The new He-Man and the Masters of the Universe on Netflix is aimed at kids, but even adults will enjoy the brand’s coolest transformational footage.
WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Season 1 of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, now streaming on Netflix.
It’s hard to think of He-Man and not think of those legendary transformation streaks. When the character first jumped off store shelves and onto children’s TV screens in the early 1980s, there was nothing but He-Man. Now, these transformations finally seem more epic than ever, thanks to an all-new series, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe on Netflix.
All those years ago, as Prince Adam first wielded his mighty sword and uttered his iconic “By the power of Grayskull” – that moment – more than any other, is what really helped set the show and the brand apart. Children’s imaginations are based on the idea of transforming themselves into larger-than-life heroes – of becoming something much larger than themselves. He-man captured the very essence of this fantastic role playing game that kids have. This is what makes it such an easy concept to grasp, as well as such a fun toy to play with.
The transformations of the original series have become etched in the lore of cartoon history – but they’re not necessarily impressive visual shows, at least not by today’s standards. It was the concept of transformation that blew children’s minds, not the appearance of this transformation.
Some of the best footage since the original has come with the 2002-2004 short-lived series, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. Now almost two decades later, and almost 4 years since the original, the Transformation has finally received the upgrade it more than deserves. In this new iteration, when Adman becomes the reluctant muscular hero, the streak is just as unique as the series itself. It could easily have gotten nostalgic and made it much closer to the original. Instead, it goes its own way, which plays out like the cool, epic feeling moment it should.
One of the most visually pleasing transformations is for Battle Cat. The original, although loved, lacked grandeur which it made up for in simplicity. Not this one. We see Cringer inundated with a glow of gold and stars before assuming his menacing and armored alter ego. Finally an intro worthy of this ferocious feline.
Each of Adams’ friends also gets their own transformative mini-epic sequences. Fortunately, all of them are unique and very character-specific rather than just repeating the same sequences with rotating teammates. Male or female, the show does a great job of turning these young heroes into powerful (older) individuals.
The epic group transformation timeline, especially the longer version, has a Power rangerss feel to it (which borrows from the even older and equally distinct Voltron sequences). But this version doesn’t look like a scam, it looks rather similar and somewhat modernized, without being too distracting. It is a hallmark of the series. Many things look familiar, but still retain the sparkle of captivating originality.
Just a few months ago, another Netflix series attempted to win over more adult viewers with a different take on Eternia’s fables. Kevin Smith’s, Masters of the Universe: Revelation, however, tried to update his version of the transformation sequence, with heavy blue tints on the transformation’s muscular physique He-man. It ended up making the whole thing feel a bit like Dr. Manhattan from the X-Men, which didn’t really work out.
The only thing missing from the last transformation streak is one of the essential ingredients that made the 1980s version so special; his theme song. When Prince Adam became He-man, the contagious jingle was as much a part of the moment as the visual display. It also probably helped keep it engraved in people’s memory banks. Even without an iconic melody to accompany it, however, the new He-Man and the Masters of the Universe has done enough to turn some old school fans into new ones again, alongside the next generation.
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is available to stream on Netflix.
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