Alex Raymond created the Flash Gordon character 80 years ago, launching a comic strip that ran — in one form or another – for almost 70 years until the early aughts. There were also three films made in the late 30s and early 40s and a handful of live action and animated television projects that have dotted the landscape for the last 60 years, but despite all of that history, I’m hung up on the campy 1980s live action film and so are you, and that’s why we’re likely going to hate the news that the Flash Gordon reboot now has a pair of shiny new writers (literally), bringing J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay aboard to put words in Ming the Merciless’ mouth.
Gordon’s alive? Unfortunately, yes.
I’m not the guy who reflexively hates reboots, but I have to make an exception here. Let’s call this the Clash of the Titans rule.
You can’t resist the charms of the original Clash, it is the perfect Saturday afternoon movie — occasionally and unintentionally giggle inducing, a bit ridiculous, and wonderfully epic with Ray Harryhausen’s amazing (and dated) practical effects. Of course, of course, a remake could never be what the original was, but what we got clearly had no interest in preserving anything but the basic elements of the story and in doing that, it stripped out the soul of the thing, leaving a loud, over-long and over-slick husk.
Flash Gordon illicits some of the same feels as Clash does. Written by Batman TV series creator Lorenzo Semple Jr. (who recently passed away) and directed by Mike Hodges, the Sam Jones/Max von Sydow starring fantasy space adventure isn’t afraid to have fun.
I like dark and gritty hero movies as much as the next fan, but everything needs contrast. When I watch Flash Gordon or Superman, I enjoy the escape. It’s nice that there are movies that didn’t feel a need to ground themselves in the real world. These are miracles of imagination and fantasy, let them be un-tethered from such a sour place as the real world so that we can also be un-tethered for a couple of hours.
Maybe it’s unfair to think that this new Flash Gordon movie will (if it actually sees the light of day, this is just the latest attempt to take a whack) stay far away from the 1981 version, but the track record for these kinds of movies isn’t great.
Oh well, at least we’ll always have Ted.
Source: Slash Film