Julie and Kevin are sent back to Earth, but find themselves in their own past, giving Julie enough time to prevent her parents from going on their fatal plane ride. Together Kevin and Julie look at a blue crystal thing that the Sorceress gave them and see a vision of Eternia, proving to them that it wasn't a dream after all.
Skeletor says he'll be back, but he was lying.
Cast and CrewEdit
- Dolph Lundgren as He-Man
- Frank Langella as Skeletor
- Meg Foster as Evil Lyn
- Billy Barty as Gwildor
- Courneney Cox as Julie Winston
- Robert Duncan McNeill as Kevin Corrigan
- Jon Cypher as Man-At-Arms
- Chelsea Field as Teela
- James Tolkan as Detective Lubic
- Christina Pickles as The Sorceress
- Tony Carrol as Beastman
- Pons Maar as Saurod
- Anthony DeLongis as Blade
- Robert Towers as Karg
- Barry Livingston as Charlie
Masters of the Universe is an open submission riff, edited by James Cruise and written by:
- James Cruise
- Andrea Krottner
- Matt Hampton
- Scott Hardie
- Christopher Wyer
- "Mike 5150"
- D.B. Barnes
- David Krottner
- Alissa Krottner
- Anais's riffing debut