Flash Gordon (1980)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Flash Gordon</strong> (1980)

(On TV, July 2018) Oh wow. I’m not sure you can actually describe Flash Gordon without sounding certifiably insane, so wholeheartedly does it commit to its campy style. 1980 was like a parallel universe when seen through the campy mind of director Mike Hodges, and I’m not sure where to start in order to give you a taste of the film’s built-in ludicrousness. Maybe Queen’s soundtrack with its eponymous FLASH! (Ah-ah-Aaaah) ? Maybe the prologue where a bored supervillain decides to destroy the Earth out of spite? Maybe the hero, a football star thrown in galactic conflicts? Maybe the unrepentant use of musty clichés such as the scientist and his daughter? Maybe the gaudy visual design of the film? Maybe Max von Sydow and BRIAN BLESSED hamming it up, along with such notables as Timothy Dalton and Topol in other roles? Maybe choice quotes along the lines of “Flash, Flash, I love you, but we only have fourteen hours to save the Earth!”  I don’t know. Flash Gordon has a messy production history, and the fairest assessment you can make of it was that Dino de Laurentis thought it was a good idea to resurrect a 1930s comic strip, except that the people tasked with writing and executing the project found the thing so ridiculous that they left the throttle firmly struck in the “parody” setting and the result got away from them. Or they all played along. No matter how you see it, Flash Gordon is a terrible big brash loud movie that feels as if it’s an hours-long hallucination. I wouldn’t mind seeing it again.

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