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Flash Gordon
De Laurentiis Entertainment Group/Universal Pictures, 1980, 2007
Directed by Mike Hodges (The Terminal Man, Damien: Omen II)
Based upon characters created by Alex Raymond (1909-1956)
Running Time: 111 minutes
Rated PG for sci-fi violence.

Ming the Merciless: "Klytus, I'm bored. What play thing can you offer me today?"
Klytus: "An obscure body in the S-K System, your majesty. The inhabitants refer to it as the planet 'Earth.'"
Ming: "How peaceful it looks."
(Ming flashes his ring towards the center console, setting off an earthquake on Earth.)
Klytus: "Most effective, Your Majesty. Will you destroy this...'Earth?'"
Ming: "Later. I like to play with things a while before annihilation."


Cast
Sam J. Jones (The Highwayman) as Flash Gordon
Melody Anderson :wub: as Dale Arden
Max von Sydow (Father Merrin in The Exorcist, Chief Justice Fargo in Judge Dredd) as Ming the Merciless
Topol (Colombo in For Your Eyes Only) as Dr. Hans Zarkov
Ornella Muti :wub: as Princess Aura
Timothy Dalton (James Bond in The Living Daylights and License to Kill) as Prince Barin
Brian Blessed (Boss Nass in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace) as Prince Vultan
Peter Wyngarde as Klytus
Mariangela Melato as General Kala

Ming: "Pathetic earthlings. Hurling your bodies out into the void, without the slightest inkling of who or what is out here. If you had known anything about the true nature of the universe, anything at all, you would've hidden from it in terror."

Synopsis
When the evil emperor Ming the Merciless discovers the planet Earth, he plays around with it by bringing forward chaos and destruction. On Earth, New York Jets' star quarterback Flash Gordon and travel agent Dale Arden survive a plane crash caused by one of Ming's disasters and meet the scientist Dr. Hans Zarkov, who has been investigating the anomalies. Together, they board Zarkov's rocket and travel to the planet Mongo.

"Flash! A-Ah! Saviour of the Universe!"
"Flash! A-Ah! He saved every one of us!"


Upon their arrival, they are taken prisoner by Ming's forces. While Dale is taken by Ming to be his consort, Zarkov is sent away to be brainwashed and Flash is sentenced to death for his defiance. But thanks to Princess Aura, Flash is resurrected, and they promptly leave Ming's palace for the moon of Arboria. There, Flash must struggle to form an alliance with Prince Barin and the Hawkman Prince Vultan, and stop Ming from marrying Dale and destroying Earth for good.

"Flash! A-Ah! He's a miracle!"
"Flash! A-Ah! King of the Impossible!"


Lowdown
Flash Gordon - perhaps one of the biggest guilty pleasure movies among film buffs. Yes, the acting is cheesy, the script is appalling and the special effects are laughable. It also boasts the loudest costume designs on film (which is probably where all of the budget went). But those elements are what actually make the movie work. Who cares about plot or character development in a film like this? It's all about good old-fashioned, campy fun. Not to mention the sexy Italian chick Ornella Muti (who is still hot for her age!) as Princess Aura.

"He's for every one of us! Stands for every one of us!
He saved with a mighty hand,
Every man, every woman, every child,
He's the mighty Flash!"


And what's a good movie without a soundtrack to go with it? I've previously mentioned on my review of Highlander that the legendary rock band Queen were capable of telling the whole story through their music. In the case of Flash Gordon, the band's soundtrack is what holds the entire film together, from the thunderous opening theme to the lively ending theme "Hero." As a matter of fact, someone should remix this film and replace all the dialogue with nothing but the sound of Queen.

Prince Vultan: "Gordon's alive?!?"

SciFi Channel may have a new Flash Gordon series out, but it still can't hold a candle to this classic film. Don't rent it - buy it. It's one of the greatest popcorn flicks ever made.

Battle Control Room Colonel: "General Kala, Flash Gordon approaching!"
General Kala: "What do you mean, 'Flash Gordon approaching?'"
Colonel: "On a Hawkman rocket-cycle. Shall I inform His Majesty?"
Kala: "Imbecile! The Emperor would shoot you for interrupting his wedding with this news! Fire when Gordon's in range!"


Rating: B+

"Just a man, with a man's courage,
You know he's nothing but a man, who could never fail,
No one but the pure in heart can find the Holy Grail,
Oh..."


DVD Extras: B+
To coincide with SciFi Channel's new TV series, Universal Pictures has remastered Flash Gordon to its original glory. The picture quality is more vibrant than ever and the new 5.1 surround sound brings out Queen's epic soundtrack.

Kala: "Dispatch War Rocket Ajax, to bring back his body!"

You also get the following extras (which could've been better if the ones in the European Region 2 release were also included):

- Interview with renowned comic artist Alex Ross (Marvels, Gatchaman), who was heavily inspired by this film.
- Interview with Lorenzo Semple, Jr. (Batman), who wrote the film's screenplay.
- "Chapter 1: Planet of Peril" - The first episode of the original 1936 serial.
- "Trailer" for the new TV series. (Actually, just the logo.)

All that and a killer DVD case design to boot, along with two postcards featuring Alex Ross' awesome art.

On an interesting note, Sam J. Jones and Melody Anderson recorded some commentary for this release, but the idea was nixed when they realized they wouldn't be paid for their opinions.

Dale Arden: "Flash! Flash, I love you! But we only have 14 hours to save the Earth!"

Links
Flash Gordon - Saviour of the Universe Edition DVD

Robot: "Long live Flash! You've saved your Earth. Have a nice day."
Flash Gordon: "YEAH!"


Reference
The Internet Movie Database
Wikipedia

Edited by areaseven

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Funny this came up. I saw part of this on a HD channel just last night. It actually made me go out and buy 2 copies... one to poop on, and the other to wipe my ass with. I vaguely remember this from when I was a kid. I discovered last night that it was even worse than what I remembered. Amazing that Star Wars laid down the blue print for films like this waaay back in 1977 and MOST sci-fi films STILL can't get it right.

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Get over it, the movie is campy fun. SO much venom for a silly movie :p

I always liked this movie, it is silly and fun and has great music. I am glad it was re-released, I own the laserdisc and didn't buy the DVD first time around, now my LD player has been dead for a few years and the DVD was outopf print and selling for 100$ bucks on the secondary market. I snatched my copy on the day of re-release.

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Flash was always one of my favorite movies back in the '80s. It was just so corny and campy that it worked... and the blasting Queen soundtrack sealed the deal.

What really sucks is Universal have not released it on HD DVD. This movie with all it's bright colors and texture deserves an HD release.

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The 1980 Flash Gordon movie is one of the first movies I ever remember seeing (I was either 6 or 7 when it came out). Good stuff! :D

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Super-camp. Just remember it as a kid and seeing the bad flying wings effects and loud costumes. Saving graces of the film? Princess Aura and of course the soundtrack. If they ever make a Flash: The Fastest Man Alive movie based on the DC Comics super hero, need to tweak this movie’s them and use it in that movie as well.

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Ever since I first read this thread this morning, I've had that song in my head: Flash! Ah aaah! He'll save the universe! :D

Sure, the movie may be camp, the fx may be terrible, but the movie is a lot more fun that most of today's action movies.

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I'm glad to see the re-release. Despite the silliness, I loved this movie. It was just pure, guilty fun. :D

On the other hand, the new Sci-Fi version doesn't impress me in the least.

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This movie is by far one of my most fav kid flicks i watched and today i still get a great kick out of watching.

I bought the VHS ages ago, and a year ago it "finally" came on dvd so i snapped it up straight away to secure it in my collection.

Flash rules! Love it for what it is, it's a good pop corn movie. And the music is just out there. :D

Edited by ruskiiVFaussie

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Flash was always one of my favorite movies back in the '80s. It was just so corny and campy that it worked... and the blasting Queen soundtrack sealed the deal.

What really sucks is Universal have not released it on HD DVD. This movie with all it's bright colors and texture deserves an HD release.

So, being that we were discussing upscaling dvds in the other thread, how's the transfer on this standard dvd when it's played on a 40+ inch HDTV :)

When I was a kid, I was mystified that this movie didn't get a sequel. Key phrase = "When I was a kid". It is good campy fun regardless. All the bits in it just click, and if there were one element missing(the 80's, the cheesy yet consistent effects, the tacky costumes, the casting, and of course the Queen soundtrack) I doubt we'd have the fond memories of this that we do.

I need to pick this up, HD DVD or no HD DVD.

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Loved this movie when I was a kid, and I still love it. It is a lot more faithful to the original comic than this new series which is playing on Sci Fi. However, despite the lack of extras on the R1 release, I decided to go for the R2 release instead. Why they won't release discs here in the States with all the extras everyone else seems to get is beyond me...

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^^Oh lordy, I never realized it was THAT cheesy!! :lol:

Awesome link, JsARCLIGHT!

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Man it's been sooo long! Was there a scene where someone was being eaten by something or being sucked into to something in a forest or swamp? I just remember something along those lines from when I was a kid.

Chris

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Loved the Gridiron scene with Flash going off clonkin the guards with Vultan's War Emblem Egg thing. :lol: Gold.

Edited by ruskiiVFaussie

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Yep, that video was definitely cheesy.

But it was admirably-done, skillfully-made cheese. ;)

Kudos to whoever made it.

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Yeowzer. Watching it now upscaled on my 1080p 42" lcd, and I have to say, this is one nice transfer for a standard dvd. I'm surprised at how crisp it looks. The packaging is surprisingly nice too. Someone actually cared about putting a quality product out to market. :)

The only thing I don't like is that I can clearly see all the imperfections of the special effects. :) When Zarkov's ship flies into Ming's world, you can clearly see the "box" surrounding the ship for that effect like most space ship sequences from that era.

Boy, is this thing full of one-liners. It's better than I remembered.

"Klytus, are your men on the right pills? Maybe you should execute their trainer."

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The only thing I don't like is that I can clearly see all the imperfections of the special effects. :) When Zarkov's ship flies into Ming's world, you can clearly see the "box" surrounding the ship for that effect like most space ship sequences from that era.

That would actually make the film more fun to watch than ever. Remember, the special effects are laughable because they're meant to be.

BTW, I haven't seen the pilot episode of the new series yet, but it's already being hailed as the worst show this year, according to fans who posted on IMDb.com.

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I accidentally stumbled on the series while surfing channels. If you can watch the 80's movie you're a pretty tolerant person, but just a few minutes of the series was almost enough to make me block the channel itself. There is no room for sci-fi cheese in the new millenium.

In regards to the "box around the ships" with special effects, I've seen that in modern sci-fi efforts as well; Star Trek Generations is one example that comes to my mind...

Edited by myk

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"No! Not the bore worms!!"

Going through the extras right now. Alex Ross talks about the film and pretty much states word for word how I feel about the film, only eloquently. :) I agree. It should probably be reclassified as a rock opera. There's another interview with the screenwriter which is interesting, but he doesn't capture how I feel about the movie as well as Ross does.

Watching the original Buster Crabbe episode now which has much of the same intro storyline as the movie. It's kind of erie how much Sam Jones looks like Buster Crabbe. I remember watching PBS as a kid because it was the only way I could get more "Flash Gordon". Yeah, you had to use your imagination, much like Dr. Who of the time only more-so, but I remember it being fun. Actually it's still fun seeing the dinosaurs of mongol which are live iguanas with glued on horns. :) It's a good extra because you really appreciate how much the 1980 film references the serial costume and ship designs among other things.

The worst extra? The trailer for the new tv series. If you could call it a trailer. All it is is the "Flash Gordon" logo rotating into view. That's it. Nothing else. I had thought part of the reason for the 1980 re-release was to promote the new tv series. Unless it's that bad that the camp doesn't save it.

This was a really good purchase. I'm very happy with the dvd. B))

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With a darker storyline and outstanding Rotoscope animation, this may have been Filmation's finest hour:

Edited by areaseven

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Yeah the new tv series is terrible. But in keeping with the film Princess Aura is hotter than dale.

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Sticking with the subject of Flash Gordon, here's a clip that's still better than the new series:



And for those who didn't get it, back in the mid-1980s, Flash Gordon, the Phantom and Mandrake the Magician (along with their kids and Mandrake's assistant Lothar) teamed up in a 65-episode animated series.

Edited by areaseven

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So the general consensus is the new series sucks. Guess i should stop the download now then.

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So the general consensus is the new series sucks. Guess i should stop the download now then.

Pretty much. I watched the first episode to give it a chance to grab my interest... it failed. Tried to watch the second episode to see if would improve... it put me to sleep. I haven't bothered since. Odyssey 5, however, seems promissing; at least judging from the premier.

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Sticking with the subject of Flash Gordon, here's a clip that's still better than the new series:

Robot Chicken - "Defenders of the Earth"

And for those who didn't get it, back in the mid-1980s, Flash Gordon, the Phantom and Mandrake the Magician (along with their kids and Mandrake's assistant Lothar) teamed up in a 65-episode animated series.

Dang, there were that many episodes!?

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I was watching the new Flash Gordon because it came on after the new Doctor Who.

All I can say is as good as the new Doctor Who is, the new Flash Gordon is the same... just in the other direction. It's not "terrible" bad, but it sure is low budget. Every single creative decision in the show just feels like someone was black-lining the script with a magic marker while saying "too expensive, too expensive, too expensive, make this alien a human, too expensive, too expensive, have this scene take place in Flash's house, too expensive, too expensive and too expensive".

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