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MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: REVELATION (Part One) Review

Neil reviews part one of Netflix’s MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: REVELATION calling it “huge in scope and bold in its choices.”

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Masters of the Universe: Revelation (Netflix)

Developed for Netflix by Kevin Smith in partnership with Mattel Television, Masters of the Universe: Revelation features a huge cast including Mark Hamill as Skeletor, Lena Headey as Evil-Lyn, Chris Wood as Prince Adam/He-Man, Sarah Michelle Gellar as Teela, Liam Cunningham as Man-At-Arms, Stephen Root as Cringer and Diedrich Bader as King Randor/Trap Jaw.

Synopsis

The Final Battle Begins. Will the Guardians of Grayskull save Eternia and the fate of the entire Universe?

Review

Was there any doubt that a Masters of the Universe continuation with Kevin Smith at the helm would be a success?

Netflix has been incredibly shrewd in putting together a team capable to bring the property back to life. Smith has cleverly stayed true to the core of the franchise. The animation has been upgraded but it isn’t a million miles away from the 1980’s original. Similarly, character designs remain intact and the wheel is very much enhanced rather than reinvented. In addition, this shows the creative team are fans and reinforces the idea that Revelation is a continuation and not a reboot.

That’s not to say that newcomers will be alienated. The writing team of Smith, Tim Sheridan, Eric Carrasco, Diya Mishra and Marc Bernardin, has beautifully opened up the world of Eternia. It’s accessible to audiences old and new. Revelation does skew older with its depiction of violence and some of its language but never to R-rated levels. In other words there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Steering clear of spoilers, the story of these five episodes is mostly self-contained. Hence there are strongly defined beginning and end points with a well realised journey between the two. Additionally there are plot threads left dangling in readiness for part two. Jaws will be left dangling at cliffhanger endings, particularly in the first and last episodes.

Smith and co. has also put a strong focus on character. The supporting cast in Eternia is strongly represented on-and-off screen. These episodes belong to Sarah Michelle Gellar and Lena Headey. Teela and Evil-Lyn find themselves central to the plot in a Lord of the Rings style journey across Eternia. As a result, Masters of the Universe: Revelation feels progressive in its female representation.

The casting choices are nothing short of outstanding. Gellar and Headey aside, there are a number of standout voices. Mark Hamill proves himself a worthy successor to the voice of Skeletor. Whilst Chris Wood isn’t the most recognisable name, he brings all the qualities required to both Adam and He-Man. There are simply too many perfectly cast voices to praise them all.

Masters of the Universe: Revelation also features an excellent score from The Walking Dead composer Bear McCreary. McCreary’s soundscape exquisitely enhances the story in very dramatic fashion. Key action sequences arrive with a sonic punch whilst more emotional moments feel appropriately punctuated by the music.

Verdict

Masters of the Universe: Revelation comes out of the gate swinging with these first five episodes. A robust story which is huge in scope and bold in its choices. Franchise fans will undoubtedly enjoy this new beginning.


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