I've never been a fan of Flash Gordon. I'd heard a bit about the franchise and how it inspired the likes of Star Wars and other more contemporary space-themed series, but it was several generations before my time and not a saga that successfully transcended the decades. I'd seen a few episodes from the 1950s serials and failed to find them entertaining. After this 1980 film came up in both Queen's discography and Timothy Dalton's filmography (I'm inherently interested in anything starring a former/future James Bond), however, I decided to check this movie out and was hopeful that it might allow for a modern interpretation of the Flash Gordon franchise that I'd enjoy. This hope was naive. Tim Dalton wasn't bad, but the Queen soundtrack was terribly underused (no more than 20 minutes in the whole movie), and overall it was just shitty. I didn't see the movie Ted (2012) until after I'd actually seen Flash Gordon so had no expectations in that regard, an interesting carryover effect to say the least.
So what's in this caca concoction? The requisite recipe is as follows: Begin with a base of Barbarella (1968). Swap sultry sex-symbol Jane Fonda for Playgirl coverboy Sam J. Jones. Remove all overtly sexual concepts, plot devices, and set/costume designs and replace them with equally moronic, sexually inert approximates. While producer Dino De Laurentiis' ideas while masturbating worked perfectly for Barbarella, you'll need to wrack his brain twenty minutes after he's done masturbating this time around to avoid anything too kinky. At this point the cheap sci-fi atmosphere should be unimpressive and inexplicably overbudget with likely nothing inspiring to show for it. Fast forward all cultural references 12 years but be sure not to update any of the special effects. In an attempt to appeal to contemporary sports fans, make Flash be the New York Jets quarterback despite the fact that the Jets were a mediocre to terrible team in the 1979 and 1980 NFL seasons. Use this otherwise irrelevant character detail in a fight scene in which Flash Gordon uses a football and illogical play formations to defeat a team [?] of henchman, a scene which won't be topped for ludicrousness until Halle Berry's quid pro quo basketball scene in Catwoman (2004). Enlist help of successful rock band Queen to write and record an entire soundtrack but only use two of the songs: one to be a theme in the first five minutes and credits and one to play on loop the last fifteen minutes of the movie. Be sure not to use anything remotely resembling the sound of Queen during the middle 90 minutes of the film. Leave to rot for 33 years.
I watched over 170 movies this summer and Flash Gordon was the worst of them all, hands down. Golden Raspberries mean nothing when even Edward D. Wood's very own Plan 9 From Outer Space (1959) outshines this trainwreck without question. Flash Gordon ranks along with Spy Kids (2001), Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams (2002), and The Cat in the Hat (2003) for worst movies I have ever disgraced my mind with viewing. The comedic warning of Mark Wahlberg and Seth McFarlane of "so bad but so good" is insufficient, and I shudder to think that Ted attracted a mainstream and entirely new audience to the existence of this terrible movie. Whatever movie you select to watch, don't see Flash Gordon, but if you're forced to against your will or choose to do so out of some sick form of sadistic humor, don't see it sober. Fuck this movie.