By Ralph Novak
May 19, 1986 12:00 PM

While this tape is based on the TV series Masters of the Universe—what isn’t these days?—it is derived not from that program but from the Golden Books incarnation of He-Man and his friends. That is to say that the animation is even more rudimentary than that of the TV show. It’s hardly animation at all, in fact. The three brief stories on this half-hour tape are mostly illustrated with successions of still drawings. To depict an earthquake, a drawing is shaken; to show a rough ocean, a drawing is rocked. Children might also find it strange that the actors who do the voice-overs are different from those on the TV series. He-Man even looks different, at times resembling Robert De Niro with a blond wig or the young Jerry Lee Lewis. (Actually, having He-Man do a chorus or two of Great Balls of Fire would add a desperately needed touch of humor, but no such luck.) Unfortunately the dialogue is no better than usual. The perennially frustrated villain, Skeletor, who leads the universe in idle threats, cackles viciously and promises to get even. He-Man, who is also a master of the obvious, sees his friend the Sorceress arrive and observes, “Sorceress, you’ve come.” The only bright note is that all the zapping and socking seems less offensive in this static rendering than it does on TV. (Golden Book Video, $12)