Netflix Now: Power of Grayskull - The Definitive History of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2019) - Reviewed

The history of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe comes to life in a brand new documentary that trails his creation, the mythology, and the ever growing toy line. Initially hitting toy stores in the '80s, He-Man was a major hit with kids that continued to grow and expand for several years. Initially released with no back story other than mini comics that were included in the action figure's retail packaging, the character went on to spawn a cartoon, a theatrical film, and the follow-up televised stories of She-Ra. With a long history that spans several different rebooted toy lines and repackages, He-Man remains one of the most popular original properties to come out of the Reagan era, with a continued interest in collectibles and vintage figures from fans that span the entire globe. 

This new documentary film covers much of the same story as the Netflix episode of The Toys That Made Us but digs way deeper into the design of the figures, the misogynistic way that fictional She-Ra was treated at her launch, and the folks that poured their hearts into the story of Prince Adam and the planet Eternia. At around ninety minutes total running time, The Definitive History is a deep dig that will pique the interest of collectors, former fans, and those that just have interest in retro toys or nostalgia. Power of Grayskull hits on all these points, diving headlong into the creation, the destruction, and the eventual rebirth of the muscle bound hero. 

Where it gets really interesting is when the movie starts chronicling the making of the Cannon film, Masters of the Universe. Despite studio meddling and way too many cooks in the kitchen, the movie still holds a cheesy charm. The doc shows us via interviews with Dolph Lundgren and Frank Langella exactly how much heart went into producing the movie. Artists show us all the design work that was used towards the creation of an on-screen Skeletor while also divulging the problematic production that saw actors passing out due to costumes and prosthetic pieces that were non-breathable. Film fans alone will get a history lesson that represents how far we've come with the advancement of technology in film. 

If you're looking for a solid look inside the creation, eventual deviation, and ongoing transformation of the universe of He-Man, this is a documentary you'd definitely enjoy. There's a lot of great footage mixed with solid information that makes it a blast to watch. This really made me want to get into the massive amount of collectibles that are out there. From the originals to the later re-released classics line, the catalog of toy products is never ending for this character and his universe. Power of Grayskull is a sharp insider view at how everything went so well, turned bad, and then was brought back to life by a younger generation of fans. Seeing how the toys were in direct competition with other famous properties and the evolution is an excellent watch in and of itself. But the care and detail that's gone into later figures is truly amazing. 

By the power of Grayskull, we have an awesome movie!!! Check this one out!

-Chris George