Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The New Adventures of Flash Gordon - The Complete Series|
Actors: Robert Ridgely, Diane Pershing, Allan Melvin, Melendy Britt, Bob Holt
Directors: Don Towsley, Hal Sutherland, Lou Zukor
Genres: Action & Adventure, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Animation
Though it only aired for one season the 1979 cartoon series THE NEW ADVENTURES OF FLASH GORDON is fondly remembered for its innovative use of rotoscoping (a form of animation that involves tracing over live-action footage ... more »
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WADE T. (bookbear) from WAVERLY, AL
Reviewed on 7/22/2010...
The original series (first 16 episodes) is great...
Now THIS is how you release a classic!!
SRFireside | Houston, TX United States | 05/24/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the Flash Gordon animated series that aired on Saturday mornings from 1979-1981 and is one of the best shows that ever came out of the Filmation studios. The animation is high quality for its time and the stories were very true to the original 1930's comic strip. To top it all off this DVD set will give you a host of goodies you hardly ever see for a cartoon DVD release from the 80's.
Do any of you remember the cartoon Tarzan: Lord of the Jungle back in the 70's? The same company, Filmation, created the Flash Gordon animated adventures. What that means is the artwork is of a good quality. We're talking movie quality (like the better stuff from Heavy Metal) with vibrant colors and even some lively animation. A lot of this animation came from rotoscoping and it looks awesome (rotoscoping is a process where real actors/stuntment are filmed and then traced over on cel animation to create very fluid movement in animation). While not all the animation was rotoscoped it makes up for the fact that 70's television animation was limited to a pretty low framerate due to budget constraints. In the end you get something that blows away anything on TV at the time.
You gotta appreciate the attention to detail that you get from a cartoon from this era, but there are drawbacks. Sometimes you see the same rotoscoped action again and again. Not that big of a deal when you realize each episode came out weekly. What really bugged me was the use of stock sound effects that really didn't fit the grandness of the show. Now and then some cheesy "kid show" boing sound and such would pop up and that would kill the whole polished feel I get from the show.
The episodes were set with a serial feel to them, having cliffhangers on many of the episodes. This is not only keeping true to the classic comics (and matinees from the 40's) it's a great way to keep you excited about the show. This show was critically acclaimed if that gives you any indication. While the script isn't as sophisticated as what you see in more recent shows like the Batman Animated Series you have to keep in mind this was made in 1980 when cartoons weren't taken seriously at all. I will admit the later episodes do get kiddied up more with a goofy baby dragon making cutesy noises as it "talks"... I blame the network executives for that.
This DVD gives you the ENTIRE SERIES. All 24 episodes that aired are on this set. This is such a breath of fresh air after seeing cartoon after cartoon get released with just a few episodes on single release. Another breath of fresh air is that this DVD will have a really nice listing of extras. Here's what you get:
- Blasting off with Flash Gordon. A 20-minute documentary with interviews from creators and historians about Flash Gordon. You definitely feel the pride they had working on the show and you get some nice in depth background info on the process. One thing that bugged me about the documentary was how the staff really railed on the 1980 Flash Gordon movie. For people who said they understood the classic Flash Gordon they sure missed the mark in their assessment of the movie. Maybe they were bitter or something about the timeliness of both projects.
- Character and setting profiles, which basically give you an overall summary of Flash's friends, enemies and places on planet Mongo that he visits in the series. Nothing new that you won't find just watching the episodes.
- Commentary tracks on three episodes with the show's producer, writer and animator.
- Interactive storyboards you can compare to various action footage.
- Large gallery of sketches of all the main characters.
- DVD ROM content with entire scripts, storyboards and the series bible (sweet).
- Easter Eggs
- Bonus episode from Defenders of the Earth cartoon series.
- Two collectible 4"x6" trading cards by comic book artists Frank Cho and Gene Ha
The DVD was first released at the San Diego ComicCon July, 2006. Then released everywhere about a month later. This is THE collection for this series. They are doing it up better than any other DVD release of a cartoon series I have seen from the 70's or 80's. If you're a fan of this show you absolutely, positively want to get this set. If you are a fan of Flash Gordon or those classic matinee serials that inspired movies like Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark then you too will find something to enjoy in this series."
Blasting off on a desperate mission to save Earth!
Dave Cordes | Denver, CO | 07/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I spent my Saturday mornings as a kid in the 1970's growing up on classic Filmation television and the New Adventures of Flash Gordon is, without a doubt, one of the greatest animated series of all time. This show revolutionized cartoon animation the way that Star Wars revolutionized special effects, which seems somewhat ironic because Flash Gordon was the primary influence for Star Wars and the animated Flash Gordon cartoon would debut shortly after it to ride the wave of Star Wars' phenomenal success. The animated series would also influence much of the production design of Mike Hodges' live-action 1980 film starring Sam Jones as Flash and Max Von Sydow as Ming the Merciless. Much of the realism of the animation is attributed to its unique "rotoscoping" technique in which live actors are filmed and then each frame is traced and replaced with animation cells. The result is realistic figure movements that make the animation come to life. I always loved the animation because of this as well as the incredible spaceships whose fluid three dimensional movements and aerodynamic designs were as visually exciting to watch as any of those in Star Wars.
The first 16 episodes of the first season were serialized the same way as the old 1930's Alex Raymond comic strips. The second season suffered when NBC decided to change the format of the show by cutting them down to 12 minute chapters (2 per episode) and the addition of the Godzooky-like flying dragon Gremlin was thrown in to "juvenilize" the show for the kiddies. The result is a precursor to several 80's cartoons that followed such as Filmation's own Blackstar in 1981 featuring the heroic John Blackstar and the dwarven Trobbits and in 1983 with He-Man and the Masters of the Universe with sidekick Orko the Magician. He-Man was developed primarily as a line of toys by Mattel the company who also produced a series of action figures and toys for Filmations' Flash Gordon cartoon so the partnership between the two seemed only natural. In fact, several of the vocal performers from He-Man and She-Ra were featured in Flash Gordon first including Alan Oppenheimer who voiced Ming the Merciless and Doctor Hans Zarkov was also the voice of Skeletor, Man-At-Arms and Cringer on Masters of the Universe. Melendy Britt who was the voice of Princess Aura was also the voice of She-Ra, the Princess of Power and Diane Pershing who was the voice of Dale Arden was also the voice of Poison Ivy on Batman: the Animated Series and the voice of Isis on Filmation's Tarzan and the Super 7 together with Robert Ridgley who was Flash and Prince Barin as the voice of Tarzan. Hopefully the release of this classic series will renew interest and demand in Flash Gordon and generate a new demand for the old Mattel action figures and memorabillia.
I am very excited that this series is finally being released in the U.S. even though I have already purchased the European PAL set a few years ago. The "deluxe" 4-disc North America release includes extensive bonus features not found on the 3-disc Region 2 release such as the 20 minute documentary "Blasting Off With Flash Gordon!" featuring new interviews with producers Norm Prescott and Lou Scheimer and interactive storyboard-to-clip comparison, plus commentary with the producers and writers on "Planet of Peril," "Sir Gremlin," and "Gremlin's Finest Hour," gallery art, DVD-Rom scripts, Easter Eggs, 2 trading cards, and a bonus episode "Escape From Mongo" from the 1986 Defenders of the Earth cartoon.
Here is a complete listing of all 32 episodes:
Chapter One: A Planet In Peril
Chapter Two: The Monsters Of Mongo
Chapter Three: Vultan, King Of The Hawkmen
Chapter Four: To Save Earth
Chapter Five: The Beast Men's Prey
Chapter Six: Into The Water
Chapter Seven: Adventure In Arboria
Chapter Eight: The Frozen World
Chapter Nine: Monster Of Glacier
Chapter Ten: Blue Magic
Chapter Eleven: King Flash!
Chapter Twelve: Ming's Tournament Of Death
Chapter Thirteen: Castaways In Tropica
Chapter Fourteen: The Desert Hawk
Chapter Fifteen: Revolt Of The Power Men
Chapter Sixteen: Ming's Last Battle
Beware Of Gifts
Gremlin The Dragon
The Freedom Balloon
Gremlin's Finest Hour
The Survival Game
The Memory Bank Of Ming
Sacrifice Of The Volcano Men
UPDATE: Although this is being marketed as "The Complete Series" it unfortunately does not contain the 1982 feature length animated movie "Flash Gordon: The Greatest Adventure of All." From what I have heard and read, this was a truly epic film that begins in Warsaw, Poland which is being annihilated by Hitler's bombers. Flash's dying friend leaves him with a message for Dr. Hans Zarkov: "Mongo". Flash takes a plane where he meets Dale Arden. The plane is caught up a violent thunderstorm, which turns into a devastating meteor shower, crushing one of the plane's engines. Flash and Dale bail out, but a meteor brushes their chute, sending the duo plummeting to the earth. A mysterious purple beam plucks them out of the stormy night and gently settles them onto the ground. They have to race for shelter and find Zarkov in his laboratory who rushes them into his rocketship, informing them that the meteors are no accident; it is in fact a strategic attack. As they spirit away in his rocketship, they are swept towards Mongo and adventure. Much of the story that begins in the first few epsiodes of the series has been dramatically altered so this is more of an alternate storyline which seems to more closely resemble the plot from the 1980 live-action film. Apparently BCI does not own the rights to "Flash Gordon: The Greatest Adventure of All" so that is why it is not included. Hopefully, someone will release it seperately soon but it sure would have been nice to have included it in this "Complete" set."
'Too bad the telefilm was not included"
Reginald D. Garrard | Camilla, GA USA | 07/23/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
""The New Adventures of Flash Gordon" suffered the fate of many a show: in order to appeal to a younger audience, it "dumbed down" the stories and some of its more "adult" situations. The episodes from the show's first season were an obvious homage to the serials of old, complete with the cliffhanging endings, the megalomaniacal depot (Ming the Merciless), and fantastic creatures and "people" of the planet Mongo. It also had one of the most voluptuous "sex kittens" to appear on Saturday morning television: Ming's own daughter "Princess Aura". It was obvious that every man on the planet wanted to "relate" to her and that she, initially, had strong "desires" for our hero, "Flash Gordon."
Like fellow animated 'toon Jessica Rabbit, Aura "wasn't bad, she was just drawn that way."
The startling change came in season two with the addition of a new cast member: the oh-so-cute pink dragon named "Gremlin". Too many shows were themed around his antics and how he awkwardly provided assistance to Flash and his friends. There were also changes in the dialogue, with Flash, once a dominant, straightforward guy, now limited to spouting "one-liners," much, I think, to the dismay of voiceover actor Robert Ridgeley. I'm sure that he must've cringed after uttering some of the script's lines.
As another reviewer has mentioned, this compilation misses the spectacular telefilm that aired two years later, featuring footage not shown in the series and a more satisfying presentation, suited for the entire family.
The sight of the sleekly moving assault flying armada of Ming has yet to be bested and the brilliant use of sound effects was a treat for the ears.
This DVD presentation is quite good, if one can just get past that little pink guy.
My final rating: 4 for the series, 5 for the memories, and a 3 for the addition of "Gremlin".
Overall: FOUR STARS"