If you are around my age, there is a good chance that you grew up with ‘80s cartoons like Transformers, MASK and G.I.Joe, which were basically commercials in disguise for toy companies to sell toys to children. One of the most successful cartoons in that regard must have been He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: I still remember holding my friend’s action figures of Skeletor and He-Man in my hands when I was a child. As usual, I learn about fantastic new projects when the composer is announced, which was also the case for the new Netflix animation Masters of the Universe: Revelation. In this case, I saw it in a YouTube video by filmmaker Kevin Smith, in which he announced Bear McCreary as the composer.
Masters of the Universe: Revelation is not a reboot, but a direct sequel to the series from the ‘80s, in which He-Man and his friends Teela, Battle Cat, Orko, Sorceress, Man-at-Arms, and many more, have to fight against Skeletor and his henchman, including Evil-Lyn and Beast Man. Instead of being a toy commercial with a life lesson at the end of each episode, the sequel is better written, with more background for each character and a more fleshed-out story. McCreary’s musical approach was not to work with the music from the original cartoon, but to create a full orchestral score in the style of an epic fantasy movie from the ‘80s – but with extra metal elements added to the mix.
While I was analyzing the music, I started to notice many themes for all the different characters in the show, and just before I wanted to start writing about them, I saw that McCreary wrote another brilliant extensive blog post about the music for Masters of the Universe: Revelation, including details of all the themes. As I have done with Animal Crackers, I will keep this review ‘leit’, because I could never elaborate on the themes as well as the mastermind behind them.
If you listen to the score for the first time, you will probably notice the magnificent theme for He-Man. His transformation sequence from Prince Adam to He-Man is one of the best adrenaline-inducing musical sequences this year. When you listen to the album multiple times, however, especially after watching the series, you will notice much more musical wonder. Everywhere on the score, you can hear one of the many themes, where they transition marvelously into each other. Not only are those transitions masterfully done, but the themes themselves are also evolving as the story continues. Without going into much detail to avoid unnecessary spoilers, there are themes going from dark and angry to heroic, some other themes are going from heroic to emotionally sad, and one theme even transforms from a quirky and silly-sounding piece to a full orchestral-sounding heroic cue.
As I have mentioned in my Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Animal Crackers reviews, McCreary is a master in writing soundtracks with a heavy focus on using themes to enhance the storytelling. The same applies to Masters of the Universe: Revelation: You can relive the story of the first five episodes by just listening to the excellent music McCreary has written and you can discover new theme implementations with every new listening session. The soundtrack only covers the first five episodes of the first season, with another five episodes to come, for which McCreary teased that the implementation of the themes will even go beyond what he has done for the first five episodes. He also mentioned that he is working on a new project for which he has to write even more themes than for Masters of the Universe. I will be waiting in anticipation, because Bear McCreary is always able to create the perfect score for a certain show.
Listen or buy
The highlights are in bold.
- Masters of the Universe: Revelation (extended version) (1:55)
- Skeletor, Lord of Destruction (1:12)
- Orko’s Bubble (0:39)
- Sorceress Under Siege (4:18)
- He‐Man Transforms (1:32)
- The Power of Grayskull (13:19)
- The Mighty Motherboard of Tri‐Klops (4:41)
- As Goes Eternia (5:47)
- Finding Duncan (6:55)
- Scare Glow, Lord of Subternia (10:26)
- Evil‐Lyn Opens Heaven’s Gate (5:22)
- Lament for a Friend (0:48)
- Into Preternia (3:30)
- Teela Joins the Wild Hunt (4:52)
- Roboto Reforges (4:34)
- From Man to God (8:42)
Total length: 1 hour and 18 minutes
Arts Music (2021)