Flash Gordon

Barbarella filmed with the grandiosity of Star Wars.

This was faithful to the comics its based on and doesn’t attempt to make any kind of gritty reboot or adaptation to the material. It’s straight camp stuff, the effects are not realistic, there’s a lot of primary colours, spandex, and stupid helmets.

The soundtrack from Queen helps selling the archaic space opera feeling. Soundtrack might be too much, it’s only a single song the repeats whenever the plot requires “epic” scenes of the hero doing heroic mook massacres.

It opens with Flash, All-American Hero, entering a plane where he meets Dale Arden, the reporter afraid of flying. The hero gets caught in a storm and crash lands his plane into a barn where the mad scientist lives. That scientist predicted someone would steal the moon or something, and he has a plan to take the fight to SPAAAACE with his home-grown Saturn V rocket.

He tricks the hero and Dale to enter the rocket, then they go to Mongo, an alternate universe ruled by the Ming, a Red of Chinese variety. In this place the white men is vassal to the head honcho, a Chinese mandarin caricature. Not even the Negro can resist in this land, since the only black dude dies in the first minutes.

Ming has a bunch of mooks and a few lieutenants, but all conspire against him, kept in check by the Stasi.

This even includes his daughter, jailbait that sleeps around with everyone, including her own father.

The Stasi consists of his right-hand man and the Iron Lady, who keeps ordering mooks to kill Flash, unsuccessfully. When Flash turns out to be alive, they react with surprise.

There’s also sub-kingdoms divided by race. The Hawkmen rule the air, and the Robin Hoodlums rule the swamps.

All is good in the end, since Robin Hoodlum leads a coup to overthrow the dictator, and includes his daughter as the spoils of war.

Max von Sydow plays a Fu Manchu caricature. BRIAN BLESSED plays himself, currently leading the Hawkmen, and Timothy Dalton plays the leader of a merry gang of Robin Hoodlums. Sam Jones who is now a bodyguard for rich people in Mexico plays the All-American quarterback who falls for the intrepid reporter played by Melody Anderson, which in turn is a trained therapist.


This is my place for ramblings about sequences of images that exploit the human visual limitation know as persistence of vision.

Ephemera of Vision