21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 14 January 2004
What can you say? Max von Sydow having a blast; Sam 'J' Jones looking so wooden he should be varnished and sponsored by Ronseal; Ornella Muti in the most fantastically figure-hugging spandex, Peter Wyngarde in high camp mode as General Klytus. And then there's Brian Blessed, immortalised forever with acting so over the top that he STILL hasn't landed, twenty-seven years later.
These things alone should make this film a cult classic, but then add the wonderful, art-deco visuals to complete the B-movie look and a Queen soundtrack to die for and you have something peerless and just so much fun.
They don't make films like this now, more's the pity.
44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
Loved this film when I was a kid, and now that I've kids of my own - I still love it !
Telling the story of Flash Gordon's trip to Mongo to try and rescue Earth for the wicked designs of Ming the Merciless : Ruler of the Universe.
This film is over the top in all departments : from Brian Blessed's brilliantly loud Vultan, through the cheesy sets and effects, to the wonderfully outlandish costumes.
While not Academy Award material, it is a fun film, and at the end of the day, that's all that matters.
Not a big fan of extras and commentaries on DVD's - normally I'll go for a standard edition over a 'Special' edition every time, but not this time. Brian Blessed's commentary is fantastic. He is so passionate and enthusiastic - must be listened to.
75 of 78 people found the following review helpful
on 3 October 2005
You can say what you like about Flash Gordon. You can say it's a camp, over-saturated cheeseball of a movie that rips spectacularly badly from the original Star Wars (even though Star Wars is partly based on the old Flash Gordon serials of the '40s). You can say that Sam Jones couldn't act his way out of a paper bag. But there's no denying how brilliant it is for these reasons!
And what about the unforgettable performances from Brian "Gordon's alive!!" Blessed and Max Von Sydow camping it up big time as Ming the Merciless, not to mention great turns by Topol as Dr. Zarkov and Timothy Dalton as 'that smarmy prince guy'.
But there is one thing that really steals this movie, and that's the soundtrack by Queen! 'Flash! Aaaaah! Saviour of the universe!'. This is a movie that everyone must see in their life at some point.
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on 13 October 2005
I already had this on DVD but purchased the special edition for the extras. The Brian Blessed commentary is as you would expect,OTT and full of love and enthusiasm for this classic movie. The best for me though is the director Mike Hodge's commentary as he hardly pauses for breath the whole movie and talks us through each scene and tells us how it was done etc etc etc. As for the movie itself it really works thanks to the primitive special effects and gaudy set design. As a hero Flash doesnt really do much and Timothy Dalton (very good here) probably knocks off more bad guys than our eponymous lead, but with excellent support from Blessed and co. it doesnt matter too much. Max von Sydow is an excellent Ming although for me he isnt in enough scenes and my personal favourite is when the evil one offers our hero a kingdom, its a scene ripped straight from the comic books. The picture quality is much the same as the original dvd but the sound has really been overhauled and Queens blazing tracks over the final few reels of film have sounded better. An excellent dvd and probably the best package of this film released since it appeared in 1980.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 7 September 2010
The film itself gets 5 stars from me everytime. But alas, the transfer is simply not worth it and the U.S. release is far superior in quality.
I purchased the Steelbook so that I would have the nice container to display in my film collection, I also have the previous DVD Steelbook release that contains the joyous commentary by Brian Blessed which is absent from both the U.S. and U.K. Blu Ray. The extras were skimpy on both Blu Ray versions but the U.S. transfer is far superior in detail and grain.
Buy the U.K. Steelbook for the case, but purchase the U.S. Universal release for the quality presentation.
The Queen CD that came with the U.K. Steelbook was nice, but I already own it.
59 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on 3 June 2003
Gordon's Alive. Of course he is, and Brian Blessed's wearing a nappy and cardboard wings so you'd better take him seriously. Timothy Dalton looks embarrassed to be there, and Flash and Dale are so wooden you could put nails in them. But so what. The music's ace, Ming's really rotten, his daughter's really fit, and Peter Duncan out of Blue Peter gets killed by a tree beast.
Flash, Flash, we love you, but we only have fourteen hours to save the Earth. Buy it. You'll love it.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 20 April 2009
I bought this item for my 6 year old son as I remember enjoying it from my childhood. He loves it! The acting is cheesy but the one liners are funny which makes it enjoyable for young and old. A good all round family movie especially those who loves the superhero type.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 16 January 2002
That joke always seems to go through my mind: Max Von Sydow and Ingmar Bergman having this conversation where Bergman invites him to be in "Fanny and Alexander," and Sydow looks at him with that irrevocable silence of his, that all-consuming dignity and intense complexity which he is the master of, which Bergman knows, and that's why he was a Bergman man, and finally, Max says, "Forget it, I'm having fun,(in Hollywood)" and what do you say to a man who's played everyone from Jesus Christ to Ming the Merciless(and is very tall)? You say okay and deal with it.
Of course the conversation probably never happened but the point is, fans of this movie echo that sentiment of Sydow's when they speak to none fans. All my fellow fans, do not love this movie in fear any longer. Besides, camp is cool. I still remember being six years old and seeing the awesome cardboard cutout movie stand for Flash Gordon with all the hawkmen as I walked in the theater. If only I could get a good one at e-bay! I had no idea my favorite band, Queen would be singing and playing. Bicycle Race was my favorite song because I wanted a bike.
I mean, where else can you get a sci-fi movie where one of the major best scenes involves the Hero who is a football player for the New York Jets who likes to read science books and fly in his spare time and who kicks the bad guys butts playing his own game! The football game in the court of Ming where King Vultan hits the bad guys on the head when no one's looking and the small guys blast the bad guys in the package is a classic! All the while Queen is playing! Yeah! Bring it on!
When movies like Flash Gordon are made -- movies based on a plot as intense and complicated and crazy campy as comic books are, they usually are either entertaining as all get-out or laughably bad.
Then there are some that rise above, like the first Superman and Batman movies, that even have good acting. (As a side note I am really hoping that the Wonder Woman Movie in the works will not be messed up.) Flash Gordon is in the category of good entertainment with a few good plots and morals thrown in for good measure just like any comic book.
I think some of the division between people who watch the movie is like that of people who read DC vs. Marvel and the other way around. If you like the X-men and Superman you're more likely to like Flash Gordon then someone who's all DC or all Marvel, but Marvel readers will probably like the realistic, rounded villains like Princess Aura, Vultan and Barron. The old school DC readers will love the dominating evil of Ming. Of course those are just generalizations.
The actors are who they are -- Sam Jones really isn't bad, he's trying and earnest, but now that I'm older while I know the actress playing Dale Arden says and does things that while they were typical for the time for a comic book heroine, I do see what my husband and sister mean by the fact she comes across a bit glib compared to Margot Kidder as Lois Lane in Superman. Princess Aura (Ornella Muti) is one of the first villains who wasn't totally horrible -- in fact, she's very human as she comes to realize. For Prisoner Fans don't miss one of the number 2's as the evil-make-your-skin-crawl-Clytus. Which #2? I'd tell you, but, answers are a burden to oneself! ;)
I also really have always loved the fact, that, just as the theme song says, "Flash, just a man, with a man's courage," is what makes this movie awesome. And all those awesome flying hawkmen before computer graphics! For you guys, a message: my sister says she wants to tell you as much you like Ornella, the movie wouldn't be the same without Sam Jones in his patent leather short-shorts. Things I wouldn't want to miss:
Those stylish opening credits: A montage from the comics with music from Queen with Mercury at his best.
The laser crossbow the swamp men use! Woe! The stunning psychedelic panoramics as Flash travels from world to world. Topol (Fiddler on the roof) as a mad scientist who is not mad at all - and he likes the Beatles;)! Ming's power ring. For fans of the movie: my favorite gaff: How Flash seems to appear in a new shirt or completely different outfit and you don't remember him changing. HMMM. Great kitschy stuff. This is a fun movie and it does make you think about uniting people of all kinds -- WITH GREAT MUSIC! (my husband says not everyone likes Queen - my pint - that's right pint, not point, - is that it is Queen).
THE SHOW MUST GO ON!
If you go to the USA Amazon, the DVD is worth it over the video. It's wide screen so you see the swamp in all it's green glory, like you haven't since you first saw the movie. The Hawkmen in flight, especially the "THANKS FLASH" at the end never looked so great! And Queen never sounded so great! I've been waiting along time for this, and I don't mind that it doesn't have commentary, yet. The sound and awesome picture quality have me singing,"Go Flash! Go!"
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 15 September 2004
Earth is under attack by a comic-book villain. Governments refuse to believe Dr Zarkoff, the one scientist who understands what's happening. Who will save us? The all American football star and comic-book hero, Flash Gordon is on the job! He saves the girl, teaches the hopeless, divided and conquered races of Mongo about team-work and, together, they sort out the bad guys of Ming's evil empire. From the time he messed with Flash and tried to molest Flash's girl, the days of Ming the Merciless were numbered.
It's tacky, colourful, fast, loud and a lot of fun. The inside of Ming's palace looks like a combination of a brothel and a bingo hall and Ming (Max Von Sydow) is made up to look like the madam (with more than the usual amount of facial hair for a lady). The costumes are dazzling and extravagant - even when Flash is about to be executed and wearing nothing but a minimal pair of shorts, they're 'mighty' shorts, fit for a hero. Prince Vultan and his hawk men are the best. If only Daedalus and Icarus had made their wings out of papier mâché like the bird men of Mongo, instead of wax and feathers, Icarus might have made it. Brian Blessed plays the role of Vultan and even though he's dressed like a chicken, he reminded me of every other role I've ever seen him play: Augustus in 'I Claudius', Edmund's dad (King Richard IV) in the first 'Black Adder', Spiro in 'My Family and other Animals' - or just being himself, giving an interview whilst tramping up a mountain. I haven't seen the new film: 'Alexander' yet but I bet Leonidas will be easily recognisable in every particular as Brian Blessed - and none the worse for that. The film is still one of my favourites after over 20 years and I hadn't realized until buying the DVD that Peter Wyngarde (that fop from the 70's series 'Jason King') plays the dreaded Klytus.
I've read some scathing reviews of this film - not here, where the reviewers know a good thing when they see it - but elsewhere. The actors are accused of being wooden or overacting and the film of being 'overblown'. It's hard to understand how anyone could fail to see the humour, love the music and generally enjoy this film, but those people do exist. So I recommend this film to people who have a well developed sense of humour and a healthy capacity for enjoyment.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 14 March 2012
What a treat! I love my movies but for years now the fun seems to have gone from them and formulaic safe scripts and productions abound. This might not be Casablanca but it feels like some of it was made up as they went along and almost didn't get made in the first place as the big cheeses all fell out and in the end Mike Hodges picked it up basically because his teenage sons egged him on. Thank goodness they did.
Really, unless you want to get all analytical and film criticy about it, what's not to like? It's a fun ride. The whole thing looks like a brightly coloured living comic strip, is hilariously over the top, hammier than a hammy thing, moves from scene to scene (and classic sci fi costume to costume) without delay: And oh yes - there's also THAT soundtrack.
I was also surprised that the Blu ray made such a huge difference. It looks fab.
Where else can you see National Cheer Leader Brian Blessed, Crystal Maze and Rocky Horror's Richard O Brien, James Bond's Timothy Dalton and former Chief Scout Peter "Spare me from The Madness" Duncan.
Get yourself and some mates a big cold beer; turn the sound right up, cheer for our hero and heroine, boo and hiss at those baddies 'til you can boo and hiss no more; and try not to be too distracted by Ornella "Oh NO! Not the BORE worms!" Muti giving the hottest of sizzlingly hot performances.
You guessed. We enjoyed it.