Master of the Universe: Revelation Part 1
Directed by: Kevin Smith
Starring: Chris Wood, Mark Hamill, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Lena Heady, Liam Cunningham, & Griffin Newman
Following up on the final episode of the original Master of the Universe, Revelation takes place after the final battle between Skelator and He-Man. However, after we assume that He-Man and his comrades have come out on top, Skelator had one last trick up his sleeve.
Jumping ahead a few years, we are introduced to a much different Eternia. Prince Adam/He-Man is gone, and Magic is disappearing throughout the land. Teela has quit the royal guard and is combing the land as a mercenary for hire with a new partner, Andrea. Taking a mission to infiltrate Snake Mountain and steal a cup starts the journey of Teela, Andrea, Orko, Evil Lynn, and others to restore Eternia to normal.
The first part of the series does well to introduce the characters to old and new viewers. Using an old property like Master of the Universe gives familiarity and allows for adults growing up with the original to introduce a new version to a younger generation. The series surprisingly does this very well.
As an original vehicle to sell toys, the series has grown and developed a complicated history. Kevin Smith and Eric Carrasco kept the story simple while still introducing many favorites with little added extras. By focusing on a critical group throughout most of the first part, viewers are not thinking how many new characters are introduced to sell a toy.
The key and significant draw to the show is the voice acting and animation. Mark Hamill brings a unique perspective to Skelator that gives chills but still keeps the theatrics from the original. However, the actor that stands out and delivers a fantastic performance is Lena Heady as Evil Lynn. Heady steals the show and entraps you on her journey with Teela.
The animation still keeps the over-the-top muscles and weapons but in CGI. Powerhouse Animation Studio deliveries excellent character design and incorporates the original costumes with modern and practical updates. The action sequences are done beautifully and combine the location and surrounding environment with it.
The series will have extra criticism due to the shift the narrative takes and having Kevin Smith involved. Some of the early critique coming out is not in favor of the focus shifting from He-Man to Teela. Many feel that this version of Master of the Universe will be too woke. In those statements, it is essential to remember the original series’ primary purpose was to sell action figures and accessories. The story and background came as an afterthought by Filmation Studio staff. The same staff would continue to work on series like Batman: The Animated Series, Babylon 5, The Real Ghostbusters, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
The major drawback I have with the series is the choice to release it in two parts, especially with five episodes for each part. With how the story develops, it suffers more damage and the risk of people not coming back for the second half. The story has good pacing and narrative that makes it a binge-worthy event, and to cut it in half is an injustice. When I hit the end of part 1, I was hoping the second part was also available.
Overall, Master of the Universe: Revelation Part 1 is a great way to bring back a classic series and action figure icon. With Kevin Smith as the showrunner, we get an authentic fan of both the toys and series. We still see some of the campy aspects of the original with Orko and Cringer, along with seeing them grow out from the bumbling fool and crowdly cat.