Friday, March 1, 2013

Sci-Fi Week: Flash Gordon

Hidey ho folks and welcome to Day 5 of Sci-Fi Week and this fine day we end on a Dino de Laurentiis production of which was a huge staple in science fiction and scifi fantasy.   What other film has a Bond, a Bond villain and Ornella Muti in basically spandex?   What other film can give you cheesy lines like,”Flying blind on a rocket cycle,” or “Lying bitch.”   So strap yourselves in, prep your preflight and may the gods have mercy.   This is Flash Gordon.
Space girls are easy...heh.

Spoiler’s alive??!!!

Based primarily on the 1934 comic strip created by Alex Raymond our film opens with booming narrative between two malicious powers on deciding what to do with the Earth.   His excellency, Emperor Ming (Max Von Sydow of The Exorcist, Conan the Barbarian, Judge Dredd, Minority Report and Shutter Island) amuses himself with tormenting Earth with manipulations of nature elements and disasters.    On Earth, New York Jets football hero Flash Gordon (Sam J. Jones of 10, My Chauffeur, Jane and the Lost City, Black Scorpion, Gangland, Revamped and Redemption) starts getting all flirty flirty with this leggy travel agent journalist Dale Arden (Melody Anderson of Dead & Buried, Manimal, Firewalker and Jake and the Fatman) and she plays hard to get.  Better to catch up with the pilots of this tiny two prop Cessna.   Little idle chat with the pilots and next thing you know the pilots are atomized by freak lightning.  No ifs ands or buts about it, they just vanish, leaving Flash to crash land the plane to safety.  Oh folks this will be a familiar theme as he seems to crash land everything he flies.   Dale and Flash are none worse for wear as they encounter NASA disavowed scientist Dr. Zarkov (Topol of Sallah, El Dorado, Fiddler on the Roof, The Public Eye, For Your Eyes Only and The Winds of War) whose building they crashed into.  He explains that he is concerned about the weather and assures them he has a phone to contact whomever they need.  Moments later he kidnaps them both on a rocket ship of his design to encounter whoever is wreaking havoc on the planet.  Travelled through almost a completely different galaxy our heroes arrive at the less that hospitable Mongo.  Nice place to visit but who wants to live there?  A bit like Vegas in that regards.  
Ming or the Mandarin? Who can say.

The intrepid trio is brought before the Royal Court and it will be in Ming’s law what to do with the pathetic Earthlings. Ming chooses to have Dale for…well pleasure.  Flash bowls over 12 of Ming’s men, in an impromptu Football tacklings and chucks these green cylinders at the soldiers, we get a fairly kick ass theme music going and then…Zarkov, typical geek throws like a retarded ape and clocks Flash in the coconut by accident.  Flash is scheduled to be executed but Ming’s daughter Aura (Ornella Muti of Tales of Ordinary Madness, Oscar, An Amazing Couple and Postcards from Rome) has the hots for Flash and asks to keep him as her…pleasure pet?   You get a Gorrean feel here in Mongo.   Our party is split up as Dale is prepped for…pleasure, Zarkov is to be mind wiped and Flash sent to death.  I tell you Ming can delegate his work load.  

And now a few points of interest about the film.   The airfield scenes at the beginning of the film, though set in America was actually shot in Scotland, Dino De Laurentiis was hoping Federico Fellini (La Strada, 8 1/2, La Dolce Vita and Juliet of the Spirits) would have directed the film given his involvement in the comic strip during WWII and Timothy Dalton looked good in a Errol Flynn mustache.   Yes the effects are blue screened and composited in but all in all this purposely campy film holds a place near and dear in my heart.

So drink after all this?  Oh, yeah.