REVIEW: FLASH GORDON (2007): THE COMPLETE SERIES

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CAST

Eric Johnson (Smallville)
Gina Holden (Final Destination 3)
Karen Cliche (Mutant X)
Jody Racicot (Earth: Final COnflict)
John Ralston (The LIzzie Borden Chronicles)
Jonathan Walker (V 2009)
Anna Van Hooft (Arrow)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Giles Panton (Human Target)
Panou (Horns)
Carmen Moore (Andromeda)
Jill Teed (X-men 2)
Bruce Dawson (Izombie)
Carrie Genzel (Stargate SG.1)
Andee Frizzell (Stargate: Atlantis)
Christine Willes (Dead Like Me)
Steve Bacic (Blade: The Series)
Sam J. Jones (Flash Gordon (1980)
Ona Grauer (Stargate Universe)
Don S. Davis (Stargate SG.1)
John Novak (Wishmaster 3 & 4)
Meghan Ory (Dark Angel)
Craig Stanghetta (Smallville)
Jody Thompson (Kindergarten Cop 2)

The series was loosely based on the comic strip of the same name and incorporated elements from several previous adaptations, following the adventures of Steven “Flash” Gordon (Eric Johnson), a twenty-five-year-old who lives with his mother and whose scientist father was lost in a mysterious accident when Flash was 13 years old. Flash’s ex-girlfriend, Dale Arden (Gina Holden), is a television news reporter and is engaged to police detective Joe Wylee. They introduce Gordons’ eccentric former assistant, Hans Zarkov (Jody Racicot), when rifts in space appear, allowing travel between Earth and the planet Mongo.
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Mongo is ruled by the ruthless dictator Ming (John Ralston), who controls “Source Water”, the only source of safe drinking water on Mongo. Unlike the previous adaptations, he is not normally called “the Merciless” and is instead called “Benevolent Father”, though he is still called “the Merciless” in closed circles. He also exhibits the traits of modern, media-savvy dictators, rather than the more simplistic, stereotypically evil characterization of earlier incarnations.[1] Also, unlike previous depictions, Ming resembles a blond Caucasian human, rather than a bald East Asian man. Ming has a daughter, Princess Aura (Anna van Hooft), who is disturbed by her father’s brutality. The series adds a new non-Terran character, Baylin (Karen Cliche), a bounty hunter from Mongo. She finds herself trapped on Earth and becomes a comrade of Flash, Dale and Zarkov and their guide to Mongo and its inhabitants.
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The peoples of Mongo live in “cantons”, tribal groups that echo the animal-human hybrids of the original comic strip. The cantons include the Verdan (based on Prince Barin’s forest-dwelling people from the strip), the Turin (based on the strip’s Lion Men), the Dactyls (the series’ version of the strip’s Hawkmen), the Omadrians (women who create powerful medicines), the Frigians (who live in the frozen wastelands), the Tritons (who live beneath the ocean), and the Zurn (painted blue led by Queen Azura). There is also another group known as the Deviates, mutants whose ancestors drank “Grey Water” (toxic water) to survive. The Deviates are led by Terek, their unofficial king (and Aura’s brother) and are distrusted by almost everyone.
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On April 3, 2008, it was announced that Flash Gordon was canceled

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So this wasn’t the best sci-fi series ever to come on television but for some reason I began to like it more and more as the series progressed. And yes it is cheesy, but so what, just don’t take it too seriously and I’m sure you’ll like it. It was never intended to be up there with the likes of Battlestar or Farscape but it’s still a good series with some fun characters.

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When it first started off I wasn’t to keen on the concept of a wormhole from Earth to Mongo but it worked out quite well in the end, even if it was kind of a rip off of the Sliders idea. Also, some people complained that the stories were always on Earth instead of Mongo, but as it went along, the storyline shifted more to Mongo and the story revolving around Ming and his daughter Aura. There was also a lot of great action too and gunfights. One of the best performing character’s would probably have to be the Ming, the benevolent father (played by John Ralston). He made his character seperate to the other Ming I remembered and I appreciated that.

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Anyway I overall recommend this series but don’t put it down until you’ve stayed until midway because it does improve.

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REVIEW: FLASH GORDON (1980)

CAST

Sam J. Jones (Ted)
Melody Anderson (Battlestar Galactica 1979)
Max Von Sydow (solomon Kane)
Topol (Galileo)
Ornella Muti (Postcards from Rome)
Timothy Dalton (Penny Dreadful)
Brian Blessed (Alexander)
Robbie Coltrane (Harry Potter)

Emperor Ming the Merciless declares that he will first play with and then destroy the Earth using natural disasters. On Earth, New York Jets football star “Flash” Gordon boards a small plane, where he meets travel journalist Dale Arden. Mid-flight, the cockpit is hit by a meteorite and the pilots are lost. Flash takes control and manages to crash land into a greenhouse owned by Dr. Hans Zarkov. Zarkov, who believes the disasters are being caused because an unknown source is pushing the Moon towards Earth, has secretly constructed a spacecraft which he plans to use to investigate. Zarkov’s assistant refuses to go, so he lures Flash and Dale aboard. The rocket launches, taking them to the planet Mongo, where they are captured by Ming’s troops.
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The three are brought before Ming. He orders Dale be prepared for his pleasure. Flash tries to resist, but is overpowered. Ming orders Zarkov be reprogrammed and Flash executed. Ming’s daughter, Princess Aura, seduces Ming’s surgeon into saving Flash, to whom she is attracted. As they escape, Flash sees Zarkov being brainwashed by Klytus, the metal-faced head of the secret police. Aura and Flash flee to Arboria, kingdom of Prince Barin, Aura’s lover. En route, Aura teaches Flash to use a telepathic communicator to contact Dale. He lets her know he is alive. Dale is locked in Ming’s bedchamber, but encouraged by Flash, she escapes. Klytus sends Zarkov to intercept Dale, who tells him and Klytus that Flash is alive. They then escape, as Zarkov reveals he resisted the brainwashing. They are captured by Prince Vultan’s Hawkmen and taken to Sky City.
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Aura and Flash arrive at Arboria. Aura asks the Prince to keep Flash safe. A distrustful Barin, in love with Aura, agrees not to kill Flash, but then forces him to perform a deadly ritual. Barin and Flash take turns sticking their hands into a hollow stump with a giant scorpion-like Wood Beast inside. When Flash has to take an extra turn, he pretends to be stung as a distraction and escapes. Barin follows, but they are both captured by the Hawkmen.
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Klytus informs Ming that Flash is alive and is given authority to find out who is responsible. Aura returns and is taken prisoner and tortured by Klytus and General Kala. They force her to confess and Ming banishes her to the ice moon Frigia after his wedding. Meanwhile, Flash and Barin are taken to Sky City, where Flash and Dale are briefly reunited. Flash is forced to fight Barin to the death, but Barin joins him when Flash saves his life. Klytus arrives and Flash and Barin kill him. Knowing that this will bring retribution, Vultan orders the Hawkmen to evacuate, leaving Barin, Flash, Dale and Zarkov behind. Ming’s ship arrives and he orders Barin, Zarkov and Dale to be taken aboard. Ming is impressed with Flash, and offers him lordship over Earth in exchange for loyalty, which Flash refuses. Ming gives the order to destroy Vultan’s kingdom along with Flash. Flash finds a rocket cycle and escapes before Sky City is destroyed.
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Flash contacts Vultan, who is hiding on Arboria and they plot an attack on Mingo City. Flash pretends to attack Mingo City alone on his rocket cycle. General Kala dispatches the war rocket Ajax to kill Flash, but the Hawkmen ambush and seize the rocket. Meanwhile, Princess Aura overpowers her guard and frees Barin and Zarkov from the execution chamber. Flash and the Hawkmen attack Mingo City in Ajax and Kala activates the defenses, as Ming and Dale’s wedding begins. Mingo City’s lightning field can only be penetrated by flying Ajax into it at a suicidal speed. Flash volunteers to stay at the helm to ensure success and allow the Hawkmen to invade the city.
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Barin and Zarkov enter the control room to stop the lightning field, encountering Kala who refuses to deactivate it. She attempts to kill Zarkov, but Barin shoots and kills her. Without Kala they are unable to deactivate the field from that control room. Barin tells Zarkov to hold the fort while he heads to Sector Alpha. Zarkov keeps trying, but is unable to deactivate the shield.
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Barin fights through Ming’s guards and gets to Sector Alpha and deactivates the lightning field before Ajax hits it. Flash flies the rocket ship into the city’s wedding hall and the ship’s bow impales Ming. He falls off the rocket nose, seriously wounded and Flash offers to spare his life if he will stop the attack on Earth, but Ming refuses. Ming attempts to use his power ring on Flash, but his power falters and nothing happens. He then aims the ring at himself and is seemingly vaporized by its remaining power seconds before the counter to the destruction of the Earth reaches zero. A huge victory celebration ensues.
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Barin and Aura become the new leaders in Ming’s place. Barin names Vultan the leader of their armies. Flash, Dale, and Zarkov discuss returning to Earth. Zarkov says he doesn’t know how they will get back, but they will try. Barin tells them all they’re welcome to stay, but Dale says she’s a New York City girl, and it’s now too quiet around Mongo.
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The final frame shows Ming’s ring being picked up by the hand of an unseen person. Ming’s laugh echoes as the credits roll. Following the credits the text “The End” is shown on the screen before a question mark (?) is appended.

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Flash Gordon is one of the greatest movie of all-time. Whatever you do, watch this movie over and over- you’ll be glad you did.

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REVIEW: FLASH GORDON: CONQUERS THE UNIVERSE

CAST
Buster Crabbe (Buck Rogers 1939)
Carol Hughes (The Golden Arrow)
Charles Middleton (Dick Tracy Returns)
Frank Shannon (Batman 1943)
Shirley Deane (Kill Me Tomorrow)
John Hamilton (Adventures of Superman)
  A deadly plague is ravaging the Earth, known as the Purple Death because of the spot left on victims’ foreheads. Ming the Merciless is suspected to be behind the plague and it is discovered that his spaceships have been dropping “Death Dust” in the Earth’s atmosphere. Flash Gordon, along with Dr. Alexis Zarkov and Dale Arden, is sent to the planet Mongo to find a possible cure for the plague. They eventually find an antidote, called polarite in the Kingdom of Frigia. Flash and Zarkov distribute the antidote the same way the original Death Dust was spread. Ming sends an army of robot bombs after the three and he succeeds in capturing Zarkov for a short time before Flash frees him.
The trio continue to battle Ming and his allies. Ming’s Captain Torch is the “head villain” of this serial. He is in charge of stopping the Earthlings.
Before Flash and his team leaves, they kill Ming by locking him in a tower and crashing a rocket ship loaded with Solarite into it. Prince Barin takes his rightful place as ruler of Mongo. Ming’s last words are “I am the universe!”. Zarkov announces that Flash Gordon has conquered the universe
Buster Crabbe was made to play the heroic Flash Gordon and Charles Middleton is the perfect Ming. However, it is the action sequences that carry this film. The special effects for this time period are also pretty good, even for the 1940’s. The only flaw I find with this, though, is that Jean Rogers is not playing Dale or that Richard Alexander is not playing Barin. The two actors that replace them are okay, but the originals defined the roles.

 

 

REVIEW: FLASH GORDON’S TRIP TO MARS

CAST
Buster Crabbe (Buck Rogers 1939)
Jean Rogers (Brigham Young)
Charles Middleton (Dick Tracy Returns)
Priscilla Lawson (The Girl of the Golden West)
Frank Shannon (Batman 1943)
Beatrice Roberts (Pioneers of the West)
When a mysterious beam of light starts disrupting and destroying the Earth’s atmosphere, Flash Gordon (Larry “Buster” Crabbe), Dr. Zarkov (Frank Shannon), and Dale Arden (Jean Rogers) – accidentally accompanied by wisecracking reporter Happy Hapgood (Donald Kerr) – swing into action in Zarkov’s rocketship, believing that it could be coming from the planet Mongo. Once in space, however, they discover that the ray is originating from Mars.
Journeying to the fourth planet, they discover that their old enemy from Mongo, Ming the Merciless (Charles B. Middleton), whom they had believed dead, is still alive, and has formed an alliance with Azura (Beatrice Roberts), the Witch Queen of Mars. From Azura’s planet, and under her protection, he is operating a gigantic Nitron ray that is destroying Earth’s atmosphere. Azura’s powers include the ability to transmute people into figures of living clay, condemned to live in darkened caves, and she is hated and feared by most of the population. Conversely, the Clay People, led by their King (C. Montague Shaw), know the secret of how to eliminate Azura’s power, but lack the means of escaping the caves to which their ruined bodies restrict them, in order to battle her.
Gordon and his party would seem to hold the answer to their problem, except that the Clay People don’t trust them at first, and end up holding Dale Arden hostage. Ultimately the Earth visitors and the Clay People become allies in the tandem quest to defeat Azura and stop Ming from destroying the Earth. Flash, Dale, Zarkov, and Hapgood do battle against Azura’s magic and her Martian space-force, Ming’s super-scientific weaponry, the treacherous Forest People, and other dangers on the Red Planet. Finally, they win by the classic strategy of divide-and-conquer, showing Azura that Ming has been plotting behind her back to take power from her.
Azura’s alliance with Ming is broken, at the cost of the Queen’s own life, but the Clay People are freed from their curse. And the evil emperor of Mongo, his Nitron ray destroyed and his escape cut off on all sides by the now hostile Martian forces, is finally destroyed by the accidental result of his own machinations and treachery.
This is perhaps the best of the three Flash Gordon serials due to the fact that it not only was action packed, but that it also included some humorous moments provided by the character of “Happy” Hapgood. The first one was exciting, but really wasn’t as action packed as this one. This is the first one in which Dale takes part in the action, especially in the scene where she bombs the Forest People’s temple. If you want thrills, just look at this serial.

REVIEW: FLASH GORDON (1936)

CAST
Buster Crabbe (Buck Rogers 1939)
Jean Rogers (Brigham Young)
Charles Middleton (Dick Tracy Returns)
Priscilla Lawson (The Girl of the Golden West)
Frank Shannon (Batman 1943)

Chapters

1.The Planet of Peril
The planet Mongo is on a collision course with Earth. Dr. Alexis Zarkov takes off in a rocket ship to Mongo, with Flash Gordon and Dale Arden as his assistants. They find that the planet is ruled by the cruel Emperor Ming, who lusts after Dale and sends Flash to fight in the arena. Ming’s daughter, Princess Aura, tries to spare Flash’s life.

2.The Tunnel of Terror
Aura helps Flash to escape as Zarkov is put to work in Ming’s laboratory and Dale is prepared for her wedding to Ming. Flash meets Prince Thun, leader of the Lion Men, and the pair return to the palace to rescue Dale.
 
3.Captured by Shark Men
Flash stops the wedding ceremony, but he and Dale are captured by King Kala, ruler of the Shark Men and a loyal follower of Ming. At Ming’s order, Kala forces Flash to fight with a giant octosak in a chamber filling with water.
 
4.Battling the Sea Beast
Aura and Thun rescue Flash from the octosak. Trying to keep Flash away from Dale, Aura destroys the mechanisms that regulate the underwater city.
5.The Destroying Ray
Flash, Dale, Aura and Thun escape from the underwater city, but are captured by King Vultan and the Hawkmen. Dr. Zarkov befriends Prince Barin, and they race to the rescue.
 
6.Flaming Torture
Dale pretends to fall in love with King Vultan in order to save Flash, Barin and Thun, who are put to work in the Hawkmen’s Atom Furnaces.
 
7.Shattering Doom
Flash, Barin, Thun and Zarkov create an explosion in the atomic furnaces.
8.Tournament of Death
Dr. Zarkov saves the Hawkmen’s city from falling, earning Flash and his friends King Vultan’s gratitude. Ming insists that Flash fight a Tournament of Death against a masked opponent, revealed to be Barin, and then a vicious orangopoid.
 
9.Fighting the Fire Dragon
Flash survives the tournament with Aura’s help, after she discovers the weak point of the orangopoid. Still determined to win Flash, Aura has him drugged to make him lose his memory.
 
10.The Unseen Peril
Flash recovers his memory. Ming is determined to have Flash executed.
 
11.In the Claws of the Tigron
Zarkov invents a machine that makes Flash invisible. Flash torments Ming and his guards. Barin hides Dale in the catacombs, but Aura has her tracked by a tigron.
12.Trapped in the Turret
Aura realizes the error of her ways, and falls in love with Barin. She tries to help Flash and his friends to return to Earth — but Ming plots to kill them.
13.Rocketing to Earth
Ming orders that the Earth people be caught and killed, but Flash and his friends escape from the Emperor’s clutches, and Ming is apparently killed in the flames of the “sacred temple of the Great God Tao”. Flash, Dale and Zarkov make a triumphant return to Earth
This serial might not interest children today with its hokey effects – oh, that spaceship! – but it’s a fun bit of nostalgia for those who liked it the first time around or those that have an interest in comic books and film . The actors play it straight and don’t play down to kids.