The original Flash Gordon comics and serials were before my time and the atrocious 1980 film has been successfully purged from my memory. Well, all except for that tiny, persistent snippet of the Queen soundtrack, of course. (Ah-Aaaaah!) So SciFi Channel’s remake (sorry…I mean “re-imagining”) was my chance to finally see what the hubbub was about.
Generally speaking, I tend to like the things I choose to consume for entertainment. And when I don’t, my misfire usually ends in an experience of mediocrity. But Flash Gordon blows. If anyone ever asks why sci-fi TV has the reputation it does, point them in this direction.
I’m not sure where to begin. Is it the uninspired acting? Or should I blame the infantile script that the actors had to work with? How about the unresolved scenes like the one involving an alien disintegrating a bowling ball? Or the illogic that he was carrying the driver’s license of Flash’s (Ah-Aaaaah!) supposedly-dead father when he was doing it?
Here’s what I do know:
Instead of being portrayed as the “savior of the universe’, Flash (Ah-Aaaaah!) is portrayed as a go-nowhere mechanic/jock who still lives with his mother. The only explanation I can summon is that this is meant to appeal to the stereotypical geek who lives in his mom’s basement. If the stereotype is true, then the last thing they need is a reminder; if false, then it’s just insulting. Either way, how can the audience believe that underneath it all, Flash (Ah-Aaaaah!) has the wherewithal – even with the help of the nerdy, RV-stalking Professor Zarkov – to save planets from the merciless Ming?
Speaking of which, Ming isn’t so much merciless as he is a conceited boor. And, unlike the water situation, I see there’s no shortage of hair mousse on the planet Mongo. Seriously, this guy could learn lessons of villainy from Richard Simmons. I’d sooner see Ming’s second-in-command take the lead, zooming around the complex on his hidden Segway or whatever, torturing his minions with the clichéd dialogue. At least Flash (Ah-Aaaaah!) would be fighting someone worth his time, though still not ours.
But then people like Segway-Guy don’t get gals like Dale. Dale is such an experienced news reporter that she rushes off to breaking news stories with Flash (Ah-Aaaaah!) in tow instead of a news crew. These are the kind of storytelling details that add to a story if given an iota of thought but are unbelievably annoying when ignored.
I could understand if the makers were trying to go for camp, like Doctor Who. But the show is not campy, it’s just bad. I wouldn’t have finished the damn thing at all if the wife wasn’t all “you gotta at least see how it turns out.” Of course, she fell asleep on this snoozefest 10 minutes later. Thanks, hon. Now the abomination sits on my DVR until she can muster up enough strength to relive this nonsense. Good luck with that whole thing.
As for me, I won’t be tuning in again. Good riddance, Flash. (Ah-Aaaaah!)