Okay, some brief background here from my standpoint. I first saw the old Flash Gordon serials on tv when I was like 7 or 8 and liked them. Around that same time my brother had some Flash Gordon comics from the 60’s and I enjoyed those as well. When the 1979 cartoon came on I was in awe of it. A year later here are these commercials for Flash Gordon movie. I was interested but my parents didn’t take us to the movies back then. No one I knew went to see it. So I forgot about the movie until about three years later when I picked up a three pack of the comics adaption of the movie for a buck at the Dollar Store. I read them one after the other and kind of liked it and thought hey maybe the movie is good, but I never had a chance to see it. Years went by I saw the serials again a few times and enjoyed them for what they were. Still I never got around to seeing the 1980 film, but somewhere along the line I kind of decided I didn’t really want to see it because as I met people who had seen it they were normally like oh, it’s so funny, cheesy, corny. Well, I can appreciate that kind of film the only thing is I had liked Flash as a character of real action not as a hoot or a gas or a knee slapping popcorn flick for someone to look down their nose at. Anyways blah, blah, blah I eventually decided to stop being sour and break down earlier this month, buy it and give it a chance on a rainy Sunday afternoon with the kids. I’m skipping the cast this time to get straight to the film because unlike me you probably saw this a bunch of times already.
What’s this about? So Flash Gordon is a star player for the New York Jets. Wait a good offensive player for the Jets in the early 1980’s? Now that is science fiction. Anyways he wears a shirt with his name on it you know in case he forgets and then he gets tangled up with a wild scientist Zarkhov and a woman with poofy hair named Dale (not to be confused with the male chipmunk of the same name). Eventually kaplooey they go to another world that looks like a bunch of paint cans blew up everywhere decorating everything and everyone in blinding colors. The evil guards wear crimson so you won’t see the blood when they get whacked. There’s lots of red in this film too as just about everyone wears it at one time or another. Ming you know the merciless loves red and really short hair cuts and spinach on his chin. I think there’s some spotty plot about Flash trying to stop Ming from destroying earth or something. Remember Earth it’s that place without winged warriors, painted skies and silly shiny baddies. Flash eventually plays a game of “let’s stick our hands in a stump and wait to die” with James Bond who is dressed as Robin Hood. When that gets boring (no, not the bore worms or is that boar worms) they move on to other stuff. Eventually everyone’s fighting kapow, blast, boom. Ming and Dale are to wed and you’ll get some executions while you wait hey cool, but the prisoners get free aww boo no executions. The good people are trying to blast, push and fly their way to stop the wedding. Obviously Ming and his guards took shooting lessons from Imperial storm troopers. Flash crashes a flaming ship into the palace. He accidently impales Ming and green blood spurts out although of a dark shade of green as opposed to the prettier shade of green of Spock’s blood. Ming still tries to stop Flash with a glowy ring pop, but Flash waggles a plastic misshapen sword at him. Ming fades away, the good people smile. A hand picks up Ming’s ring pop and a question mark after The End keeps it open for a sequel, but that never happened because only people in the UK went to see it. Roll the credits.
The negatives- Sam Jones is okay and maybe his stiffness works alright as the craziness just goes on around him, but I kept expecting him to warm up some and that never quite happened. Also Melody Anderson is very mediocre. She also starts out okay, but actually gets more annoying as the film goes along. “I’m lost, Aura” -that’s the truth.
The positives-Max Van Sydow plays it mostly straight as Ming and that works and he certainly looks the part. Brian Blessed is wonderful and loud as Vultan plus he has a great bread as always. The sets are mostly pretty cool in a tacky, blinding sort of way. They candy colored skies fit in well in everything else. The pacing is generally good as although much of this is campy jokes they knew when to jump to something else and not overstay their welcome on a part unlike other films like Galaxina. The soundtrack by Queen is fittingly over the top and actually compliments the film.
I cringed at a few parts, but overall it’s good. It’s not Starcrash, but it’s good and I’ll re-visit it again soon.