Monday, June 22, 2009


Flash Gordon(1980)
Directed by Mike Hodges

Enormously incoherent, ridiculous plot, terrible main actor, and one of the most enjoyable film experiences you may ever have. If the theme song by Queen doesn't make you smile in the opening credits, there is something wrong with your TV. A football player for the Jets, is on a small plane which happens to crash into the home of a man building a space ship which is to go beyond our solar system to investigate a series of anomalies befalling the earth; weird stuff like "hot hail" and other acts of God.
Before there is time for introductions our hero Flash (his t-shirt has his name on it), the Dr., and some girl, are whisked away to the planet Mongo, ruled by the evil and legendary Ming The Merciless, played by one of my favorite all time actors (after Bill Murray), Max Von Sydow (of "Seventh Seal" fame).
Jeremy Irons is his chief of secret police, hidden behind a Dr. Doom like metal mask. By the time Flash and company arrive, Ming is already barking "sieze them", and suddenly Flash and the girl are a couple.
Flash and this girl, met on the plane, some five minutes before this, by the movies time...they don't call him Flash for nothin'.
Flash then, manages to fight off Mings goons with his football moves...but is taken prisoner, and then escapes and has to convince, the Tree People to join with him and the Hawk People, against Ming. The planet of Mongo, seems to exist inside a lava lamp.
There's a constant Technicolor swirl of clouds, that never goes away; there is no seemingly no night or die, and the vacuum of space between planets is breathable.
Like "The Jetsons", we never see the ground, only floating fortresses and land masses.
Basically it's an absurdly plotted, visually stunning (Mongo: where all the women look like peacocks and the men look like robots), superhero movie with a character whose been out of print since the 1930's, and music by Queen!
A true classic

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