Queens of the Space Age
FLASH GORDON 25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION
Dir: Mike Hodges
Cast: Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Max Von Sydow
Release Date: 10th October 2005
Flash – Ahh Ahhh… he’s a miracle, all right. Somehow a filmmaker with a reputation for brooding thrillers (Hodges, Get Carter), stuck with a wooden plank-like leading man (the woeful Jones) fashioned the cheekiest sci-fi comic-book space camp in the galaxy.
US quarterback Flash’s attempts to save the earth from evil Ming the Merciless are a non-stop, tongue-in-cheek carnival of deliriously garish sets and costumes, cheap and cheerful special effects and full-blooded support from Von Sydow, Timothy Dalton (never this much fun as Bond) and the irrepressible Brian “Boom-Boom” Blessed. Not to forget Queen’s typically understated score or the outrageous eroticism of Ornella Muti’s Princess Aura, the inspiration for countless schoolboys’ damp mattresses. Don’t expect 2001 or even Star Wars and Flash – ahh ahhh – is for every one of us.
Extras: Mike Hodges Interview & Audio Commentary; Brian Blessed Audio Commentary; Photo Slideshow; Trailer; Episode of 1940s serial ‘Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe’
Yes, souped-up Dolby Digital 5.1 audio is welcome; likewise the nostalgic inclusion of an episode from the original '40s serial starring former Olympic swimming champ ‘Buster’ Crabbe. And director Mike Hodges is a genial, informative presence in both his commentary and half-hour career retrospective interview. But there’s only one reason most Gordon fans will flash the cash for this DVD and he’s got six-foot wings, a privet-hedge beard and a bellowing laugh that could sink battleships.
Yes, the great Brian Blessed, aka Prince Vultan of the Hawkmen, gets his own audio commentary here and it’s barely enough to contain his unbridled gusto – he rates the film “a masterpiece” – gleefully chortling and repeatedly re-quoting his own lines, particularly the now-legendary “Gordon’s alive?!” Between guffaws he somehow squeezes in great on-set titbits, including the fact that he exuberantly added his own sound effects when filming the final attack sequence, until the crew reminded him they’d add them in post-production. “I never felt such a tit” confides Brian. For which we’re all truly Blessed.
Film: * * * * (four stars) Extras: * * * * (four stars)