In which Jason and Chris Alonzo review the trailer for The Secret Of The Sword.
Did you notice that the world of He-Man and She-Ra seems like a violent, Cormac McCarthyian place? Every character in The Secret Of The Sword seems to be shooting a laser, firing a crossbow, or clanging a sword against something. People seem to literally be firing wildly into the air at all times on Eternia. At one point someone fires a bolt of energy at an unarmed king seated at a dinner table. Is there no cornbread for old kings?!
How great would that have been, if those little comic books that came with He-Man toys back in the 80’s had been written by Cormac McCarthy? Stinkor learns that no toxic odor released from his body can match the stink of man’s own greed; He-Man points his sword at Cringer to turn him into Battle Cat, only to learn that it doesn’t matter what kind of power you have, some types of cowardice can’t be expelled from the body, as Cringer stands meekly in front of Castle Grayskull, saying that it’s good God keeps the truths of life from the young as they are starting out, or else they’d have no heart to start at all.
Speaking of people from places where the damned have only the community of their suffering, past men’s knowing, where stars are drowning and whales ferry their vast souls through the black and seamless sea, how’s your podcast going?
It is a pit of unrelenting despair. Thanks for asking!
Yeah, it has been years since I ventured into the He-Man universe and it’s kind of insane how relentlessly violent the place is. And I dig that thirty years ago some dude went into a producer’s studio and said, “I want to make a cartoon about naked people killing each other in Hell” and that producer said, “We are making that shit. We are making that shit NOW.”
This trailer makes it look like the violence is non-stop in Eternia, like people have to carry on their normal conversations while still trying to kill their enemies, or there would be no conversations at all:
(arrow pewpewpew sound)
“I was talking to Harry in accounting and I swear he was undressing me with his eyes.”
(pew pew pew) “Have you considered going to HR about it?” (sword attack)
“I have, but I don’t want to be that person, you know?” (battle ax)
“Well, think about it. That’s what it’s there for.” (decapitation)
That’s probably why everyone in He-Man looks so great. There are no gyms in Eternia. You just kill 20 people and, “Wow, my core feels incredible.”
Maybe there’s an anti-war underclass in Eternia, beseeching He-Man to resume negotiations with Skeletor and try to rehabilitate Panthor for proper adoption. And those people aren’t wrong, but they look like shit. They look like us, that’s how bad they look. Just awful.
You know what the real problem with Eternia is? They don’t seem to have any paperwork.
Do Eternians even have receipts? Birth certificates? Driver’s licenses?! I guess anyone can just hop in a crazy flying vehicle with fully operational laser turrets whenever they want and fly to the hospital for the birth of their baby, where the doctor (unlicensed, no medical degree, actually just Ram Man wearing a stethoscope he found behind Castle Grayskull) slaps your baby, hands him a loincloth and that’s how you’re granted full Eternian citizenship. Incidentally, I think that’s how Republicans think Obamacare works.
I can’t order a Chipotle burrito online without getting three separate e-mails, and you’re telling me that the construction of Battle Bones, the resurrected skeletal remains of a giant dinosaur-like creature converted to a vehicle capable of transporting He-Man and his friends between the bones of its rib cage, didn’t leave a paper trail?
Maybe there’s some kind of Eternian equivalent of Pimp My Ride, in which Xzibit shows up to your Castle and installs a working Xbox and live goldfish tank in your giant dinosaur skeleton, which would imply that some enchanted dinosaur skeletons on Eternia can be qualified as “hoopty rides” that necessitate pimping, and if there’s more concrete evidence of a functioning economy than pimping, I can’t think of it.
Here’s my theory—all that crossbow shooting and laser blasting is actually a weaponized Eternian payment system, like a PayPal made of guns. Three sword clangs to pay your Verizon bill, ten energy blasts to split the cost of appetizers, and if you want to defer your student loan payment for another month, you hold your sword above your head and yell, “I have the power!”
That’s right, Chris. He-Man is not better than the rest of us. He puts on his fringed boots one leg at a time, and he just needs a little more time to pay back his $80,000 bill from Eternia University (which is unaccredited, by the way, according to Dean Fistor, who was appointed after sewing a suede patch on his springloaded metal fist).
I’m glad you brought that up, Jason, because that’s an important fact that a lot of people forget about He-Man: that the whole thing started out as a college football rivalry and shit just got out of hand really quickly. Back in the day the Fright Zone was just a regular sports bar, a place where the kids could pre-soak on the way to the intense Thanksgiving-week rivalry game between Eternia University and Snake Mountain Tech—eternally ignored by the BCS but still, they insist, fielding a decent team year after year.
In fact one year they made it all the way to the Fiesta Bowl and they just killed USC. That’s not an exaggeration—they KILLED every single player at USC that year, right there on the field. The point being, college sports is awesome and will turn us all into murderous skull people.
I would be remiss if I did not bring up other things we learned from this movie, and the subsequent spin-off TV show. Like how, as young boys, the female characters taught us all about masturbation. I can recall watching this movie as a lad and, somewhere deep inside, in some animal place in my brain, thinking, “I really, really like this cartoon. This is a good cartoon.”
The He-Man and She-Ra world is intense for women characters. This ain’t Scooby-Doo. We ain’t got time for no Velmas. It’s all Daphne up in this bitch.
You gotta have them titties / If you gonna fight The Horde.
That’s an Outkast song I wrote about He-Man.
Every woman in this universe, in Eternia and Etheria, looks like a 6 foot tall Hooters waitress with a sword. And we wonder why we are fucked as a people. Look at the female characters in this movie. Look at Catra, Scorpia. They’re barely even a thing. Just some character designer said, “Draw something I can jerk it to and put a scorpion tail on it.
Oh, she needs a buddy? Draw something I can jerk it to and give it cat ears. Perfect! Done! And let’s get He-Man to every once in awhile pick these ladies up and throw them. Probably this next generation of kids will turn out OK.” And I won’t even get started on Shadow Weaver because that drawing gives me…feelings.
I guess, in summation, we can look at this bleak, violent, misogynistic world, so unlike our own, and recall its chief lesson. We all have the power. We are all Prince Adam, rising to become He-Man. We are all Adora, waiting to be found. And sometimes we are just stupid-assed Orko, fucking everything up and swearing we used to be good at this.
Don’t let it get you down. After all, a Cringer’s just a Battle-Cat waiting for the lightning.
The Secret of the Sword was released in theaters March 22, 1985.