Some movies can be trashy, cheesy, and over-the-top but still have this incredible atmosphere that just draws you in. And Flash Gordon is one of those movies featuring everything you would want from an eighties science fiction adventure movie. It’s incredibly bad and delightfully good at the same time. However, it will charm the fuck out of you and bring a smile to your face. I have been coming to it ever since I first saw it as a kid. And while back then I was blown away by the grandness of the story, now I enjoy its swashbuckling and so bad that it’s good vibe.
Now, Flash Gordon is based on a graphic novel published in the 1930s. This means we’re in for a treat because we will get a double dose of retrofuturism. First, we have all the things from the 1930s and then the glorious 1980s, what more to want from a movie? As with all big eighties movies, this one also got a remaster and it looks phenomenally good! They ironed out all the little issues and gave it a very distinctive look. And before you drown in this huge wave of nostalgia let’s move on to the soundtrack. Flash OOOHHHOOOO! Oh fuck, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to do that.
Did you know that George Lucas wanted to make this movie but Dino De Laurentiis didn’t want to sell him the rights? So, old George decided to make something similar, a movie you might have heard about, just a little thing titled Star Wars. Flash Gordon follows the adventures of a football star who ends up on a distant planet along with a crazy scientist and a hot estate agent. I know, I know, it sounds, looks, and feels as dumb as it actually is but satandammit it works! It works despite the fact that Flash wears a t-shirt that says FLASH!
One of the reasons why is the alluring physical appearance of Sam Jones playing the titular role. He seems like a real jock who doesn’t know how to act working his two brain cells into overload. He almost got the Golden Raspberry Award for the worst actor of that year. However, after all these years I’ve come to like both him and his performance here. It’s exactly what the script requires. We have Max von Sydow, Brian Blessed and Ornella Muti to balance things out. Plus, Melody Anderson and Topol were also pretty good.
This time we’re going with a different format and ditching the short summary of the movie. Mostly because it’s just as insane as you think it is. It’s space opera that’s also a fantasy movie. The same goes for the script, character development, special effects and pretty much every other aspect of this movie. Flash Gordon is a guilty pleasure without any guilt. I’m a proud fan of this movie and I ain’t ashamed of admitting that. We shouldn’t analyze this movie, we should enjoy it. And perhaps check out the erotic parody Flesh Gordon from 1974. It’s got better acting than this one.
Director: Mike Hodges
Writers: Lorenzo Semple Jr., Michael Allin, Alex Raymond
Cast: Sam Jones, Melody Anderson, Max von Sydow, Ornella Muti, Timothy Dalton, Brian Blessed
Fun Stuff: Sam Jones has dark hair that was bleached blonde and Melody Anderson has blonde hair that was died dark.