PSA: Flash Gordon (1980), or The Most Enjoyable Film Ever?

28 06 2009

If there is one movie in my collection that gets me pumped above all others, it is Flash Gordon. Whether in my dizzying youth, and in my effervescent adulthood, watching Flash Gordon has afforded me a pleasure that still amazes me every time. Every single viewing has made me a little happier as a human being. I say this with no small cognizance that this movie, for me, is possibly one of the most enjoyable experiences to be had in the cinema. Without a doubt, there are better movies; movies that engage me more on an intellectual level, movies that pique my interest emotionally, or movies that are just plain made more skillfully. But no one movie can turn my day around like Flash Gordon. It has the wacky costumes, the unbelievable plot, the set pieces made from the rare element AWESOME, and the actors so spectacular for the role that they might have been born to play them. Oh, and a far-out sci-fi cock rock soundtrack by Queen that just tops the cake.

If you were around during the 30s, firstly let me welcome you to this new-fangled thing called the internet. Amazing, huh? This is the Information Super Highway, and it’s just tops! But while I got your ear, gramps, do you remember those old Flash Gordon cartoon strips in the newspapers? Well, today’s film takes partly from those, partly from the Flash Gordon film serials from around the same era, and partly from Roger Dean acid freak-outs (after your time, old folks). Flash Gordon is a dreamy, dashing, and all-around amazing football player for the New York Jets, and he is sharing a tiny plane with sexy journalist Dale Arden when abnormal weather (like HOT HAIL) starts battering the earth and causes the plane to go down. When the two crash land together, they find they are in the company of a crazy scientist named Zarkov who tells the couple at gunpoint that they must accompany him to a dangerous mission to the planet Mongo (!!!). He says that the source of all this extreme weather on earth is on that planet, and that he can’t fix this problem alone. So off they go to fix this extreme weather situation; a crazy scientist, a bewildered journalist, and a hunky football player. What they find on planet Mongo is beyond their wildest dreams. There’s adventure, intrigue, advanced technology, alien life-forms, political drama, lasers, Queen, and lasers. Flash Gordon may just be the world’s only hope. Can he use his super football skills to the test and save Earth?!?!

Watch that trailer above. Do it. Now. You seen it yet? Was that not cool? It’s the epitome of sci-fi excess. With enough bright colors to give you Eye Diabetes, enough pomp to put Stargate to shame, and enough musical stings to be a game show, this one is it. It’s so over the top and so damn… sci-fi that I have few words that might realistically explain it’s amazing nature.

The actors are just the best. Max Von Sydow again shows us his hilariously evil side as Ming the Merciless. He is just as cartoony as yesterday’s evil Brewmeister Smith, but this time its appropriate because this was based on a cartoon strip! Sam J. Jones, in his only famous role besides being the centerfold for Playgirl in June 1975, is a delightfully earnest Flash, not the space-faring playboy we see in the cartoon strip. He’s normally jumping around from planet to planet, bed to bed, doing all kinds of cool action bon vivant stuff. Here, he’s almost like a family man without a family (unless you count the one he wants to start with Dale). He’s still doing all the action, but he’s almost like what you picture your dad was like before he met your mom when you were a kid; handsome, caring, and completely asexual. There’s a whole motley cast here full of wacky character actors that would take me a fucking lifetime to get into, but let me just say that everyone is well-suited to the role they’re given.

I could go on about what makes this movie so fun. It’s the action, it’s the romance, its the music (a guitar solo version of “Here Comes The Bride”! Thanks Brian May!), it’s the fashion. It’s all these things that make it great. It’s by no means a BETTER movie than most, but it’s a special movie that has a VERY special place in my heart. I’ll always have smiles and good vibes reserved for this film, even when I’m the old guy who’s so ancient that he can remember THIS movie (God, gramps, you’re so OLD!!!). I think in the future, I’ll do another piece on this film because I love it so. Until then, though, I’ll just say that while, as a film, I’m only giving it 7 Ming Von Sydows out of 10, in my heart I’m giving this one a big 10 Zarkovs out of 10!!! Keep in eye out in the future for more Flash Gordon related writings from me in the coming weeks!

Tomorrow we take a trip down Christian Slater Blvd. for my review of the bland thriller Hard Rain! Until then!!!




One response

24 09 2014
bloodsport soundtrack

bloodsport soundtrack

PSA: Flash Gordon (1980), or The Most Enjoyable Film Ever? | Cinematronica – 365 Days, 365 Movies

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