16 September 2013

30 YEARS - Top 30 GREATEST MOMENTS #19

On the 5th of September 1983 the animated series He-Man and the Masters of the Universe received its WORLD premiere in the UK! To celebrate 30 YEARS since this historic day I am counting down (on a daily basis) what I believe to be the 30 GREATEST MOMENTS of the Filmation series.

GREATEST MOMENT #19
He-Man's moral lesson is laced with reality.
"Double Edged Sword"



At the Royal Palace, Man-At-Arms explains to King Randor and Prince Adam that their only piece of Eternium, which has powered the palace for centuries, is almost used up. In the Sands of Time, a young boy named Chad, his energetic pet Burbie, and his paralyzed grandfather Elden, locate a piece of Eternium. At Snake Mountain, Mer-Man and Trap Jaw witness the Eternium moving across the Sands of Time towards the Royal Palace. When Trap Jaw eats some Eternium he becomes super-powered, and battles He-Man to a standstill. However, when his power wears off Burbie grabs the Eternium, accidentally swallows it, and slowly begins to die. At Castle Grayskull He-Man steps into the Chamber of Life with Burbie. Outside the castle Elden decides it is time to tell Chad the story of how he became paralyzed. He reveals that during the Orc War, when he was a young soldier, he spotted a group of Orcs and with his fancy shooting skills was able to drive them away. Unwittingly, his fancy shooting loosened a nearby cliff; the resulting avalanche killing many of his men and paralyzing him. Chad learns the true dangers of war, as He-Man emerges from the castle with Burbie, back to full health. The moral of the episode begins...

He-Man turns to the audience announcing, "Sometimes movies and television adventure series like this one make it seem as though shooting a gun, fighting, and taking chances are fun and exciting things to do." The most powerful man continues, "And what's more, the good guys never get hurt." As we see the events of Elden's tragic flashback take place He-Man reveals, "But in real life, people do get hurt, even killed, when they fight or use guns." He-Man assures the audience, "Make-believe can be fun, and there's nothing wrong with imagining great adventures." He finishes the lesson with an incredibly stern warning, "But never forget, that when it's the real thing, someone can get hurt. Even the good guys! Even you."

This moral segment is quite possibly one of the best of the series. Firstly, the lesson it explicitly preaches has already been naturally woven into the episode through Chad and Elden, without any of it feeling forced. Because of this the moral is as good as the entire episode that precedes it! Not only is it an incredibly informative moral, but it also addresses the critics of the show that believed He-Man and the Masters of the Universe was nothing more than a toy-driven exercise in violence! The fact that He-Man brutally admits to the audience that his world is complete fantasy is startling, given that we have invested so much into these fantasy adventures. Rarely has a character ever broken the fourth wall in such a dramatic fashion.

3 comments:

Kevin Martinell said...

Well said in every line of the message, plus the discussion between He-Man and Chad, at the very end of the actual episode, makes for the perfect lead-in to this very powerful lesson.

Buzz Chuck said...

That episode has a great message. I used to have a couple of cels from that Double Edged Sword.

http://actionfigureadventures.blogspot.com/2013/05/double-edged-sword-motu-cel.html

Mosquitor said...

Very smart move by Filmation addressing the violence issue in this manner. I would love to see a more realistic MOTU show though, where the good guys do get hurt or killed...

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