By the power of Greyskull! It looks like there’s finally some traction on Sony’s long-awaited live action adaptation of Masters of the Universe. According to a new report, director Jon Chu (G.I. Joe: Retaliation) is in talks to direct the live-action adaptation of the popular 1980s cartoon about the heroic warrior He-Man.
The cartoon was first brought to the big screen in the wonderfully schlocky 1987 film Masters of the Universe starring Dolph Lundgren, but a modern version of He-Man has been in some stage of development for years. The most recent draft of the script was written by Predators screenwriters Mike Finch and Alex Letvak.
Deadline reports that talks are just getting under way with Chu, who currently has his hands full with the 3D post-conversion for G.I. Joe: Retaliation, as well as extensive reshoots to work in more of Channing Tatum’s character (who was supposed to be killed off, but was miraculously brought back to life when Sony saw the box office returns for Tatum’s recent films).
If Chu ends up directing Masters of the Universe, he’ll be the undisputed king of movies based on toys and cartoons from the 1980s (a dubious title, perhaps, but one that the 32-year-old director would likely be proud of regardless). Because he was born in 1979 and likely grew up with the franchise as a child, Chu may actually be a wise choice to deliver a more mature film that is grounded in the fantasy elements of the series. Of course, the question is – is “more mature” the right approach for this movie?
While I’m not the world’s biggest He-Man fan, I do have a soft spot for both the cartoon and the 1987 film. That said, I’m not positive that a more serious adaptation will be successful. Technically, He-Man is a fantasy series, with its own unique and (fans would argue) complex mythology that could lend itself to a fairly serious action-adventure film.
Then again, one can argue that He-Man is a fundamentally shallow character and any attempt to elevate the original cartoon and its bizarre characters, including the particularly odd Orko, will ultimately be a failure.
What do you think? Can Jon Chu bring a level of respectability to a Masters of the Universe film or is this project best left in the rose-tinted memories of millions of ’80s kids?