"Don't buy from online scammers. This DVD will be re-released in the fall of 2005!!!! Cheaper that these clowns sell them for!"
Blu-Ray appears same as SotU Edition
SRFireside | Houston, TX United States | 05/07/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I would give the movie itself five stars, but the DVD presentation is not as strong. The 1980 Flash Gordon movie is one of the funnest romps in the space opera I have ever experienced. Much more true to the Saturday morning serial kind of sci-fi that Star Wars was paying homage to. Plus the soundtrack from Queen just ups the fun factor even more. You would think this combination of music and content would make for a very campy film, but not necessarily. While the movie definitely knows it's roots and is having fun with that you really can't call Flash Gordon a cheesy B-movie.
What I am finding out about the Savior of the Universe (SotU) edition DVD is that it is lacking a lot of the cool stuff from the European Silver Anniversary Edition DVD. While you do get a remastered film with 2.35:1 anomorphic widescreen, 5.1 Dolby Surround and the movie trailer it lacks in the really good special features from the European DVD. That one has commentaries by director Mike Hodges and actor Brian Blessed (the very charismatic hawkman ruler Vultan), production stills, interviews and concept art. The SotU DVD has none of this.
What you do get is two featurettes. One is from Alex Ross (the guy who painted the DVD cover) on how much he loves the movie. He actually does a really good job of making his featurette much like an analysis of the movie and would have worked great as narration for a documentary. Instead you just get Alex in a chair with a few movie clips thrown in here and there. The other featurette is called Writing a Classic by screenwriter Lorenzo Semple Jr. Sure the Silver Special Edition doesn't have these featurettes, but I think you're really missing out without those commentaries and interviews.
Another thing that bugs me is this DVD is set in an impressive and slightly oversized case, but when you open it up all you get is the DVD and the pencil art insert from Alex Ross. No booklet detailing any info on the movie... not even a single page chapter list. Yeah, Yeah... most of you would say "but the remastered movie is what's important" but considering the sendup (and packaging) I would expect at least something more than just a disk and a sketch. I have seen movies with far less noteriety get more in their packaging than this.
The remastering itself is definitely a big step up from the original DVD release, but still not perfect. The matte blocks are painfully noticeable on the spaceships early in the movie. There is however a whole lot less dirt and distortion (almost unnoticeable) compared to the first DVD release. Also don't expect an incredible audio experience even if they remastered in 5.1 Dolby Surround. Again, it's a good deal better than the other DVD, but my guess is the source material wasn't great so the remaster still sounds a bit on the thin and tinny side. Still I won't argue that this is the best transfer of the movie to date.
I can't for the life of me figure out why they didn't just add the European edition features to this one and maybe add the new things to sweeten the pot. But make a different edition alltogether that is missing some cool bonus material? Not the smartest move in my book.
- Judging by the reports coming in from the upcoming Blu-Ray release of the movie it doesn't sound like much will change between this edition and the BR edition. You will get the exact same special features and the same omissions from the Silver Edition. The only additions will be the Blu-Ray standard BDLive and My Scenes. No word on whether or not this will be a remastered transfer (would be nice if they fixed the matting issues) or just a straight conversion to 1080p (which could be good or really bad like the Fifth Element's initial BR release). I did catch a couple of screen captures of the Blu-Ray and it looks like the color saturation is off (reds seem to overpower everything else). The only plus is the announcement of DTS-HD 5.1. Have to admit that's a good one if they mixed it right. I'll update as I learn more.
So should you get the SotU Edition of Flash Gordon? Well it IS remastered (and I hear some say it's better looking than the UK edition, although this is not confirmed) and available in the US, but a real fan might only go for it if you can't play region 2 DVDs or if you really, REALLY want that Alex Ross featurette (and pencil insert). Also the jury hasn't come in yet on the Blu-Ray treatment. It's a tough call. I think the Silver Anniversary Edition is probably the better bet... for now. But this will do in a pinch."
I really don't understand
Kidgloves2 | South Fallsburg, ny | 06/18/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I saw Sam Jones at a convention and he said he recorded commentary for a future region 1 release. And from what I understand, The "Savior Of The Universe Edition" doesn't have it. So I say, WTF?
I could care less about the artist who drew the new cover and how the movie inspired him. He has nothing to do with this movie.
How about an interview with the surviving members of Queen about the making of the soundtrack? How about including the commentary from Sam Jones and Melody Anderson. Or Max Von Sydow, who is still alive. And the writer and director. Who cares about a guy that had nothing to do with the film?
I am happy that it is remastered. But that should be a given. I own the original region DVD and would really only buy this one if it had good extras. Part of me is still hoping that might happen one day."
FLASH is Fun
Matt Howe | Washington, DC | 01/09/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"When I got cable in the mid-80's I must have watched this film 100 times. It was interesting to see it again on DVD. It is still a FUN movie. The tone of the film is campy and adventurous. I think it captures the fun of the old serials very well -- i.e. Flash seems doomed, only to escape to another tight squeeze!The production design on FLASH GORDON is colorful and bold. Everything is bright and shiny (including the lycra hot pants on Princess Aura!). The sets are HUGE (example: The Hawk Men's floating fortress). I am particularly fond of the Arboria sets -- nice and woodsey!I think the performances from the actors fit the tone of the film. Melody Anderson as Dale is the best. "Go, Flash, go!" is a hilarious scene. Sam Jones is sufficiently hunky and athletic as Flash. And the Brits add a dash of class and fun (Timothy Dalton and Brian Blessed). Ornella Muti as Princess Aura has the best role: she changes from vixen to heroine and gets to vamp around in colorful, sexy costumes.The rocket ships and sky effects are my favorite part of the film as well. There's something exciting about seeing FLASH GORDON rocket ships flying through the air.The DVD quality is OK. I think the picture transfer could have been better -- I know this film has a lot of blue screen work, but surely it's not THAT grainy! And I wish there were more extras -- just a chapter index."
An overlooked classic from the 80's
SpaceKitty | Greenville, NC United States | 10/21/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sometimes certain films end up being much better than they have any right to be. Flash Gordon is one of those films. It is, in fact, and I say this in mortal fear of being mocked and shunned by my peers, one of my all time favotite movies. I can watch this film endlessly, and every time I see it I walk around smiling for the rest of the day... it's just that kind of movie.The cast, first and foremost, is excellent. They work wonders with the material they're given... admittedly this isn't Shakespeare, but it plays remarkably well, with very few cringe-worthy moments. Standout performances include Max Von Sydow as the astoundingly evil Ming, Peter Wyngarde as the almost equally evil Klytus, Brian Blessed as the leader of the Hawkmen, and Topol(?) as an eccentric Dr. Zarkov. Then, of course, there's the absolutely stunning Ornelia Muti as Ming's beautiful daughter Aura... she's wonderful to look at, and has an exotic accent to boot. When I saw this film in the theater as a wee lad, I had quite the childhood crush on Miss Muti... sigh. Anyway, all of the actors seem to be having a grand time with their roles, and it definitely shows.With all due respect to the actors, however, I really think it's the brilliant soundtrack that makes Flash Gordon stand out most in my mind. Queen, near the peak of their popularity, provided a wonderful, throbbing, highly eccentric collection of songs and instrumental bits that fit the film perfectly. I badgered my poor mother to buy me the 8-track, in fact, and then proceeded to play it at every opportunity... a very patient woman, my mother. She probably still hears "dumdumdumdumdumdumDUMDUM **FLASH!!** ah-AHH!..." in her sleep. Sorry, mom.The special effects are actually still pretty impressive, as well... bear in mind, however, that I have a soft spot for 1980's effects. I really miss the days when the answer to "How'd they do that?" wasn't always "With computers." There's a certain mystery to these old effects, and I always respect the effort and creativity that went into making things happen with such limited technology. Sigh... Still, the film is very,very colorful, and there are a LOT of costumes, backgrounds, etc. Everything has a very shiny, surreal sort of look to it, in stark contrast to the realistic, worn-out look of the Star Wars films. It's pretty neat in its own way.In the end, though, Flash Gordon is just plain entertaining. There's hardly ever a dull moment, and the film's almost 2 hour running time goes by in a flash (pun fully intended, with all apologies to the reader). You get a lot of action in those 2 hours... there are laser battles, lots of starships, hand to hand combat on a floating spike disk(?), catfights (in a harem, no less), flame-throwing rings, dominatrix henchladies, evil Space People, a surprising amount of implied sexuality, and the list goes on and on. Just put it in, turn off your brain, and for God's sake HAVE FUN!On a side note, I have to say that the DVD release is a bit disappointing. The five star rating is strictly for the film itself, not for the disc. Although the video and audio quality is fine (easily the best version currently available), there is absolutely nothing in the way of extras. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Not even a trailer, for crying out loud. Here's hoping that someone, perhaps Anchor Bay (king of the cult classic), will have the good sense to release a Special Edition. I would love to see outtakes, trailers, making of bios, commentary, etc. This film certainly deserves better treatment than it's given here. Still, this DVD is currently the best edition of Flash Gordon you're going to find (and it's WIDESCREEN!). Plus, it can be picked up pretty cheaply, if you can actually find it. I wholeheartedly recommend that you search it out, watch it over and over, and then join me in waiting patiently for a collector's edition to come along. Even with its shortcomings, Flash Gordon on DVD most definitely deserves a spot in your collection. Just file it under "Guilty Pleasures." :)"