I recently re-watched Flash Gordon: The Movie, that campy, colorful movie from 1980, and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I originally saw it on the big screen and remember being annoyed at what I perceived as one of my favorite TV serials being made fun of. The 1936 version, starring bottle-blonde bombshell, Buster Crabbe, was required Saturday morning viewing for me and I took it all a little too seriously, obviously. But can you blame me? With scenes like this? *giggle*
The movie, second time around, made me laugh out loud. The plot is ridiculous, the dialogue is hilarious, the acting is over-the-top, and the costumes out of this world. But what grabbed my attention the most was the three main female characters.
Dale Arden: the girl next door type. Sweet and feminine, plucky and kind-hearted, Dale is nevertheless quite capable of taking care of herself when needed. She just kind of enjoys making Flash rescue her for the hell of it. She’s also “extremely responsive,” which struck me as amusing. I’ve come across the trope of the sweet young thing who is nympho-in- waiting for the right man in way too many romance romance novels.
Princess Aura: the femme fatale type. Sly and spoiled, seductive and selfish, Aura eventually finds an iota of goodness in herself when she gets a case of moist spandex for Flash. Bears up extremely well under torture, which is always a nice character trait. Here she raises Flash from the dead with a kiss while wearing a fabulous outfit.
General Kala: the evil villain type. Twisted and cold, efficient and loyal, Kala has, like all the best super-villains, an absolutely delicious accent. Not surprisingly, is unlucky in love, but wields a cat o’ nine with aplomb and talent. Wears sparkly black pleather like a pro. The magnificent General Kala.
All three were fun to watch and kept my mind off the silliness of it all. They looked spectacular in those costumes and, to my mind, carried the whole film. And let’s not forget the awesome theme song, as audacious and over-the-top as Freddie Mercury himself. The song and the movie are named for the hero, which is funny, because he was the least interesting thing in it. But, anyway. Ready for a sing-along? Bum-bum-bum-bum, FLASH! A-haaaaaaaaaa!