Flash Gordon: Ming Strikes BackFeatured
Flash, Dale, and Zarkov must journey through the far reaches of space to the forest kingdom of Arboria, on the planet Mongo, to enlist the aid of Prince Barin and his Tree Men, where, with the additional assistance of Queen Fria of Frigia and her soldiers, Flash and his friends must discover a way to put a stop to the Purple Death and disrupt the nefarious plans of Ming and his minions.
This is a feature-length cut of the 1940 public domain serial 'Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe', with Larry "Buster" Crabbe, Carol Hughes, Charles Middleton, Frank Shannon, and Anne Gwynne. Despite the dodgy science, improbable escapes, cheesy special effects, sometimes wooden acting, and juvenile story, 'Flash Gordon: Ming Strikes Back' provides a glimpse into how 'Star Wars' may have looked to an audience in 1940.
Flash Gordon is easily one of my favourite all time pulp-esque heroes. Raymond's comic strip is filled with action packed drama and glorious illustrations. The Buster Crabb serials are a pure delight. The first serial made in 1936 may be the most faithful comic adaptation ever put to screen, though I think the two sequel serials are more fun and have a stronger narrative.
Which brings me to the fan edit MING STRIKES BACK! I watched this on Youtube a little while ago, and I was thoroughly impressed. Billy Batson has taken the longest and most convoluted Flash Gordon serial and nicely streamlined it to it's core elements. And while the story moves swiftly, due to the nature/style of the material I couldn't help wonder if it would play better as two 70 minutes movies rather than one long epic? Still, I was highly entertained. And when you watch the story in this configuration, it really hits home how much George Lucas "borrowed" from this amazing serial series. Almost to the point, I asked myself, was it loving homage or blatant theft? LOL.
Technically, some very minor audio and cut issues but nothing that detracts from the viewing pleasure.
All in all, a fun edit.
Thanks for the nostalgia trip Billy Batson, it left a smile on this old man fanboy's face. :)
A great fanedit of a great serial, it manages to preserve the energy of the original while dispensing with least necessary elements that only slowed down the pace of the story without adding much. It's great to see someone taking time to work on an old classic like this and doing it so well.