ippling muscles, a leather harness, loincloth and shaggy blond hair -- He-Man is basically the otherwordly version of Tom of Finland for kids. So it's no wonder that I love Masters of the Universe's mystical land of Eternia! In the toys and cartoons, Eternia is filled with villainous hues -- purple panthers, scarlet thunderheads, and magenta shadows. It is always dusk or sunset in Eternia, and most of all it is very moody.

On Eternia, giant muscle men ride colored sabre-toothed tigers, and the women wear headdresses and cast spells, and everyone has a cool name that corresponds to their personality or look. The whole male population is made up of multi-colored muscle-queen clones, only with different monsterous heads. Just like the gay ghetto! Like in real life, where everyone looks like a monster, it's pretty darn hard to tell which ones are good and which are completely evil. And don't even think of basing your decisions on skin tone you racist! In this universe, the skin tone palette ranges from orange to aubergine to pukey olive green--very Urban Decay! Sometimes the characters even have touch-me textures, like Moss Man who is made with green fuzz for skin. Not only that, but he has a fresh PINE scent, suggesting a lineage tracing back to Strawberry Shortcake or Mr. Clean!

So you'd think that the Masters of the Universe mega-empire of cartoons and merchandise would spawn a jaw-dropping silver screen supernova, right? I mean, the live-action movie from 1987 should have been a visual masterpiece on par with its 80's Fangoria counterparts CONAN or my favorite, FLASH GORDON ... but NO! Unlike Conan's sweeping desert panorama and legions of extras, or Gordon's future-kitsch Mongoworld, He-Man's cinematic universe is surprisingly reminiscent of ... Encino! The one major battle scene rivals the Power Rangers in cheap-o retardedness, with the villains outfitted in masks bought at a Halloween store fire sale. While He-Man's sworn enemy may be Skeletor, the real enemy in this movie is whoever it was that decided it would be better to spend about $35 on the production.

After spending about four minutes in spooky Eternia, our heroes board the rip-off machine and are banished to Earth where they spend the rest of the movie on a cheap suburban backlot running around with Courtney Cox (no "Friend" of MINE!) in a silly olde-fashioned American 50's car with tailfins. Plus our hero's galpal Teela gets the shaft in the costume department. No longer in her signature cobra hood and white mini from the cartoon, she and Man-at-Arms are shoved into totally standard-issue gray uniforms that look like Erin Gray's leftovers from the BUCK ROGERS teevee show. Excuse me, but the wardrobe in my fantasy world does not include communist Chinese jumptards! I want leather, I want muscles, I want purple panthers and Linda Dano in the role of Evil-Lyn!

As He-Man, Dolph Lundgren does look good in his blonde mullet, bondage gear and cape, but who wouldn't? You'd think that with his hot look going for him, they'd put him on screen the whole time. But when they do it's not for very long and he doesn't talk! Maybe that's a good thing you're thinking, but Dolph is no Dorf! The man's a sexy cerebral Swede who had a Fulbright scholarship at MIT! One is left to imagine lines for him, wondering if he whispers sexy things like "I have the power!" during his most intimate moments on a fur-strewn slab in Castle Greyskull.

As for Skeletor, the budget for his look was skin and bones. Figuring that the six people in the audience wouldn't mind an incredibly fake looking skull-headed villain, the filmmakers passed on shelling out for the 8 barrels of "dusky robin's egg" Max Factor foundation vital to creating Skeletor's trademark blue corpse skin. Instead, Skeletor looks like a goth reject wearing a cheap rubber mask under a belted black drape! The skele-mask is truly disabled -- it's gummy looking and mushes around. Excuse me, but isn't skeleton made of bone?! Of course, if the movie were being made today, Courtney Cox would be a shoo-in for Skeletor, and they wouldn't even need make-up! Topping off this whole BACK TO THE FUTURE wannabe of a movie is a cutesy dwarf straight out of LEGEND named Gwildor played by UNDER THE RAINBOW star Billy Barty. I'm sorry, but the master of MY universe does not hang out with crusty-faced gnomes with sing-song voices.

So while The Masters of the Universe movie demands to be larger than life, it ends up being a real midget of a dud. If there's any truth in marketing, it should be retitled DOLPH AND COURTNEY VS THE GOTH PEOPLE AT THE MALL. But don't just take my word for it! Rent it and share the outrage!