# Flash Gordon: The Cheesy Space Opera You Need
Flash Gordon is a science fiction hero who has been entertaining audiences for over 80 years. Created by Alex Raymond in 1934, the character has appeared in comic books, radio shows, movies, and television series. The most iconic version of Flash Gordon is the 1980 film, directed by Mike Hodges and starring Sam J. Jones as the titular hero. While some may dismiss the film as a cheesy space opera, there’s no denying that it’s a fun ride that deserves a second look.
## The Characters
At its core, Flash Gordon is a story of good versus evil. The main antagonist is Ming the Merciless, ruler of the planet Mongo and all-around bad guy. Ming is played with relish by Max von Sydow, who chews the scenery in every scene. He’s evil, but he’s also suave and sophisticated, making him a more interesting villain than your average space monster. Flash himself is a square-jawed hero who’s great at punching his way out of trouble. He’s accompanied by the beautiful Dale Arden, a spunky journalist who never hesitates to speak her mind. Other memorable characters include Prince Vultan, leader of the Hawkmen who gives the iconic line “Gordon’s alive!”, and Timothy Dalton as the dashing Prince Barin, who is initially hostile to Flash but eventually becomes a valuable ally.
## The Music
One of the most memorable aspects of Flash Gordon is its soundtrack, composed by the legendary rock band Queen. The film opens with “Flash’s Theme”, a rousing anthem that sets the tone for the entire movie. Other highlights include “Battle Theme”, “The Hero”, and “Football Fight”, which features Queen’s signature guitar sound and was later reworked into their hit song “Under Pressure”. The music gives the film a grand, epic feel that perfectly matches the larger-than-life story.
## The Special Effects
Flash Gordon was made in the days before CGI, so most of the special effects were done using practical techniques and models. While some of the effects may look dated today, there’s a charm to their handmade quality. The space battles are thrilling, the colorful sets are imaginative, and the costumes are delightfully over-the-top. Special mention must be made of the stop-motion animation used to create the creatures on Mongo, which gives them a jerky, otherworldly quality.
## The Humor
Flash Gordon isn’t a serious film, and it knows it. There’s a tongue-in-cheek quality to the dialogue and performances that makes the whole thing feel like a big, goofy joke. The film doesn’t take itself too seriously, and neither should you. Some of the jokes may be corny, but they’re delivered with such sincerity that you can’t help but laugh. Whether it’s Flash’s absurd plan to save the earth by playing a game of football, or Ming’s scene-stealing line “Pathetic earthlings, who can save you now?”, the film is full of moments that are both silly and fun.
## The Legacy
Despite its reputation as a cheesy cult classic, Flash Gordon has had a lasting impact on popular culture. The film inspired a generation of filmmakers and artists who grew up watching it on repeat. Queen’s soundtrack remains one of the band’s most beloved works, and is still played at sports events and parties today. The film has been referenced and parodied countless times, in everything from TV shows like The Simpsons and Family Guy, to video games like Ratchet & Clank and Terraria. Flash Gordon may not be high art, but it’s a film that people remember and love.
Flash Gordon is a film that’s difficult to describe. It’s a bit silly, a bit cheesy, and a bit over-the-top. But it’s also a lot of fun. It’s a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and invites the viewer to do the same. If you’re in the mood for a wild, colorful adventure that doesn’t require too much thinking, Flash Gordon is the perfect film for you. It’s a nostalgic trip back to the era of practical effects and epic soundtracks, and a reminder that sometimes, the most memorable films are the ones that are a bit ridiculous.