As Alanis Morisette sang, “Isn’t it Ironic,” I did not know that they were coming out with a brand new Remastered Flash Gordon DVD until a few days after I had finished watching my other Flash Gordon DVD. Every since Sci-Fi has been pounding the upcoming Flash Gordon television series into my brain, I’ve had a hankering to revisit the classic 1980s film, so I ended up watching it about 4 times in the last month and it is still one of my top 20 favorite films of all time – I watch it at least once or twice a year. It’s the perfect blend of Camp, Sci-Fi, Classic Villain, and of course the incredible Queen Soundtrack. This film has it all. You would have to be a heartless bastard to not enjoy this flick.
How can you not like Max von Sydow’s Ming The Merciless. Or how about that classic wedding, it cracks me up every time. “Do you Ming the Merciless, take Dale Arden for better or worse,” he looks at the minister and who cowers in fear, “Or until you get tired of her blast her into space.” Ming’s response, “Of the hour, yes.”
The film contained so many memorable moments. How about the goofy football scene in the Palace where Flash (Sam J. Jones) takes on Ming’s troupes while Prince Barin ( A very young and yummy looking Timothy Dalton) looks on and Dale cheers (Melody Anderson). Flash Gordon is one of those milestone 80s kitch films that you have to see. The special effects still hold up all these years later – I’m not saying they are not fake looking or look like something done from George Lucas but they work really well within the context of this film.
And the costumes and gaudy velvet red colors of Ming’s Palace just screams cheesy late 70s disco, or maybe even 70s porn (not that I’ve seen any) but it works. Did I mention the incredible Queen Soundtrack that is the glue that pulls everything together? I love this film. I can’t get the sound of “Flash, ahaaaa!!! Savior of the Universe,” out of my head. I think I’ll go watch it again tonight.
I have to say I was a little disappointed in the Flash Gordon Savior of the Universe Edition DVD. The highlight of this new release is an all new Digital Remastered of the film and full 5.1 Surround Sound, so the steady drum beat really thumps now. The picture is so clean and crisp that it also brings out some of the graininess of the original source material. From the naked eye, it’s clear this transfer is better than the previous DVD, but my disappointment was that the letter box aspect ratio didn’t seem to change much. But I would still give the improved picture quality high marks it looks really good on my 32-inch Vizio on my Upscaled DVD Player.
This new DVD is pretty light on features, it includes a short feature where Alex Ross (He’s a middle aged ball guy! I always pictured him as some long-haired hippy type) droning on about how Flash Gordon affected him, there’s a nice featurette featuring Lorenzo Semple, Jr. who wrote the screenplay. And for me the best part of the extra’s package was a 15 minute clip of the original 1933 Buster Keaton Serial. And the picture quality on this was amazingly sharp and clear. It looked as if it could have been filmed recently, that’s how clean it was.
But it was disappointing that there were no director’s commentaries (which I rarely listen to anyway) but it would have been nice to have a 20 or 30 minute feature with the original cast talking about the film. It would have been cool to see what Sam Jones, Timothy Dalton look like today.
Picture Quality – A-
Audio Quality – A
Features – B
Movie Grade A
[b]Final Grade – A-[/b]
EM DVD Review
[b]By Michelle Alexandria[/b]
Originally Posted 8/6/07