I need to start this review with eight simple words: I like the Masters of the Universe movie. I saw it when I was seven years old. I have not retconned my memory into thinking that I was some discerning grade school Roger Ebert. I have watched it since and am aware there are flaws. I am also full of flaws and people love me. It is that simple. Moving on…
My biggest disappointment from that film? The lack of toys. That movie had some fantastic design work. I would happily snap up toys of most everyone in the movie: Man-At-Arms, Teela, Evil-Lyn, and Skeletor – especially Master of the Universe Skeletor. I’d buy ‘em all. But Mattel’s strange 80s practices loom large over what they’re allowed to do today.
See, Mattel if didn’t take a bite on a figure back then, they can’t do it now. And out of all those wonderful movie designs? And out of the two dozen or so figures they could’ve made back in the 80s, Mattel chose to make… three. Skeletor’s new movie henchmen, Blade & Saurod, and then our friendly Orko replacement, Gwildor.
No matter what folks think of the MOTU film, Gwildor seems to draw the most ire since he was both the comic relief and the biggest departure from the other source material. Personally, I liked him well enough. Billy Barty brought a lot of humor to the role and I think the film was lucky to have cast him (it actually did well on that front, most notably with Barty, Frank Langella, James Tolkan, & Christina Pickles)*. It’s said Barty brought a lot of improv to the role, and that’s not to mention that Gwildor was at one point set up to be a puppet on Duncan’s back, so I can’t imagine what the MOTU film would’ve been like without him.
* – Fun Fact, Christina Pickles, who played the Sorceress, would go to play Julie, I mean, Monica’s mom on Friends! That’s way cooler than Robert Duncan McNeill (Kevin) who only got to co-star with Anthony De Longis (Blade) a couple times when the latter guest starred on Star Trek: Voyager!
Being completely different from everything before, Gwildor naturally needed an all-new buck and he got it, which had the unfortunate side effect of giving him an oversized price (& oversized package to make us feel better, I guess?). I didn’t much like the $35, but since he was included in the subscription, I’ll be honest, I didn’t really notice the price. I just paid the bill that month. Continue to Page 2…
The sculpt itself is fantastic. It’s kinda of a movie and classic toy hybrid when it comes to the costume, but the head sculpt is spot-on to the film, right down to the right side squint. Some of had said that he’s “too detailed” for the line, but I like the movie accuracy here. The likeness and ornate costume details really make me happy and leave me in dire need of a Langella Skeletor!
The paint work was similarly well done with just one big nitpick. While the gold ornate costume details are mostly spot on, the slop level is a little higher, particularly on the heavy red paints. Most everything is well within the norm for me, but it’s that right eye that bugs me. Since the face is molded in a squint, that eye would present some problems on the paint, but it looks like instead of just painting the part of the eye that would be open, it looks the eye on that side is shrunk to fit. Smaller iris, smaller pupil, smaller glint. It just looks wrong to me.
Articulation is probably the one sticking point on the figure. His reduced size has limited the useful articulation. The standard ball-jointed neck went unscathed and has decent rage despite the hair and beard. The arms are ball-joints at the shoulders & elbows with swivel wrists and work well. Below that, things are paired down. Despite his robes allowing for better articulation underneath, his lower half has only a t-crotch, swivel boots, and then a hinge ankle. What’s there doesn’t really do much, so it’s kinda humorous that Mattel went to the trouble.
Gwildor included three accessories. For him personally, in his staff from the movie. It’s a nice piece and he holds it well. Check. I’m over staffs for the most part, but again, I appreciate the accuracy. Speaking of accuracy though, I’m a little confused on the cosmic key (meaning I need to watch the movie again!). Preternia Disguise He-Man originally came with a Cosmic Key that was movie-based, but handheld. Now that piece is included again here, but in the old silver/red toy colors. Check.
The other item, a “prototype” cosmic key is the giant one. This should be the more movie accurate one, but it isn’t. It’s still kinda in toy colors and the details on it aren’t quite right. Oh, and it’s huge. It’s a nice piece, but I’m still not sure it’s the best it could be. One small, additional pet peeve is the strap to hold it it’s molded on and useless.
Overall, I’m pretty satisfied to have finally gotten the little guy! I remember when the 4H would post in jest about never making a Gwildor. Here we are, over a decade later and the 4H have finally given Gwildor his due. I would like a little better articulation in the legs and that right eye bugs, me but I love the figure overall. He’s going to be a fun addition. His accessories are also cool. His staff suits him and I do like the giant “prototype” cosmic key even if I have to find a room in Castle Grayskull for it!
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