Anyone watch Masters of the Universe Revelation? [spoilers]

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Denyer
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Anyone watch Masters of the Universe Revelation? [spoilers]

Post by Denyer »

Starting with the negative... it really suffers from the Netflix approach of releasing a few episodes, a long wait and releasing more. The first five gets it to the point of starting act 2 and a fight back by the good guys, with a little bit of a cliff hanger that'll probably be of the old Who variety and undone immediately.

It suffers more from a rushed first episode where good guy characters are stupid/infighting as a plot convenience, which is never good. It could have done with being an hour or an hour and a half rather than twenty five minutes.

Digressing slightly, the original MOTU storyline suffers from things that Transformers sort of avoided due to the 1986 movie. And people at the time didn't exactly like the way that TF:TM killed off most of the cast, so Revelation in 2021 killing off lead characters isn't likely to go down much better. You can get away with more with robots that can always be repaired -- there's magic in MOTU which can serve much the same plot function, but you can't stab Stinkor or Whiplash through their hearts and due to parent groups and TV censors at the time the power sword exists more or less just for Adam to summon He-Man. So it's the same sort of scenario with MOTU offing characters who've only been back for a few minutes as it would be if the DuckTales reboot had Glomgold gunning down Scrooge's household.

The immediate jump to dark and gritty consequences does play like fanfic because of that, which is unfortunate. A fair percentage of the fandom didn't like deaths in the Classics bios either. Getting rid of Castle Grayskull? Well, that bit does revert within the first block of episodes, but on top of everything else it's another rushed OTT bit.

After that first episode moving pieces into place it did pick up a lot. Cringer's writing/acting was a particular highlight. The interplay between old adversaries like Orko and Lyn, and the use of previous ciphers like Mer-Man, Beast Man and Tri-Klops, is very fun. Nods to characters like Blast Attak and using Scare Glow were welcome.

The Eternian heaven/hell thing is interesting if badly defined... how do these magical realms exist when magic is fading? Why is a character warned they can't return if they leave? But the bionic dinosaurs / sabretooth chase with the camaraderie between previous power sword holders was great.

No complaints about Teela or Evil Lyn being different to vintage material. More concerned about Randor being written as an idiot and characters written as being so upset about the He-Man/Adam secret being kept from them (but did like Marlena immediately putting together the pieces or already knowing, that ties in with the old stories).

There seem to be a fair few racist idiots upset that King Grayskull has darker skin, which has no bearing on anything, and suggesting that the Treat Everyone Kindly And Don't Put Mustard On The Cat style PSA homilies the show is so well-known for were completely lost on them like people wilfully miss the point that Star Trek and X-Men were about social change or that Captain America encouraged people to fight Nazis rather than vote for them -- i.e. their supposed childhood heroes would have remonstrated with or knocked them into next week, rather than agree with them.

There's a chat with Kevin Smith just gone up which is quite a good watch;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oBvJsudkZs

(Sounds like Orko will be back shortly, episodes 6 and 7 are heavy on He-Man etc).

Can't say I'm struck by the tie-in Masterverse toys, apart from maybe picking up a Cringer / Battle Cat... but I've got one from the Origins line, and an original, and a 200x one that sizes with a Classics display without being too large. This one's massive and fairly pricey. I think I'm going to stick with Origins for as long as that line continues.
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Re: Anyone watch Masters of the Universe Revelation? [spoilers]

Post by Clay »

I don't know much about it, but I watched the first episode to see what the complaining was about, and it was, I think the term for it is, a nothingburger.

Seemed pretty obvious that they booted He-Man and Skeletor into a dimensional pocket so that they could spend the first arc or season of the show developing the supporting cast before retrieving the title character. The tweet I saw that made me check it out was comparing it to a hypothetical adaptation of the Spiderman origin story that focuses on Aunt May, which kind of proves the point that's the opposite of the one they were trying to make. Because that sounds novel and interesting as opposed to a pointless retread.

I can't say that the show gripped me with a desire to watch more, but the people vocally complaining about the story direction really need to be ignored. Apparently Kevin Smith is already doing damage control, which makes me sad. I'd prefer a more austere approach to PR with whiny manchildren, but oh well.
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Re: Anyone watch Masters of the Universe Revelation? [spoilers]

Post by Tantrum »

I watched the first 5 eps. 1 through 4 didn't do much for me, but ep 5 was pretty good. The plot picked up a bit, and it looked great. I especially liked the shadow effects when they were in the forest, and how the forge sparks in one scene dissolved into the fireflies in the next.

My nostalgia for the series is limited. I know I owned a bunch of the original toys as a kid, which means I watched the original show, but don't remember anything about it. I did buy a Tri-klops figure maybe 10 years ago because I thought he looked cool. He came with one of those little spherical robots on a clear stand to look like it's flying. I didn't know what it was at the time, so it's lost in a drawer somewhere. Now that I've seen them in the new show, I'm wondering where I put it. So, the new show is a successful commercial for a toy I already own.
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Re: Anyone watch Masters of the Universe Revelation? [spoilers]

Post by Denyer »

The 200x line had some nice sculpts, just a shame Mattel went for statue poses and minimal articulation kids couldn't really play with. The good guys are satisfying to mix into the background of Classics displays, cheap loose and fairly easy to get still -- it's just that most of them suffered from minimal characterisation in the vintage series or duller action features than the bad guys, so I passed when Classics was a thing.

Not keen on the toys' aesthetic with this series. Don't think I'll see them in hand, and Origins has more fun factor. Might get a Teela to put with NA He-Man as the look kind of fits. Maybe one or two Evil Warriors based on specific designs such as Spikor or if they did a Clawful, but they're just not very exciting based on what we've seen so far.
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Re: Anyone watch Masters of the Universe Revelation? [spoilers]

Post by Denyer »

Good panel from Power-Con, the voice actors ended up moderating as Dan lost his voice;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slGDt536VOs
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Re: Anyone watch Masters of the Universe Revelation? [spoilers]

Post by Denyer »

Second half was okay. Spectacle, fan references and little of substance.

I can imagine the script for this being posted in alt.toys.motu or whatever in the 90s when the original fanbase would've been full of half-realised ideas to move their stories onto more adult topics but hadn't really matured. Because that's what it was like for Transformers.

Pros
- A redemption arc for Randor. Although he's still kind of a dick with the inappropriate dad joke after Andra says something heartfelt. There's been a meanness to the character that felt like a bad misreading of his original exasperation with Adam.
- Sidelining story points from the first half such as Motherboard that really needed their own series time and couldn't be developed in the few episodes that had been approved for production.
- The Zoar cosmology with the snake and bird of prey is actually quite interesting. Those motifs crop up all the way through MOTU and was the closest the series came to expanding the mythos rather than recycling.
- Did enjoy things like Goat-Man and Pig-boy even if done in a self-aware way that lampshaded the irrelevance.

Cons

- Tone whiplash. Casual deaths of characters, sexual overtones and domestic violence. Edginess for the sake of it and closing off future stories.
- Casual destruction of the Preternia afterlife, which like Subternia was an unfinished concept in the first half but did bring lots of interesting character possibilities. Still, with the script doing whatever it felt like at any given moment, bringing it back would be equally simple.
- Skeletor being immediately trusted. And re-powered, which was a point it particularly felt like a kid had been given the crayons and was writing on rule of cool.

Presumably next it's Revelation: New Adventures of He-Man (or at least a "time has passed" approach) with space/tech Skeletor and Hordak. I'll watch it, but the series doesn't have an emotional connection because, well, a few hours of spectacle and fan references don't make for it.
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Re: Anyone watch Masters of the Universe Revelation? [spoilers]

Post by Cyberstrike nTo »

Part of the shows problems was following the recent She-Ra reboot which is easily one the best written animated shows since Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra with fans of those shows often making the comparisons. So yeah that was always going to be a very high bar to clear no matter who was the showrunner. Now I am NOT a fan of the 80s versions of either He-Man and She-Ra so I went into Masters of the Universe: Revelation with little knowledge other than what I've gathered from being fan of the She-Ra reboot (which is awesome), cultural osmosis and the internet.

What I loved was Mark Hamil's performance as Skelator, IMHO when Hamil does voice work especially for villains he can dial it in like he did as the Fire Lord in Avatar (while there are many things to be praised about Avatar the character of the Fire Lord is not one of them he is as one-dimensional a villain as they come) in some of his recent VA roles he sounds like a very bored Joker, in part 2 during a lot of Skelator's monologues he sounds like he is channeling the soul and voice of Vincent Price and sounds like he's having an absolute blast.

The rest of cast is equally good including Sarah Michelle Geller, Lena Headry, and Tony Todd.

The animation was extremely well done and the various flashing effects didn't give me a headache while I was watching it, like Netflix's Arcane series did. While some of the references and fanservice few over my head I understood what was going on and who was who and if they were good or bad.

I liked Teela and Lyn's arcs and I loved Orko when he was on the boat talking to Andra that was touching and sweet. I loved his big heroic return at the end.

I loved some the references to the She-Ra reboot in some of background on the lock to the orb looking like it was the First One's writing, the reference to the Horde and the ending showing that Motherboard was working for Hordak and the Horde. It's fast moving I wasn't ever board and that isn't something I can say about a lot of streaming shows.

That being said did it have to end like Transformers: War For Cybertron Trilogy with basically the creative team almost begging for another season or movie? This was supposed to be a 10 episode maxi series and Netflix already has a child friendly CGI version of He-Man and The Masters of the Universe on their platform (it's got a kind of weird nature/cyberpunk vibe to it) so they don't need another "mature" show of the same IP muddying the waters.

I do agree about the tonal whiplash, but I wonder if that was because of Netflix, Mattel, and Kevin Smith all having conflicting ideas about what the show should be about and how to present it. Because if this was anybody's idea of "mature" other than some very mild cursing (mostly the word "Hell") a little blood, and some sexual innuendo (IMHO the worst was when Fisto said he wanted fist Skelator) and Lyn's seduction of Skelator wasn't as bad as it could've been. The violence wasn't that strong than what they did on the She-Ra reboot.

This wasn't the epic triumph that it's creators wanted or the epic trainwreck that it's detractors said it was, it was what it was a weird little show, that had some great moments and some that were not as great.
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Re: Anyone watch Masters of the Universe Revelation? [spoilers]

Post by Denyer »

I don't mind star casts, but Hamil sounded like Joker here to me personally. With SMG it only felt obvious at a few points and that was in a "yeah, that is her" way. Generally, all of the character voices fit and it was a shame that with such a large cast some great actors didn't get much time. I didn't really get a Vincent Price feel, and love the campy kids stuff Price did. Getting it homaged with the recent 13 Ghosts wrap up one-shot was terrific.

From a non-fan perspective did any of the Preternia/Subternia stuff make sense? Because nothing like that was in the source material apart from imagery and names.

I liked the Netflix She-Ra POP series on its own merits, disregarding the fundamental plot gap of kids being left to fight that you always get with "school" versions of X-Men, Iron Man, etc. It wasn't particularly well-paced (something I'd say was an issue with this MOTU serial as well) but pulled things together in the last series. Can't say that I noticed any violence, or if there was it was age-appopriate. Revelation by comparison felt insanely kill-happy.

Don't think the audience split will be an issue, they're very clearly animated towards different ages in the same way there's plenty of DC/Marvel stuff for different demographics.

It's the "meh?" response that's more likely to sink it than publicity from trolling or fans. Netflix has gone far further with things like Voltron than I'd have expected original material to get, though.
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Re: Anyone watch Masters of the Universe Revelation? [spoilers]

Post by Cyberstrike nTo »

Denyer wrote: Thu Dec 09, 2021 6:13 pm I don't mind star casts, but Hamil sounded like Joker here to me personally. With SMG it only felt obvious at a few points and that was in a "yeah, that is her" way. Generally, all of the character voices fit and it was a shame that with such a large cast some great actors didn't get much time. I didn't really get a Vincent Price feel, and love the campy kids stuff Price did. Getting it homaged with the recent 13 Ghosts wrap up one-shot was terrific.
I felt Hamil was channeling Price in Skelator's monologues in part 2 the rest was time was he was doing the Joker again, but it sounded like he was having a lot of fun.
From a non-fan perspective did any of the Preternia/Subternia stuff make sense? Because nothing like that was in the source material apart from imagery and names.
Preternia was Heaven and Subternia was Hell and Scare Glow was Hades/Satan,
I liked the Netflix She-Ra POP series on its own merits, disregarding the fundamental plot gap of kids being left to fight that you always get with "school" versions of X-Men, Iron Man, etc. It wasn't particularly well-paced (something I'd say was an issue with this MOTU serial as well) but pulled things together in the last series. Can't say that I noticed any violence, or if there was it was age-appopriate. Revelation by comparison felt insanely kill-happy.
I have to say that She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is too me very well paced and lacked a lot of "bad" episodes that other shows (like Voltron: Legendary Defender) had and moves very fast, the characters and their arcs are some of the best since Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra and most of the fighting in Revelation was against demons and zombies and the only difference was the blood and the few times when characters were killed.
Don't think the audience split will be an issue, they're very clearly animated towards different ages in the same way there's plenty of DC/Marvel stuff for different demographics.
Well DC animated shows and movies do. Marvel's animation output has been mostly kid shows until What If... and Hit-Monkey on Hulu.
It's the "meh?" response that's more likely to sink it than publicity from trolling or fans. Netflix has gone far further with things like Voltron than I'd have expected original material to get, though.
I just finished binging Voltron: Legendary Defender and while it went further than the original Lion Voltron shows did, it was hampered by not committing to stuff like Pidge revealed as a girl but not really doing anything with it, or Shiro being revealed as gay as an afterthought in the final 2 seasons, but then can't I can't stand some the episodes like the Space Mall and the Game Show episode in season 7 (which is the worst episode of the show IMHO) just stops the season's main arc dead for a bad comedy episode that isn't funny and does NOTHING to advance the plot of season. The Space Mall episode at least advanced a few main plots like Shiro trying to bond with the Black Lion and subplots Keith trying to find the origin of his mother's blade and even while the the stuff with Coran and the others at the Mall and was stupid spoof of the Paul Blart: Mall Cop movies it at least moved the show forward.

I would like to see a Vehicle Force Voltron show in the same vein as Voltron: Legendary Defender but the original series for all it's faults was a more complex show and morally grey at times and it was hard to deal with a show that had 15 characters plus support characters in a 20+ episodes it would next to impossible to do that 13 episodes.
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Re: Anyone watch Masters of the Universe Revelation? [spoilers]

Post by Denyer »

Preternia was Heaven and Subternia was Hell and Scare Glow was Hades/Satan,
Mmm, it's all very Judeo-Christian isn't it? In the source material Preternia is literally pre-Eternia (i.e. the past with He-Ro, Eldor, Dare, etc) and Subternia is sub-Eternia (underground) where various things lurked including the Snake-Men.

Preternia supposedly being destroyed felt particularly lazy in terms of writing. It could be reset with more magic, but any depth it was supposed to have following limited screen time fell flat, apart from feeling like a wasted idea because the concept was interesting.
it was hampered by not committing to stuff like Pidge revealed as a girl but not really doing anything with it
Don't think it needed to, really. The other characters just accepted it and got on with things. But I haven't bothered watching the final because killing off another main character felt boring and cliched. I didn't like the gameshow episode either, or any other variation in any other cartoon over the years. Would be surprised if the vehicle version made a comeback simply because it was overshadowed by the lion version so much originally, and media these days mainly cherry picks rather than go for things it can (attempt to) add more definition to unless there's a pet project like a Dark Shadows film or whatever.

She-Ra... the RPG episode was fun but too many others felt like filler or the characters circling aimlessly rather than plot progression. Then all of a sudden after the Horde essentially being reduced to a joke and constituted mainly by a few kids plus robots, there was actually something of a threat with Horde Prime -- although he didn't exactly convey a galactic scale or having living for centuries, just that the show was now in space. It's a bit of a far cry from the 80s kids show where you got a strong sense of Etheria's occupation and cities being enslaved, etc.
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