4-Color to 35-Millimeter: Flash Gordon (1980) and Flash Gordon (2007)


Flash Gordon was one of the most popular comic strips of the 20th century. Several different versions have been made for the screen, including two live-action movies: a 1980 feature film starring Sam J. Jones and a 2007 pilot for a TV series starring Eric Johnson. Both look cheap and cheesy, though for the former that’s a feature, and for the latter a bug. The great superhero rewatch cries out, “Flash–ah-ahhhhhh!”

An excerpt:

The biggest problem with this pilot movie, though, is one that would dog the TV show throughout its run, and by the time they fixed it, it was far too late: the show keeps going back to Earth. After spending the beginning of the second half with Flash and Dale on Mongo, getting captured, being interrogated, playing word games with Ming, being made into concubines, and so on, to have them then come back to Earth and deal with Flash’s Daddy issues and Dale’s relationship issues and other mundane concerns is a massive comedown because, well, those concerns are incredibly mundane, and can’t compare to visiting another friggin planet. Nobody wants to watch a Flash Gordon story that takes place in a made-up suburb, they want it to take place on Mongo.

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