Flash Gordon (1980) mini review

based on a comic strip

The news circulating the internet is that the Sci Fi channel is about to start production on a Flash Gordon cartoon due out sometime in the summer. This character has some longevity through many incarnations - he was created as a comic strip in 1934.

Because of this news, it was timely, then, that I was recently sick at home and watched a number of odd things, one of which being the great 1980's cult flick, Flash Gordon.

Opening with Queen singing the Flash theme song, and a montage of Flash Gordon comic strips, the movie is amazing from beginning to end. It starts with Ming the Merciless toying with planet Earth, creating natural disasters before he destroys it. Only scientist Dr. Hans Zarkov knows what's really going on, and through a series of coincidences kidnaps football player "Flash" Gordon and chance-met Dale Arden on a rocketship to stop the attack on earth.

Max von Sydow (Judge Dredd) stars as Ming the Merciless, along with an appropriate (though mostly forgotten) cast - Sam Jones (Flash), Melody Anderson (Dale), Topol (Zarkov), andOrnella Muti (Ming's daughter, Princess Aura); though Muti seems to have a fairly full career in foreign films. A couple other notables are Brian Blessed (Boss Nass in Star Wars: Episode 1) and Timothy Dalton (The Rocketeer, Brenda Starr).

The film is over the top. The soundtrack is wonderful, the garish colors are blinding, the dialogue goofy. I'm sure the film breaks a ton of scientific laws, but if you can get past it, it's cheesy fun. Maybe it's just the nostalgia from watching this in my youth, but I love it.

See it if you love the idea of 80's cheese in a sci fi epic.

Don't see it if you can't willingly suspend disbelief for long enough to get past the rocketship heading to outer space.

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