It’s time to look at the legendary Flash Gordon movie. This is definitely a retro sci-fi film that pretty much everyone has heard of at this point. It’s definitely a pretty good movie that’s aged pretty well. Despite the film mainly having a light tone some parts do get pretty dark which is that rare back and forth you don’t see as much nowadays. I’m definitely cool with that, but basically Flash Gordon really gets around and tackles the sci-fi genre from all sides.
The film starts with Flash and Dale on a flight. Unfortunately their plane goes down thanks to some fire hail and a weird storm that came out of nowhere. They meet up with a crazy scientist named Zarkov and he forces them into a ship with him as the 3 head towards the planet of the invading alien race. The guy definitely is crazy and a villain as he forced them in, but I suppose at the very least you do have to give him some props for actually being right here. It all was an invasion and all those years he was right for worrying about it. No excuse though. Now these 3 unlikely heroes have to save the world or die trying!
Flash is definitely a fun hero. He’s basically the classic lead you would expect from a classic action film. He may not have any professional experience, but he’s got natural leadership skills and is quick on his feet. The scene of him using football skills to take on the villains was definitely pretty fun. The guy’s confident and also nice to a fault. If anything you may get frustrated with how forgiving he can be at times, but that’s just how he rolls. Flash is here to save everyone and he’s quick to put his life on the line to help his friends and even total strangers.
Then we’ve got the heroine Dale. She’s also got a strict moral code that she lives by which she refuses to break. I do like when heroes have an honor code and the same goes for villains, but at the same time I do think she put herself in a pretty bad spot right from the start. Why promise the villain that you won’t try anything if you know that he’s gonna break his promise? Not going through with the poison plan was a bit iffy. Still, I guess Dale was a good character.
Then you’ve got Zarkov. He’s pretty strong willed and certainly has the deepest voice of the cast. That makes his scenes pretty fun even if the character himself can’t quite keep up with the rest. You can’t really forget that everyone’s in trouble because of him. He also is directly responsible for Flash losing round 1 so if he hadn’t made that mistake the heroes may have won a whole lot sooner than they did.
Next up is Aura who is the daughter of the main villain. Unlike Ming, she isn’t pure evil though. It may not be accurate to call her a pure hero at first as she saves Flash for her own reasons, but at the very least she doesn’t like his cruel methods. She definitely suffers the most from all the characters though and you’ll feel pretty bad for her during the various scenes. Her moments are the only parts where the film does tend to get pretty dark. Considering how much work she did to help the heroes I would have liked for her to have had a bit of a happier route. The torture scene was particularly brutal.
The villains definitely aren’t quite as solid as the villains. You’ve got Klytus who is Ming’s right hand man. He just wants to be with Aura though so that doesn’t make for the greatest villain motivation. He’s just petty and you can’t root for a villain like that. Then you’ve got Barin who likes tricking Klytus and not following his orders. This makes him look even worse to be honest. She’s not bad, but doesn’t really have much of a role next to the others.
Ming is the main villain and he’s one of those classic spoiled kings who can’t really fight much. He has a pretty OP ring which helps him fight a bit, but beyond that he is dependent on his allies. Considering that all of his allies are constantly looking for an excuse to betray him the guy can’t rest easy. In particular there are 2 generals who are always rebellious. First is Kala who doesn’t like Ming, but he’s too scared to do anything. He spends most of the film trying to destroy Flash and grumbling a lot before finally being forced on board. Likewise for Vultan who talks a big game but is too scared of Ming to do anything.
Actually maybe I should take that back because all of the villains in this film seem to be cowards. They probably wouldn’t even try betraying Ming if there was any chance of them getting caught. No wonder he enjoyed such a long stint as the leader. Good thing Flash came when he did eh?
The special effects have definitely aged pretty well. The space battles are a lot of fun and it feels like a scene from Star Wars. The music here is definitely pretty fun. The classic Flash song definitely pops up a lot and the timing is pretty solid. At one point the heroine asks rhetorically who could possible save them and then the song starts with the lyric “FLASH!!!” as he shows up in a meanwhile scene. The song loves to keep on repeating that lyric in particular so expect to hear it quite a lot as the film goes on.
In general the writing is pretty solid here as well. The character cast may not be amazing for the most part, but Flash and Aura are really all you need. The film’s pacing is pretty quick. It’s a long movie, but it doesn’t drag on. The romance may not be particularly solid, but it doesn’t play a big role in the film. It’s just kind of there to check off the box.
The film does end with a pretty cool cliffhanger as well. I imagine it probably won’t ever be resolved, but it was still neat to see. I think a nostalgia sequel could actually do pretty good so the film companies should definitely think about it. It may be hard to get a scene quite as cool as Flash using Football to take down the villains, but it’s worth the attempt.
Overall, Flash Gordon is a pretty good sci-fi film that holds up well. Any character who isn’t Flash will probably annoy you at times, but he puts them in their place. The film’s light, but can get a bit violent at times like in Flash’s spike battle. It’s really a film that can change elements at any given time which is pretty cool. If you haven’t seen this film yet then I would recommend checking it out. Just remember that Aura could have left at any time, but chose to be a hero and paid the price. She proved her heroism more than any other character except for Flash.