Rewind...
Rewind...

Flash Gordon

AKA:
 
 


The name of Princess Aura's 'pet dwarf' is named "Fellini". You can hear this in the line from the movie "Come along, Fellini" where the Princess says this when exiting the scene. This is a nod (or quite possibly a put down) to the director Frederico Fellini, who didn't end up directing this film as Dino De Laurentiis had originally hoped.

-Thanks to Donald Lupejkis

More Trivia from Flash Gordon
Back in 1934, a comic strip was created in the wake of Buck Rogers that would end up being perhaps the most influential of all time.

The strip was "Flash Gordon". It inspired three classic movie serials starring legendary olympian Buster Crabbe as Flash Gordon and Charles Middleton as Ming, three animated spinoffs, a live-action series, numerous comic books, and a film in 1980 that has become a cult classic.

In the seventies, George Lucas, inspired by the serials, wanted to create a feature film of Flash Gordon. When the King Features deal did not seem satisfactory to Lucas, he instead created his own "space fantasy". That's right! Flash Gordon was one of the chief inspirations for "Star Wars". The cloud city sequence in "The Empire Strikes Back" is the most obvious if you've seen Flash Gordon, but more on that later.

After the mega-success of "Star Wars" and "Superman", it was decided by Universal that it would be great to make Flash Gordon, a space fantasy based on a comic, sort of a mixture of those two films. However, Flash Gordon, in taking heavy emphasis from the old serials with wooden acting and primitive special effects, became a camp-fest that was played for laughs much the way the Adam West "Batman" series was, especially since the script was written by one of the men behind that show, Lorenzo Semple Jr.

Also, the movie totally rejected the new, used look of sci-fi that audiences had become accustomed to since they were introduced in "Alien" and "Star Wars". Instead the production design was pure '70s with sqeaky clean polished sets and shiny costumes. Thus, the film was not accepted by audiences and the sequel hinted at was never made, in a time when science fiction that took itself seriously, was the thing. However, it has developed a cult following and is undeniably a highly entertaining production with many values that were unappreciated at the time. For instance, the wonderful art-deco design feel of everything.

Flash Gordon, quarterback for the New York Jets, and Dale Arden, beautiful girl travel agent, are in a small plane that is attacked and forced to crash land by Ming the Merciless of the planet Mongo. The ruthless monarch is attacking the Earth, seeing if it will resist or be docile and prove no threat. Flash and Dale meet Dr. Hans Zarkov, a crazed scientist, who forces them to go to the rogue planet in space in a rocket-ship of his own design. He claims they can save the world. Once there, they encounter the amazing world of Mongo.

Ming, the oriental-looking despot of the planet, keeps a firm grip by encouraging war amongst the nations of his planet. Immediately, our three heroes realize they must unite the races to save the planet and the Earth. With the help of Ming's daughter, the irresistible Princess Aura who has the hots for Flash, Prince Barin of the forest kingdom of Arboria, rightful heir to the throne of Mongo and lover of Aura (she gets around), and King Vultan of the warrior hawkmen in the floating city, he just might be able to do it. Powered by a great soundtrack by rock legends Queen, you'll wish you were born with wings after seeing this movie.

There's no way to explain, it can only be viewed. This cult film contains one of the the best mixtures of camp comedy, sci-fi, fantasy and action and adventure ever...

Verdict?

Overall, as I said above, this is the greatest pure entertainment ever.

If you're a kid at heart and like cartoon-level dialougue, this will be a purely great fantasy. If you're older, you can laugh at it, but it's undeniable charm will still have you cheering Flash on to the tune of Queen's rocking theme.

No fan of eighties movies should be without seeing this one that came at the beginning of the decade, on the flip side of the serious drama that is "Empire Strikes Back".

It's also a great introduction to the world of Flash Gordon, someone who's world extends far beyond this.

The basic plot for this is faithfully recreated from the first year of the Alex Raymond strip and the first serial, so it is fun to get a hold of those and compare and contrast. That to me, is more than you can ask for of just about anything else.

Notice any mistakes? Review

Strengths: Wonderful blend of action, fantasy, and campy comedy, perhaps the best ever.

Weaknesses? If you don't like cartoon dialogue and want a serious sci-fi modern update of the classic hero, go watch Star Wars. This won't be for you.

Our rating: 9.3 out of 10


Review Written by Alex Calloway:  Contact  |  More Reviews by Alex Calloway
Flash Gordon