Hometown Celebrity Steven "Flash" Gordon discovers a secret his father tried desperately to keep hidden. He then embarks on a journey to another dimension in hopes of finding his father who... See full summary »
In this update of the 1930s comic strip, Flash Gordon is a football hero who is skyjacked aboard Dr. Hans Zarkov's rocketship along with beautiful Dale Arden. The threesome are drawn into the influence of the planet Mongo, ruled by Emperor Ming the Merciless. Ming has been testing the Earth with unnatural disasters, and deeming it a threat to his rule, he plans to destroy it. He also intends to take Dale as his concubine. Flash must avoid the amorous attentions of Ming's daughter, and unite the warring kingdoms of Mongo to rescue Dale and save our world. Written by
David Thiel <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Ming's symbol (which Klytus also wears on his gauntlets) is borrowed from the Freemason's square and compass. Ming also makes a Masonic gesture during the course of the movie. See more »
There are many blue-screen compositions where characters or items appear partly transparent. This is probably due to the copying process for the travelling mattes that were used to superimpose the effects shots over one another. See more »
The Emperor Ming:
Klytus, I'm bored. What play thing can you offer me today?
An obscure body in the S-K System, Your Majesty. The inhabitants refer to it as the planet Earth.
The Emperor Ming:
How peaceful it looks.
[He activates a console, and watches as earthquakes, floods, etc. start to occur. They both get a good laugh out of it]
Most effective, Your Majesty. Will you destroy this Earth?
The Emperor Ming:
Later. I like to play with thing a while before annihilation.
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The opening credits are being played along with various clips of the original comic book strips, along with drawings of character models, all accompanied by the trademark song "Flash" by Queen. See more »
After a plane crash in extreme weather, Flash Gordon and his travelling companion Dale Arden after abducted by Dr Zarkov to help pilot his spaceship to confront what he believes is an attack from space. Once in space Flash comes faces to face with the cause of the extreme weather, Ming the Merciless and is sentenced to death. Saved from death by Ming's lustful daughter Flash sets out to save his friends and stop Ming with the help of the leaders of the kingdoms.
Even when this was brand new I suspect it looked out dated and a throwback kind of appeal. More than 20 years later this definitely is appreciated as a laugh by about as many people who genuinely enjoy it on it's own merits. The plot is well known to most people I suspect I know it from the 25 minute b/w `classic' series that BBC2 repeated in the mornings when I was only a lad in the 80's. But it is easily nutshelled as above. The story moves alone at a good pace despite the poor effects and is actually pretty exciting.
The effects are poor even for 1980's the back projection is rubbish and the costumes are silly. Compare it to the advances made in Star Wars and stuff years before and it looks weak. However the vision is ambitious and it works well if you accept the weaknesses from the start. Another weakness is the acting from ranges from wooden to just plain hammy. Jones is perfect as Flash, despite being wooden as a tree. He comes over like a 30's matinee idol type, which is just what the fun mood of the film needed. Anderson is awful but again just accept the weaknesses. Von Sydow is good as Ming and Topol is a little unhinged as Zarkov. Blessed hams it up so much you could slice him and serve him with pineapple but he also suits the film well. Dalton, O'Brien, Blue Peter's Peter Duncan and Robbie Coltrane and several other unexpected Brits turn up which is nice.
If you're not sure if this film is for you then watch the first 20 minutes. By that time you'll have seen two key things that sum up the film. Firstly you'll have sat through the extremely cool theme song from Queen. That gets me in the mood every time I hear it! Secondly you'll see a fight with Ming the Merciless' men where Flash takes them on in a form of American Football fighting! Both this scene and the music are a little silly and quite camp but if you like these then the rest of the film will suit you fine.
Personally I love this movie and watch it every repeat I see. It is silly and has plenty of weakness, but more than all these things it is incredibly fun to watch! Sing it with me now `FLASH! AH-AH! HE'LL SAVE EVERYONE OF US!'
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