Movie Review – Flash Gordon: Savior of the Universe (1980)

Cult Classics

 I love the cult movies. The movies that really really sucked in the theatres and that the critics hated. Flash Gordon is a great example of such a movie. It is the fun kind of ‘pointy-shoulder’ camp science fiction. The tongue-in-cheek humor and the over the top acting makes this a fun movie to watch.

"Fly my hawkmen!"
"Fly my hawkmen!"
Deliciously evil
Deliciously evil
"Barbie" and "Ken" together again.
"Barbie" and "Ken" together again.

The whole movie is highly unlikely in the logic department, but who cares. It’s a fun movie. You have actors like Brian Blessed and Max Von Sydow as Prince Vultan and Emperor Ming respectively who play their roles over the top and look like they are having fun.

Sam J. Jones and Melody Anderson as Flash Gordon and Dale Arden are so wooden they are a blast to watch. Their dialog is so ridiculous it’s funny. The fact that they seem to be so serious about it makes it even funnier. “Flash, I love you but we only have 14 hours to save the earth!” Watching the movie it’s funny to see a travel agent who apparently is a good shot as well as a fighter when she isn’t playing the air-head damsel in distress. Jones seems unlikely as a football player and not terribly bright but he obviously means well and does stick to his goal. A bit of trivia I find amusing, Jones (a former Playgirl centerfold June 1975) is naturally a brunette. Anderson is normally blond but for this movie she’s a brunette.

The many races of Mongo
The many races of Mongo
Pointy Shoulder fashion shots.
Pointy Shoulder fashion shots.
The girls of Mongo
The girls of Mongo

If you are like me and love costumes this movie is rich with some many wonderful designs. Some are so tight that it’s amazing they can move, much less breathe. Others are too impractical for words with all flowing material and the low necklines. I would love to have them in my closet along with the body that could wear them.

I enjoy all the different environments of the different ‘moons’ of Mongo. From misty forests to frozen glaciers to almost anything in between, and the races that populate them are equally fascinating. Of course the physics involved for all these moons and the environments to hang around the planet Mongo (which is a barren desert) boggles the mind, but you just have to go with it. If you question it too much you won’t enjoy it.

The happy couple.
The happy couple.

Additional fun is wonderfully handsome Timothy Dalton as Prince Barin (a future James Bond) who plays his role with deadly seriousness and the exotically gorgeous Ornella Muti as Princess Aura, Ming’s daughter. There is a definite chemistry between the characters that makes their relationship likely.

All in all a great campy fun movie in which to pass the time. The world is a less serious and depressing place after watching this movie. I highly recommend it for cult movie fan’s collection.

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