FLASH GORDON - SAVIOUR OF THE...
Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
Sam J. Jones
Max von Sydow
What's it about
Flash Gordon tells the tale of an unlikely hero who must take on an evil villain who plans to destroy the world with his villainy. Can Flash become a hero in time to stop this intergalactic threat?
Is it good movie?
As a young man, I had heard tales of Flash Gordon, but the only real Flash I knew was the one from DC Comics, the world's fastest man. My father had regaled me with tales of another hero named Flash, and oddly enough, only now am I getting to witness the 1980s pseudo-epic that is Flash Gordon.
I must say- this was a fun ride on a grand scale, and perhaps I was foolish to call this film a 'pseudo epic', because it really is quite an amazing ride for its time. Let me get it out of the way now- this is a comic book brought to life in grand scale fashion. Not only that, but an old-school comic book brought to life in the age of drugs and neon colors. I suppose that in a way (and some may call this blasphemy), the success of capturing Flash Gordon on film would be comparable to the success of Sin City's conversion to film.
Flash Gordon is a true treat to look at, and this is the most impressive part of the film, a true example of 80's futuristic Zeitgeist, if that makes any sense. The whole production is done on a fantastically grand scale, with amazingly bright colors and extravagant set pieces abound. The costumes are deliciously garish and the acting goes right along with it. Sam J. Jones (why is he DUBBED?)is a bit of a lunkhead as Gordon, and I think that's to be expected, but the true owner of this film is Max Von Sydow, who absolutely owns the role of Ming the Merciless, the most evil villain around. You need to see this film to see this performance alone.
I admit that the dialogue is cheesy and the whole thing is a bit reminiscent of the old Batman TV series, but I think that's the point. No one is going to be forced to watch this flick; it's clearly been made to satisfy collectors who have been longing for a definitive edition. It's not awesomely made, but that's the point, its fun and it rocks (quite literally, thanks to Queen's soundtrack..too good). I had a blast watching this movie, it made me feel like a kid again.
Video / Audio
Video comes in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, and looks damn near flawless. It's sharp and it has to be- the movie relies a lot on its visuals.
Audio is a booming 5.1 Dolby Digital track that seems a bit front heavy, but still quite poignant and booming.
First up is Alex Ross, Renowned Comic Artist, on 'Flash Gordon, an all too short piece with animator Ross who warmly shares his love for Flash Gordon
Next is Writing a Classic: Screenwriter Lorenzo Semple Jr. who sort of spends his time ripping on the film, saying it was a failure and never really caught on with theatrical audiences to make any real money.
Next you get the First Episode of the 'Flash Gordon' 1936 Serial, which is about 20 minutes long and hard to watch, but a neat retro gem nonetheless, I suppose.
The Flash Gordon' TV Show Trailer is like TEN seconds long, and nothing but a title. Why is this listed on the box as a BONUS feature?!
Rounding out the disc is a theatrical trailer.
Flash Gordon was a blast to watch, but unfortunately the DVD isn't given the extras it deserves. Where are the cast and crew? Where's the commentary? Where's a documentary on the making of the film? The film itself looks and sounds great, and it would appear that will have to hold fans over until a true definitive edition of this film comes out.