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  • Writer's pictureTrusty Henchman

Working Through The Queue: Power of Grayskull: The Definitive History of He-Man (2017)

If you saw the Toys That Made US episode focusing on He-Man then you may be wondering if you really need to see this documentary. I would say you should simply because this is longer and I think it manages its time better, plus it's better edited. The Toys That Made Us episodes aren't horribly edited, but they're pacing choices and comedic cuts can be a bit annoying at times as they generally feel like they are trying to capture a tongue in cheek feeling.

What sells me the most with this version though is that it gives a fair shake towards the Masters of the Universe film and the effort put into it, has some great Frank Langella material, and focuses a decent amount of time on William Stout's contributions.

If you haven't seen the Toys That Made Us episode that works too because this is chock full of info and great interviews, a lot of it hitting on many of the same beats that TTMU hit but with a little less of the drama they present. I'm generally not a big He-Man fan, simply because my attention was held more by Transformers and a bit of GI Joe until the TMNT arrived. I still find a lot of this material fascinating though, and while the TTMU episode caught a bit of that interest I feel that this film was much more engaging. Plus it has nicer chapter breaks as it worked through the years and different aspects of the franchise, making the overall pacing much more inviting.

One of the big elements for me on this film is the time they spent chatting with Frank Langella. I love him and have always loved his Skeletor, so nothing makes me happier than seeing him lament that he wasn't able to show off his sexy body at the time because he thought Skeletor was sexy.

The time they give him, Lundgren, and the others that worked on the film is really where this documentary shines for me. TTMU barely touches on the film, and they essentially just mock it briefly. And hey, Masters of the Universe is a terrible movie, but it's also great for a lot of reasons. I also would have been around 6-10 when I saw it, so a lot of the design work and Langella's villainous presence really stuck with me. And speaking of design work, it's so fantastic that they give Stout the time they did with this documentary.

Besides just being able to see a chunk of his design work that went into the film, there were a lot of other takeaways for me. For one thing I never realized that Moebius contributed to the production, and it makes perfect sense that Hasbro hated his redesign.

They also expand on the later cartoon and toyline material much more than TTMU did, which was nice to see. I probably shouldn't harp on the TTMU stuff so much, but if they spent less time editing things for more 'womp womp' moments they could have fit more interesting information.

If you don't care about He-Man this may not be for you, but again there was just a nice handling of information that made the history really engaging. There's also a great amount of artistry to see, and I can seriously watch William Stout pull out old artwork and explain it for hours on end. Like seriously, make that video. Make a series of documentaries called 'Crap Left Over In the File Cabinet' and pick a different artist each time. Seriously, please, someone make that.

The most important thing about this documentary that should make you want to watch it though is just Frank Langella making it a point about how fit he was in '87.

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