What can you really say about Flash Gordon? I was eight years old when this movie came out. I thought it was the greatest movie ever made. I wanted to BE Flash Gordon. I wanted to MARRY Flash Gordon. Very confused emotions for an eight year old, but mine, nevertheless.
Flash Gordon has everything: comedy, drama, action, adventure, science fiction, and Brian Blessed. It is bright and colorful and the soundtrack, an inspired symphony of guitar and keyboard by Queen, is second to none.
Flash Gordon is also a terrible, terrible movie. The dialogue is so bad it hurts and the principle characters, yes, even my beloved Flash (Sam J. Jones), are abysmal. What saves the movie is that everyone is obviously having so much fun. Football star Flash Gordon and travel agent Dale Arden (Melody Anderson) share a plane together in the midst of a terrible storm. When the plane crash-lands into the laboratory of Dr. Hans Zarkov (Topol), our heroes find themselves kidnapped and coerced into a rocket ship bound for Mongo, from which Ming the Merciless (Max von Sydow) is trying to destroy the world. And of course, only a football star can save the universe from certain destruction. Along the way Flash must save Dale from becoming Ming's newest wife and convince Mongo's other warring inhabitants to join forces in order to defeat their iron-fisted dictator. Blah blah blah. Things get blown up, people get stabbed, Ming's daughter tries to seduce Flash in a space ship, and Timothy Dalton wears tights. Camp camp camp!
Read Stomp Tokyo's full review.
Flash Gordon the DVD was released in July of 1998, so it was a pretty early release in the medium. That having been said, I was really disappointed with this disc. The color isn't nearly as good as it could be and the contrast of shadow and light gets really muddy in places where it shouldn't. Blood that I remembered as being bright bright green looked almost black here. The audio was fine. Not outstanding, mind you, but pretty good.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment here is the complete lack of extras. This DVD doesn't even have the theatrical trailer on it. Maybe they lost it? The alleged interactive menu allows you to choose between a whopping eight chapter selections. Hell, the laser disc had 28. What gives?
I'm gonna hope against hope that this studio is planning a big special edition release of Flash Gordon. It deserves better than this slap-dash effort.
Amy Morrison, 7/5/00