DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Darkmatters Review: Flash Gordon 30th Anniversary

Flash Gordon (PG) – Blu-Ray 30th Anniversary release

Dir: Mike Hodges

Starring: Sam J. Jackson, Melody Anderson, Max Von Sydow, Topol, Brian Blessed, Timothy Dalton, Richard O'Brien and Peter Duncan

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

“FLASH, Arrgghh-arrrr, he’ll save every one of us!”

Yes, let’s hear it for all American Football player / saviour of the world Flash Gordon (Sam J. Jones) who, along his cute crush Dale Arden (Melody Anderson) might just be earth’s only hope.

Back in the 80’s Italian Academy Award-winning movie producer Dino De Laurentiis brought Flash Gordon to the screen in a bid to cash in on the Star Wars hype train. Backed up with a cast of heavy hitters including Max Von Sydow, Topol, Brian Blessed, Peter Wyngarde and Timothy Dalton – and the best special effects money could buy (ahem)… Then they delivered the ‘killer’ blow of having Queen do the soundtrack and behold the campest, loudest and cheesiest sci-fi we could wish for was born!

So our hero Flash finds himself whisked off to the planet of Mongo by a freak storm – as you do - where cruel tyrant Ming the Merciless (Max Von Sydow) is planning to destroy Earth. Flash fights evil, unites the warring natives led by Prince Barin (Dalton) and Prince Vultan (Blessed)and gets the girls.

"your punishment for not wearing underware is to be whipped!"

Flash Gordon is a masterpiece of kitsch – packed with memorable scenes such as a young Blue Peter presenter (Duncan) getting to find out the hard way that tree scorpion monsters have a real bad sting… Some great fights such as an aerial battle of hawkmen vs spaceship full of robots, Flash vs Prince with whips on a spiked platform – etc etc. The women of the piece include the iconic Princess Aura (Omella Muti) whose skin tight catsuits and general pulse raising outfits were part of many young men’s formative sexual thoughts… read more about this important topic here: DEN OF GEEK

Everyone on set seems to be having a seriously good time and the joy is infectious as viewers are prepared to put aside disbelief and party on to the riotous overload of bad dialogue and crazy outfits.

"Princess Aura - slips into something even less comfortable than in the film!"

Visual wise, the film has never looked so good, the 1080p transfer handles the primary school coloured worlds well and the image looks a lot cleaner than previous DVD releases. The only downside is that without an expensive CGI make over (a la Star Wars) – the already ropey ‘special’ effects look extra weak in HD.

The 30th Anniversary Blu-Ray release brings all the extras from previous DVD releases and comes in a limited edition 2 disc steel book case and includes the original Queen soundtrack on CD – which is second only to Highlander as the best camp rock soundtrack by the hairy supergroup.

Thanks to Flash, I ain’t sacred o’ no Mongo… All sci-fi fans and anyone who might have somehow managed to live so far without seeing this camp classic, should buy this Blu-Ray version today!! Go Flash!

Darkmatters rating: öööööööö (8 awesome sci-fi cheeseburgers out of 10)

"new flash gordon... not as camp (or as good)"

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