I never dreamed of being Luke Skywalker. Even as a kid, Darth Vader was the far more compelling character — and Saturday afternoons in my backyard were spent while under the influence of ‘The Dark Side’ and McDonald’s fries. However, there WAS a certain blonde Science Fiction hero I idolized…
Flash Gordon. Quarterback. New York Jets.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way, first: FLASH GORDON (1980) is a ridiculous movie that is equal parts laughable and absurd. Quite infamously, there were numerous production problems for a movie that had an improvised ending… and, yet, there is something so perfect about every single frame.
Flying blind on a rocket-cycle?!
On its own, FLASH GORDON probably wouldn’t be remarkable. Based on the King Features comic strip that debuted in 1934, the Lorenzo Semple-screenplay was intentionally modelled after the campy style of the ’60s BATMAN TV series (that also saw Semple serve as a writer). Yes, there is a considerable amount of gaudy charm attached to — and dripping from — the final product, but it just shouldn’t work. And it probably only does because of the music.
With all respect given to the brilliance that is Prince’s PURPLE RAIN, the Queen score for FLASH is, arguably, the greatest soundtrack in movie history (yes… ROCKY IV included). In all seriousness, I hope the unlucky bastard in charge of my funeral services is smart enough to blast the fuck out of this album while everybody enjoys their rum cocktails and platters of pigs-n-blankets.
In spite (and because) of it’s overwhelming goofiness, I sincerely love FLASH GORDON. Sam J. Jones may have been nominated for a Golden Raspberry Worst Actor Award (losing to Neil Diamond’s performance in THE JAZZ SINGER), but, to this day, I can’t feel anything but happiness while watching one of the most personally influential movies of my childhood.
We all need our own hero.
We all need our own FLASH.
5 out of 5 Beers