GI Joe, Transformers, Battleship and now Masters Of The Universe. It’s like Hollywood swiped a list of treasured memories from our subconscious and is working its way down the list, checking off every property that could somehow, possibly be turned into a feature-length film.
That depressing, hopefully fictional possibility has been generated by this morning’s news that Sony has reached out to director Jon M. Chu to helm an upcoming film based on Mattel’s Masters Of The Universe toy line. Assuming you’re unfamiliar with the toys, you would have likely seen the mid-80s cartoon based on the property. It starred Prince Adam and his super-powerful alter ego He-Man as they worked to defend Eternia from the forces of Skeletor, Evil-Lyn, et alia. Honestly the whole thing was just a 30-minute animated excuse to convince kids into bugging their parents for the latest Masters Of The Universe toys, but in that regard it was immensely successful. Especially if you consider that Masters Of The Universe was one of the few 80s cartoons to offer characters that appeal to both genders. Yes, She-Ra was a bit cliche and not exactly the staunchest argument for female equality, but compared to other female ‘toons of the time she was groundbreaking. Like Joan Baez with a sword and an awesome tiara.
Anyway, back to this new film. Though it currently lacks a solid release date, and Sony has yet to express interest in any cast members, we can delve into Jon Chu’s directorial history for a hint at the direction this flick might take. Unfortunately, Chu’s most relevant credit to date is the upcoming GI Joe: Retaliation. Since we can’t very well judge the man on a film yet to be released, we have to turn to his other notable work. Specifically, Step Up 2: The Streets and massively successful concernt film Justin Bieber: Never Say Never.
Now we don’t want to suggest that either of these movies are utterly terrible — honestly, we haven’t seen them — but given that a Masters Of The Universe movie starring Frank Langella and Dolph Lundgren already tanked at the box office in 1987 — the peak of Masters Of The Universe popularity — we worry what Chu could possibly bring to the production to ensure that this flick is both financially successful and beloved by fans of the original property. 80s toy geeks are a scary bunch and hopefully Chu knows that meeting their strict requirements for this film is of paramount importance.
Then again, maybe Chu isn’t all that important here. As far as we can tell he’s a competent director at the very least, so if this movie manages to attract the right cast, it may be quality entertainment regardless of who is shouting “cut” at the end of scenes. Of course, that leaves us wondering who might possibly be able to play the role of a gigantic, heavily muscled Aryan swordsman better than Dolph Lundgren. We’re completely drawing a blank here, so feel free to speculate in the comments. Double points if you can come up with a viable candidate for Orko. Triple if it’s anyone other than Andy Serkis.