Thursday, March 06, 2008

Flash Gordon

Flash Gordon, based on the comic strip originally drawn by Alex Raymond, first published in 1934.

The film is oozing with camp, stylized as if it was created in the 1930s. Some may find this absolutely insulting - a film that hearkens back to old-fashioned prejudice and racism. Most everyone on Mongo, especially Emperor Ming and those who support him, are stereotypical 1930s Asians - at least visually. The "good guys" are almost entirely Anglo-Saxons. Then again, most people don't look into things with the intention to find racism - and it would be quite silly to think anything of the events in this film - there's no "deep" meaning behind this. Perhaps in the 1930s - taking it from a xenophobic and isolationist America it would be - but this was done purely to bring the visuals of the original to the film. I've read other reviews where people feel this ruins the film.

Personally the biggest downside to this film is it's "faithfulness" to the story itself.

Far too much goes on in this film - with not enough development to the characters, locations, or overall plot to the film. While most films would find this to be an extreme problem, fatal to most, this film somehow pulls it off. The people who did make this film realized that the material was goofy and clich├ęd and used this to their advantage. Aside from the impending destruction of Earth, the film isn't played straight, and I don't believe there was any intention to do so either. It's part of the fun of it.

The "special effects" are utterly ridiculous. But then again this was 1980 and "modern" effects were still in early stages of development.

"Flash, aaaaaahhhh!"

The film stars Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Topol, Max von Sydow, Timothy Dalton and Ornella Muti.

***/*****

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