A Drunken Review Featuring Special Guest Jim Hickcox
For our review of Masters of the Universe, the film that destroyed Canon, I was fortunate enough to be joined by the director of the marvellously bizarre Soft Matter, Jim Hickcox. You can read our review of Soft Matter here – http://corkingmovies.com/reviews/soft-matter-drunken-review/. So many potential films to review came to light. Could do a whole year on James Tolkan alone (or Cannon).
JH: In my brain this film starts with the Flash Gordon theme, but that’s obviously wrong.
CD: Cannon. Your guarantee of quality…How could a castle with a skull at the front not be evil? Meg Foster as Evil Lynne. An adolescent’s dream
JH: OH I forgot the red-eyed lady from They Live is Evil-Lynne. Such good casting. Langella! Golan and Globus really knew how to stack their deck.
CD: Too true. Did you see Evil Lynne in Twin Peaks?
JH: Is she in the new one? I’m deeply behind – I’ve only seen the first few episodes.
JH: So bold covering Frank Langella’s entire face with a weirdo skull mask.
CD: Probably the second highest paid actor after Lundgren. She was in the new series, by the way, very briefly. About 3 lines?
JH: This giant hovering Skeletor face is probably the best thing in the film but I’m sure I’ll amend that opinion as we go. I haven’t seen this movie in about seven years, I think.
CD: Probably longer for me. Saw it at the pictures. I always get the feeling that Dolph is a really nice guy
JH: WOW. Very jealous. He does seem like a smart and a kind man who got stuck playing giant mean guys because of his build.
CD: I bought my fiancee Grace Jones’s biography and he comes across that way. Nice, supportive and protective
JH: They really crank the violence way up from the cartoon from minute one, huh?
JH: Setting a film in a world with real aggro fighitn but also this dumb leprechaun guy who is clearly in the place of Orko is bold. I guess it’s playing off Willow a little?
CD: Orko is no good unless he has a little plastic ripcord that makes him spin round… Did you ever play Final Fantasy 7? There was a wizard guy that looked like him
JH: I had a friend who was obsessed with 7 and I saw it a lot. There was that weird Orko guy.
JH: I’d love to see an 80s practical but “realist-ish” take on Orko.
CD: That would have looked better than this Troll reject.
JH: Gwilldor? Is that right? He’s pretty tragic. Stuck in a film that doesn’t really have a use for a comedic character.
CD: No idea who that henchman chap is.
JH: Is he supposed to be from the cartoon? An ugly bunny-man with giant hair? Some kind of Hare-Man pun thing? They’re all pun based in He-Man, right?
CD: A lot are. He can be Mulletor. Me and my brother used to style Beast Man’s hair…
JH: If you have any pictures, those’ll be important for me.
CD: Sadly, our hairdressing days were not recorded.
JH: These sets are fully bonkers. And costumes, too. I can see why this film was part of Cannon bankrupting itself.
CD: Would be interesting to know if any of it was re-used. I’m sure I recognise the Sorceress’s head-dress. Man-At-Arms looks like he’s from Aliens.
JH: Oh good call. I bet some of it is from previous films, also. I DARE ANYTHING.
CD: Remember all those times He-man used a gun in the cartoon?
JH: Yeah lots of shooting murders in there. Whole episodes of just drive-bys on thunder-cat.
CD: Did you ever stroke Skeletor’s cat? Horrible velvet-y thing.
JH: I think the only toy I had was a Ram-Man whose legs were spring-loaded. He would launch all of my other toys. Lots of transformers and stuff.
CD: I was sort of past toys like that by the time He-Man got going. My brother had a fair few.
JH: But you were still into styling Beast-Man… I respect that.
CD: Never too old for good grooming
JH: I guess it’s a budget thing but I really think if they’d stayed in Eternia for this whole movie it would have done way better. Having it all happen on boring Earth seems like a deathstroke.
CD: It would have been positioned alongside the likes of Krull and Never Ending Story (but way behind Dark Crystal and Labyrinth)
JH: Yeah, but at least a full-on fantasy.
CD: I think you can get away with more when you go full on with something. Everyone is willing to accept stuff
JH: Totally agreed. The gag where the kid things the magic object is a weird foreign synthesizer is genius and I’d be sad losing that, but it’d be worth it for a more cohesive film.
CD: Speaking of the magic object, weirdly, I remembered the tune it plays after all these years (nearly 30?). Unless it was used again
JH: That’s astonishing. I can’t recall it right now and it’s only been a few for me. Surely someone has sampled it, right? A character named Kevin Corrigan! I wonder if that was weird for actor-with-a-career-at-this-very-time Kevin Corrigan?
CD: Living in a Box… Fantastic. Sorry to say, but musically, the 80s belonged to the UK
JH: Ooh – redacted RE: Kevin. His first film was in 1989. I take no offense to that assertion. Y’all had pop fully locked down.
CD: Courtney Cox’s friend was the spit of Linda Blair
JH: YES! I was trying to place her but I was probably just thinking of 20s Blair. Chained Heat era.
CD: Who is Leela? Sure I should know
JH: Is them never having tasted chicken a gag on people saying everything tastes like chicken? Or just a lead-in to Teela being real mad about carniverousness?
CD: I can’t imagine the chaps at Cannon being vegetarian, certainly not militantly so. I think it’s just an “Everything tastes like chicken thing’ (first time I became aware of that was watching Matrix)
JH: I feel like I remember the name Teela from the cartoon, but I can’t really recall who she was. I think maybe similar to Man-at-Arms and working at the castle?
JH: If I had to guess, I’d say He-Man probably ONLY eats meat. I don’t think he’s had a salad in his life.
CD: Wasn’t she Man-At-Arms’s daughter?
JH: I buy that.
CD: Did you, or the guy who did the soundtrack ever look at Look Mom No Computer? He would so plug an alien device into a set of keyboards
JH: I have checked that dude out, but I think because someone (maybe you) mentioned it in a review? I don’t doubt that he would. Even knowing that it was weird alien stuff.
CD: He’s a bit OTT and annoying, but I love that whole self-building synthesizer thing. I made an Atari Punk, but it broke when I tried to improve it. My son took one of the parts, pointed to it and said “This is where they make tequila in electric city’. No idea what he meant, or where he’d heard of tequila
JH: These henchman reveals are genius. Oh, Karg. That’s our Mulletbunny.
JH: “Tequila in Electric City” is my favorite song made on homebuilt synths.
CD: If I had a jazz band…
CD: The henchman reveal was meant to be like the bounty hunters in Empire. Plus, Beastman’s hair looked terrible. I’ll book him in for a cut and perm
JH: Starting with a bald guy named blade with knives on the side of his head feels like it undercuts the whole suspense a bit.
JH: PS you should consider an undercut for Beastman.
CD: I had one of those because I loved Faith No More
JH: I THINK Courtney Cox’s character in this film grows up to be a reporter and is the same person she plays in Scream.
CD: I hope so. It’s a shame Trap Jaw isn’t in this. He had a loop in his head you could thread string through to slide him down. It would have been brilliant to see it being used ‘for real’
JH: Genius. It is funny that they made this film based in a universe that’s almost too-rich in characters made to build toys out of, and they seem to have mostly made up their own. So much weird weird stuff already to build on.
CD: Yes! Absolutely. A lot would have been expensive to make, but as a kid, I remember coming away ad thinking “this isn’t he-man”. Where is Mer-man, with his sword that looks like corn on the cob?
JH: Surely shooting most of it on “Eternia” (in the desert somewhere) would have saved them enough money to make a few more weirdos. Although this warehouse fight is really beautiful. It’s also nonsense. They could have used this for a Chuck Norris film.
CD: How much did getting rights to use Hendrix cost? Apparently, every script Cannon had, they looked at and thought ‘Norris or Bronson’?
JH: Yeah. I think they had them on contract, though.
CD: Old school film making, like when Paramount or so on ‘owned’ actors.
JH: What a dream. I’d love to have people on contract. It seems so helpful for making lots of cheap stuff.
CD: Wait. The boyfriend is Paris from Star Trek. My partner’s gran, or great aunt or something was Edgar Wallace’s aunt. I’d loved to have met her
JH: Wait, sorry, maybe I missed a beat, but is this warehouse IN their highschool?
CD: I’m not sure. It’s like they’ve got sets and have to somehow fit them together.
JH: I respect that lack of need for linking things. Just let us follow. Why do I know this head cop guy? Is he the slimy dude in Mallrats? Or is he just bald?
CD: Slimy guy in Mallrats is whatshisface from Henry and Walking Dead. Bald cop is James Tolkan from all sorts of things. I looked down to type and thought ‘this is a film he should be in’ and ‘lo’ he was
CD: Annoyed I can’t remember guy from Henry’s name
JH: Why would Grill-door know the word “boat” but not “car”? A primitive land-boat? Do they have boats? I thought they just had big cats and probably giant fish to ride.
CD: In that big desert? Loads of boats… In the 80s, in the UK, there was a quiz show called Bullseye. There was an all or nothing round where you gambled what you’d won, and if you lost, they’d wheel out the grand prize, which was invariably a boat, which would be no good for people from ‘The Midlands’ (where I live) which is landlocked
JH: It does seem like people covet boats but I don’t know very many people at all who would have a place to use one. You could sit in it in the yard and drink, I guess. I don’t know why Skeletor thinks this clutch of idiots is going to have a key for him. Look at them! Such dummies.
CD: My grandfather had a boat in his garden. Never remember him using it. The bald cop guy was in something like Back to the Future. I remember him being a teacher and going mental with a shotgun
JH: Dumb Hair-Hare just called He-Man and crew as “the Eternians”. Are they not? It’s been a long time but I thought Skeletor and crew were all from there and maybe Hordak from She-Ra was a space guy and his actual boss?
CD: Yeah, all Eternians. Making Eternia Great Again
JH: Bald Cop is the best and I wish I had the recall on his roles that you do.
CD: He was one of those 80s ever-presents
JH: How tall do you think he is? 5’5”? Good for him, pulling those roles in.
CD: I think actor height is deceptive. I’m a huge football(soccer) fan and you think of certain players as being small, or short, but when you see them against other footballers, they’re actually average or above. Actors are probably the same.
JH: That’s true. Dolph must be over six and a half feet (sorry I don’t know meters). They must have cast pretty tall against him.
CD: Apparently, Alan Ladd’s co-stars walked in trenches. Also, we use feet too.
JH: Do you think they made Evil-Lynne’s microwave-exploding henchman basically Darth Vader as a way to show where the big guy in Star Wars would fall, power-wise, in their mythology?
JH: WHY do you use feet?
CD: Probably to annoy the French. That’s why we drive on the left, too.
JH: Annoying the French seems like a decent reason to do most things.
CD: It’s why we do most things. We may no longer be at war with them, but we’re not actually friends.
JH: Good Burger King product placement. I really respect product placement in the 80s where it was blatant. Nowawdays I find it more annoying.
CD: That it’s Burger King rather than MacDs is awesome.
JH: True. Cannon going with the underdogs. Spielberg would have done McDonald’s.
CD: it’s amazing that Dolph was such a ‘known’ actor at the time, but right now, he’s acting in one of the producer’s living rooms.
JH: Is it post-Rocky? I assume that his big break.
CD: Pretty sure it’s post-Rocky. Maybe post License to Kill
JH: It’s pretty delightful that they can go back and forth between those insane throne-room sets and clearly just someone’s house.
CD: I’d rather just watch Skeletor and Evil Lynne. 28 years ago, I’d rather just watch Evil Lynne. She was obviously put in for the dads
JH: I would pay money to watch a simultaneous film that never leaves Eternia and is just Skeletor and someone (I hope) in He-Man’s castle both being worried.
CD: I have a feeling bald cop was in Terminator.
JH: I just googled “why do I know bald cop” and it wasn’t helpful AT ALL.
CD: IMDB time?
CD: He’s in Bone Tomahawk! On my to watch list (loved Brawl in Cell Block 99)
JH: Whoa! Surely he looks way older in it. But that’s a great film. I haven’t seen Brawl yet, but I want to.
CD: It shocked the hell out of me. Good film.
JH: I believe it.
JH: So good that the showdown is at Charlie’s.
CD: Showdown at Charlie’s? That should be a film.
JH: A full-length firefight in a music store, scored live as it’s shot.
CD: I’d watch that. It’d be like Fire Free
JH Yeah, exactly. Freefire in a music store.
JH: Funny that bald cop knew innately that the key wasn’t a synth, but still thinks these crazy space people in crazy space clothes are a cult.
CD: In other stuff, he seems to have a weird disconnect between the weird and the fantastical. In Back to the Future 3, I remember him fighting off some of Biff’s gang.
CD: Another Ghost Mom. They seem to be all over the film’s I’ve watched recently
JH: He definitely reads like a dude who doesn’t have time to cotton to fantasies and will yell and punch at stuff until it goes away.
CD: There’s a phrase. The opposite of that word I’ve forgotten that I used as the title of a short story, where people see coincidence and turn it into something supernatural.
JH: Yeah, he’s the opposite of that. Makes everything real with his force of will and then hits it.
JH: “Another Ghost Mom”? Is that the third sequel to Ghost Dad?
CD: I think Ghost Mom’s are a thing in films at the moment.
JH: Immediately poignant. Everyone’s sad about a dead mom.
CD: According to IMDB, he’s in Bloodfist IV, Robo Warriors, The Hat Squad, Ministry of Vengeance… I could do a year on him
JH: What a hero. I’m going to have to watch through his full videography.
CD: Top Gun too? He’s in so much
JH: I can’t believe the ghost mom ploy worked. Such an old trick.
JH: I passed so many tests in highschool by dressing up as teachers’ dead mothers and saying I needed answer keys.
CD: See, the opposite would be worse for me, being with Evil Lynne and then it being a dead parent (fortunately neither of mine are)
JH: Yeah she could just show up as Meg Foster and ask you for whatever.
CD: “Here’s the magic key thing, and my credit card”
JH: I was gonna say “social security number” but you probably have something smarter over there.
CD: The hover bike things remind me of Highlander 2. We don’t have social security and stuff.
JH: Highlander 2 is deeply underappreciated. If there were weird hedgehog guys in this movie it would only make it better.
CD: Highlander 2 has Michael Ironside. If he and bald cop guy haven’t crossed paths at some point…
JH: DID THEY EVER WORK TOGETHER?
CD: Must have. First thing I remember Ironside in was V. He released balloons and there was 80s music. And Crystal Castles sampled V. But not sure if I should listen to them any more, as the main chap has turned out to be an unpleasant chap, if rumours are true.
JH: It’s deeply sad how often that’s turning out to be true. According to IMDB the only time they crossed paths was in Top Gun (https://www.imdb.com/search/title?roles=nm0000461,nm0866055&title_type=feature,tv_episode,video,tv_movie,tv_special,mini_series,documentary,game,short).
CD: To be fair, it’s a good place to cross paths
JH: Right? Both of them and Val Kilmer? And Tony Scott? Very fertile. I talk about this a lot, but it’s so hard to watch movies from this era and not be bummed about the weird crafty ways folks used to stitch things together (like all this hoverboard stuff) being supplanted by CG.
CD: I love practical effects. I was so happy that Moon used them (only went to see that, originally because my friend was friends with Clint Mansell who did the soundtrack). Is this bit of music stock?
JH: Two degrees of Mansell! That’s a big deal.
CD: He’s a fellow fan of Wolverhampton Wanderers. I was on a message board and saw his name after seeing Pi. Asked if it was actually him, said I loved the soundtrack, then became friends with his lighting engineer/friend/tour manager.
JH: That’s amazing.
CD: Talented guy. Death is the Road to Awe from The Fountain is right up there, musically,
JH: This film seems too expensive to have stock music. I would guess it was all recorded for it? But those Cannon boys were wily, so who knows?
CD: I’ve heard it so many times.
JH: Hand-drawn lightning really does it for me, too. You see such terrible CG stuff in even the highest-budget stuff these days and I get that having lightning like Highlander is “goofy” in 2018, but I think it looks way better than After Effects lightning.
CD: Asylum stuff is the worst for that. Compare it to the monster attacking in Forbidden Island (sober edit – Forbidden Planet. Forbidden Island is a board game). I know what I prefer.
JH: Deeply true. But even in things like that last Thor movie, it just looks bad to me. I’d take Bill and Ted lightning any day.
JH: Oh man, between chatting and drinking, I feel like I’ve missed so much plot. Where’s Bald-Cop, my favorite He-Man character?
CD: He’s no longer required. Never even got an action figure
JH: I hope if they ever make another He-Man property, cartoon or film, they pull Bald Cop into it.
CD: You know they are, right?
JH: I don’t! I JUST found out they’re remaking Suspiria. I’m very bad at knowing what’s happening.
CD: So unnecessary
JH: So crazy! Genius to establish in a one-off line that Kevin has perfect pitch and then have it be the secret to getting them back home. Because otherwise the earth characters would be useless.
CD: One of my favourite “quick, explain what’s going on” moments was the Marshall’s gun in Left Behind. Almost the opposite of Chekov’s Revolver
JH: I love it when things are in movies just to catch us up.
CD: M Knight Shamalyan is a master of it. “Something I never mentioned is a twist”
JH: Checkov’s Glasses of Water Left All Over the House.
CD: Yep. Chekov’s Main Road Outside the Village
JH: Your jazz band should have a song called “Kevin Knows the Tones” also.
CD: Ah, an 80s homo-erotic whipping scene. Like Flash Gordon etc. The whole action movie scene is so homo-erotic, but the macho, moustachioed, mulleted viewer never even knew it. It was like that scene in Behind the Candelabra where he’s so overtly gay and fooling the conservative audience into joining in.
JH: I would absolutely watch Steven Soderbergh’s Masters of the Universe.
JH: In the eighties they knew what we liked.
CD: Skeletor is so well played. He’s like a Shakespearean character woke up in a Michael Bay film
JH: I would ALSO absolutely watch a Michael Bay Shakespeare adaptation. Any of them. Maybe the Merchant of Venice would be great?
JH: There’s a version of this film where they have the big fight twenty minutes in and then it’s sixty minutes of the He-Man crew lost in America just bumming around eating milkshakes and wearing dumb clothes and trying to get their stuff together.
CD: Did they film all the Eternia stuff first, then suddenly think “we have $100 left to make the rest?
JH: It seems like it. Like they shot out all the throneroom stuff in four days and then got to the earth stuff and just had to fill gaps.
CD: Did bunny-mullet always have a hook hand?
JH: I remember seeing it when he learned in a really expository shot about “TWO PEOPLE DEAD IN PLANE CRASH”. But that’s it. Also – I didn’t realize whose it was.
CD: Golden headed Skeletor is beautiful
JH: So beautiful. He’s a part of the cosmos.
CD: “Tell me about the loneliness of good. Is it worse than the loneliness of evil?” The budget went on that line
JH: I still think they only had a few days in the throneroom but I bet it was only one with Langella. I don’t think he’s ever really in a shot with anyone else.
CD: Yes! I watched a film recently where the finale was obviously shot in three totally different locations. I panned the film (don’t like doing that, but it had little going for it) and found out my cousin was in it as an extra. That’s me off the Christmas list
CD: I hope I see another film with this throne room in.
JH: I’m going to scan the Golan-Globus filmography and see what seems like it might have it. Do a watch-through. I’m sure it’s somewhere.
CD: They tended to do more straight action than fantasy though. Conan might be a good shout
JH: Yeah. They def have a few though. LifeForce? Incredible.
JH: I feel like everything in Conan is made of dirt.
CD: Was LifeForce them? I reviewed that (sober edit – the review can be found here – Lifeforce – A Half Drunk/Half Hungover Review.) Had Patrick Stewart in it, bizarrely,
JH: Them and Tobe Hooper and Dan O’Bannon. The power-team.
CD: Yeah, remember Dan O’Bannon being in it. It was like an Alien warm up.
JH: I never really thought about this film as being Star Wars-y but in a lot of ways it kind of is. All these blaster guns and hand-lightnings and people in large rooms shooting stuff indiscriminately.
CD: Were they all just hiding while He-Man fought Skeletor?
JH: WAIT has he been Prince Adam this whole film? He didn’t do his sword-thing until just a minute ago, but he seems to have been He-Man the whole time?
CD: Nope. And Man-At-Arms looks like the manager of a carpet sales franchise
JH: It seems like they skipped the central conceit of the franchise.
CD: And no Cringor/Battlecat
JH: I’d buy carpets from Man-At-Arms, but only if I needed a carpet.
CD: That goodbye was sort of awkward. What has Courtney Cox got to go home to? She’ll probably be a temp at some paper manufacturer.
JH: I ALSO forgot that Bald-Cop EXPLICITLY stays at the end. There’s no excuse to not keep using in as a character in Eternia in new films/shows.
CD: He probably left a wife and kids on earth. Just for sex with a young Eternian concubine. Terrible man
JH: Unlike Courtney Cox who has NOTHING to go back to but leaves. So that she can later be a journalist and cover murders in a small town for the Scream films.
CD: And marries and divorces the deputy?
JH: And (former) WCW Champion.
CD: Really? Not up to date on WCW. Was it Randy Orford?
JH: There’s no reason to be. No, David Arquette held the belt for a while.
CD: Design by Moebius? WTF?
JH: Did he do the throneroom and stuff? Nothing strikes me as amazing in the way that his stuff usually does?
CD: Probably just anything with men being whipped.
JH: Ha. Yeah. I secretly hope he only designed the car that Gwilbert stole. Grilldof. Gillmont. Whatever.
CD: How on earth did they convince him to get involved?
CD: Must be.
JH: Probably more like: $$$, but you know.
CD: Alien had Geiger, Masters of the Universe had Moebius. At least whoever chose him knew their stuff
JH: Alien ALSO had Moebius. He did all the human tech.
CD: I did NOT know that. His stuff, to me, is always massively alien. Like pterodactyl things, and stuff like that.
JH: Yeah, Geiger did the Aliens and Moebius did the people. So genius, bringing in two super distinct artists to do two separate species.
JH: They are both deeply weird.
CD: Traffic on the soundtrack? Glenn Hughes is from my home-town.
JH: That’s amazing. The only famous person from mine is a weird guy who runs for president of the US every four years and fails.
CD: Dolph had a speech coach Brilliant.
JH: Not the most successful.
JH: Skeletor will NOT be back.
CD: More concerned about Craft Services. Astro was the best. Seemed to list all the coffee shops they;d used during the shoot
JH: A pretty generous thing to do.
JH: Maybe they’re taking the creams and sugars as donations.
CD: Does Drama Coach mean he couldn’t act?
JH: Maybe they helped him break down the nuances of the He-Man character.
CD: I love the Cannon logo, btw. This has been an absolute blast.
JH: Agreed! For sure. I bet there’s a really slickly-styled BeastMan out there somewhere, too.
CD: If only. And at the time, we had a tape to tape deck at my grandparent’s house and recorded my brother saying ‘I am He-Man’.
JH: That is so deeply precious. If you need help sourcing anything that I said that’s nonsense let me know.
CD: I think some of the spelling may be a bit worngm, but I can manage that 😉
JH: Yeah I’m probably missing some u’s.
CD: We cast them about like confetti here. And I will argue on your behalf that we actually spell aluminium wrong. It is aluminum
JH: That’s really the only one I’d go to bat for, so I’m glad you’re already on my side. Have a good night, Chris.
CD: Thank you, you too. Take care.