Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Short Attention Span Review: Flash Gordon (1980)

Short Attention Span Review: Flash Gordon (1980)

I don't think I can be objective here, but maybe I don't need to be.  I don't really know, to be completely honest with you  You see, I'm not sure that there is a greater paradox in the realm of the motion picture than Flash Gordon. It is entirely possible that this is a "so bad it's good" sort of movie.  There are definitely a few bits at the very least that would have wound up on the cutting room floor if the powers that be were looking to create a genuine classic with this brazen affair.  However, there is also a sense of majesty paired with some splendid entertainment value that elevates this colorful and quixotic gem.  In terms of sheer enjoyment, it is hard to top, and despite some clunky performances and a few goofy moments courtesy of the FX or the plotting, it does many things amazingly well.  The color palette is a true splendor, and the score is a genuine masterpiece courtesy of Queen, bolstered by a main theme that is nothing short of sheer perfection.  The excitement is non-stop, and the stakes are incredibly high.  The heroes are lovable and the villains are despicable, and anyone who doesn't smile while they partake of this feast for the senses is dead inside.  And yet there are those wooden performances and those moments where you can't quite tell if the filmmakers are going for camp or simply missing the mark by a mile. It is cheeky.  It is downright silly.  And somewhere, deep down inside, your inner critic is bound to feel that the material is beneath you.  But then it soars and despite your misgivings, you find yourself being blown away by all the energy and grandeur, and somehow the sappy plot gets under your skin.  Then you're actually moved by this barrage of sight and sound that is a lot like a puppy: awkward, a little smelly, and 100% lovable.  It's Flash Gordon.  It could be terrible.  It could be the greatest sci-fi adventure of all time.  You're free to make your own call, but as for me, . . . well, it's the first movie I really remember seeing, at a drive-in no less.  I have loved it for as long as I have loved the movies.  Yes, it's true--I like Flash as much as Mark Wahlberg and Ted do.  Maybe more.

Final Grade: A

It may be of the "so bad it's good" variety.  It may be totally legendary.  I'm honestly not sure which is the right answer, but  given our history I'm going to give Flash Gordon the benefit of the doubt here.

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