Star Wars and Science Fiction

Toby Frost

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Someone should write a book about that!
 

KiraAnn

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A major factor in the initial success of Star Wars was the tremendous leap in special effects it showed. That initial scene where the starship comes down the screen, filling it up was just so, idk perfect. In the first year of it's showing, that never failed to grab everyone watching.

Lucas originally wanted to do a Flash Gordon movie :)
I heard that someone else had the rights and wouldn't release them. That someone later sold them to what's his name who created that stupid Flash Gordon of 1980. God!! I hated and still hate that movie.
 

Swank

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I
A major factor in the initial success of Star Wars was the tremendous leap in special effects it showed. That initial scene where the starship comes down the screen, filling it up was just so, idk perfect. In the first year of it's showing, that never failed to grab everyone watching.
I don't think the effects in SW were any better than 2001, but they were used much more dynamically.
 

paranoid marvin

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I unironically love Flash Gordon. It's a camp masterpiece with a killer soundtrack. I honestly wish there were more movies like it.

I also think Flash Gordon was a great movie. Fantastic soundtrack, great visuals and a bunch of actors obviously having a whale of a time.

I would disagree with it being camp though. Camp for me suggests exaggerated; almost a parody of the genre or licence it represents. Barbarella is camp, and so is the 60s Batman show. Flash Gordon is a comic book adaptation, with colours, dialogue and on screen action that emulates this.

I think that we've grown too accustomed to comic book adaptations being far too serious for their own good. So when we see a superhero movie where the good guys are good and the bad guys are evil - with nothing in between - we view it as unrealistic and artificial. But that's exactly what superhero comics were originally all about.
 

Swank

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I think that we've grown too accustomed to comic book adaptations being far too serious for their own good. So when we see a superhero movie where the good guys are good and the bad guys are evil - with nothing in between - we view it as unrealistic and artificial. But that's exactly what superhero comics were originally all about.
No one today is reading 1930s comic books. I started reading comics about the time Flash came out, and it didn't remind me of the X-Men or Spider-Man. However, the actual comic strip looked considerably more dynamic and realistic than the film as well:

Flash_Gordon_%28King_Features_Syndicate_debut%29.jpg


The Flash Gordon film seemed more like what someone who doesn't like or read comic books might decide a comic book movie should be like, and is therefore "fun". The overall effect seemed wooden, silly, unrealistic, poorly acted, terribly choreographed and badly effected. In other words, boring.

So I would agree that it is "camp", in that the only way of enjoying it is for the pure kitsch factor. And I like Queen.

Or maybe it is just plain satire.

Lorenzo Semple Jr. wrote the script. He later recalled:

Dino wanted to make Flash Gordon humorous. At the time, I thought that was a possible way to go, but, in hindsight, I realize it was a terrible mistake. We kept fiddling around with the script, trying to decide whether to be funny or realistic. That was a catastrophic thing to do, with so much money involved... I never thought the character of Flash in the script was particularly good. But there was no pressure to make it any better. Dino had a vision of a comic-strip character treated in a comic style. That was silly, because Flash Gordon was never intended to be funny. The entire film got way out of control.[19]


A much better effort to bottle the absurdities of comics in movie form was Buckaroo Banzai.
 
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Mon0Zer0

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I also think Flash Gordon was a great movie. Fantastic soundtrack, great visuals and a bunch of actors obviously having a whale of a time.

I would disagree with it being camp though. Camp for me suggests exaggerated; almost a parody of the genre or licence it represents. Barbarella is camp, and so is the 60s Batman show. Flash Gordon is a comic book adaptation, with colours, dialogue and on screen action that emulates this.

I think that we've grown too accustomed to comic book adaptations being far too serious for their own good. So when we see a superhero movie where the good guys are good and the bad guys are evil - with nothing in between - we view it as unrealistic and artificial. But that's exactly what superhero comics were originally all about.

I don't think it needs to be parodic to be campy. It just has to be theatrical and flamboyant. As @Swank says, compared to its origins its definitely that.
 

paranoid marvin

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Whilst I agree that it has some of the elements, I wouldn't call it a camp movie. I do think that there has to be certain aspects of parody of the genre or licence the movie represents- eg Adam West's Batman and Barbarella, but I think that they trued to make Flash Gordon a two dimensional comic book hero - and they succeeded.

Although the movie has elements of comedy, it is primarily (in my opinion) an action orientated science fiction adventure.

My opinion is probably skewed, in that I first saw this movie in the cinema as a kid. Having seen the first 2 Star Wars movies, I knew what a good sci-fi movie was; but Flash Gordon blew me away with its visuals and that awesome soundtrack (I was too young to know who Queen were).

It wasn't better than Star Wars, but it introduced me to the idea that science fiction didn't have to be all deadly serious. Ming was an entirely different baddie to Darth Vader, and Flash was like a more self confident, more focused Luke Skywalker.

Gone was the angst of who was whose father, and the perils of going over to the Dark Side, and in its place was a clear cut hero vs villain. You knew right from the start that Flash would prevail, and that the over confident Ming would help to bring about his own downfall.

And the funny thing is that for years the movie went on the back-burner in my memory. Until I saw Ted and the way that Mark Whalbergs character hero worships Flash ,and I thought to myself 'do you know what? I actually feel the same way'. I saw Sam Jones at a sci fi convention and from the way he spoke, he truly seems to be a stand up kind of guy.

Considering just how serious and 'realistic are today's superheroes, I think we've lost sight of whatakes more a fun movie. Give me Adam West's Batman, Christopher Reeve's Superman and Sam Jones' Flash Gordon over any of the more modern iterations.
 

Swank

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Whilst I agree that it has some of the elements, I wouldn't call it a camp movie. I do think that there has to be certain aspects of parody of the genre or licence the movie represents- eg Adam West's Batman and Barbarella, but I think that they trued to make Flash Gordon a two dimensional comic book hero - and they succeeded.
You know that Dino de Laurentius made Barbarella as well?

Considering just how serious and 'realistic are today's superheroes, I think we've lost sight of whatakes more a fun movie. Give me Adam West's Batman, Christopher Reeve's Superman and Sam Jones' Flash Gordon over any of the more modern iterations.
Iron Man, Ant Man, She-Hulk, recent Spider-Man, The Suicide Squad, Guardians of the Galaxy and Deadpool are highly serious?
 

paranoid marvin

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You know that Dino de Laurentius made Barbarella as well?


Iron Man, Ant Man, She-Hulk, recent Spider-Man, The Suicide Squad, Guardians of the Galaxy and Deadpool are highly serious?


Yes , but to be fair he has been involved with a vast array of movies, including Barbarella, Flash Gordon and Dune.

I don't think that the movies you mention are serious, but most of them feature anti-heroes, or focus on the internal deliberations of the main characters. They aren't clear cut good vs evil superheroes vs super villains.

I enjoyed GotG immensely, and Deadpool was interesting, but not something I would want to watch a second time. Suicide Squad I didn't get on with at all. For me Flash Gordon is a joy to watch, with plenty of quotable lines, a great soundtrack and Von Sydow is a marvellous Ming.

But we all have different preferences and priorities for what we want from our entertainment, and I can fully understand why some would find the FG movie far too silly and lightweight in comparison with other science fiction films.
 

Swank

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Yes , but to be fair he has been involved with a vast array of movies, including Barbarella, Flash Gordon and Dune.

I don't think that the movies you mention are serious, but most of them feature anti-heroes, or focus on the internal deliberations of the main characters. They aren't clear cut good vs evil superheroes vs super villains.

I enjoyed GotG immensely, and Deadpool was interesting, but not something I would want to watch a second time. Suicide Squad I didn't get on with at all. For me Flash Gordon is a joy to watch, with plenty of quotable lines, a great soundtrack and Von Sydow is a marvellous Ming.

But we all have different preferences and priorities for what we want from our entertainment, and I can fully understand why some would find the FG movie far too silly and lightweight in comparison with other science fiction films.
I'm not busting on you for liking Flash. Lots of people do, and it certainly had style and spectacle.

But you may be giving credit in a weird way. Superman is not an anti-hero, but Gore Vidal's script was not about a happy-go-lucky hero. By the same token, Flash's allies don't seem to be clearly good guys.

The Suicide Squad is the good one vs "Suicide Squad". Directed by GotG guy. Grossly violent and generally gross, it is very funny.

Two films that I think really channel the kind of MC you're talking about are The Phantom and True Lies. Both feature MCs that are gleefully pursuing what they see as justice. There's a moment in True Lies where the MC's wife tells him to go get the bad guys and he turns and runs away like a little kid running to the playground. The Phantom is all fun.
 

BAYLOR

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You know that Dino de Laurentius made Barbarella as well?


Iron Man, Ant Man, She-Hulk, recent Spider-Man, The Suicide Squad, Guardians of the Galaxy and Deadpool are highly serious?

There will never likely be reboot of the 190 Flash Gordon film for alot of reasons.
 

KiraAnn

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The thing about Flash Gordon as a movie property, it wouldn't have taken much to revise that in a more modern drama that would have rivaled the Star Wars franchise.
 

Dave

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The thing about Flash Gordon as a movie property, it wouldn't have taken much to revise that in a more modern drama that would have rivaled the Star Wars franchise.
This thread has gone so far off topic that it will soon come back and eat itself, but I couldn't really see a Flash Gordon franchise that was revised as a modern drama. If it was to be done, it would need to be in some alternative art deco universe where the Second World War didn't and has yet to take place. And the doubters would need to accept that the Earth could be in collision with planet Mongo, that you can hear sounds in the vacuum of space, spacecraft can produce smoke trails and land back again on their rockets, and that the existence of sharkmen and hawkmen doesn't seem at all odd. Otherwise, it will turn out like when the BBC made War of the Worlds a few years ago.
 

paranoid marvin

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I hope we never see a modern re-imagining of Flash, because it would be nothing like the Sam Jones' version or the iconic 1930s serials.

Sky Captain showed that this kind of thing could be pulled off, but was (sadly) a box office flop.
 

Swank

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The thing about Flash Gordon as a movie property, it wouldn't have taken much to revise that in a more modern drama that would have rivaled the Star Wars franchise.
And yet, here we are half a century later with nothing like Star Wars.
 

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