As a grown-up you should already know that Flash Gordon is a far superior film to Star Wars, but in case you’re confused or sub-mental, here are ten facts that prove this empirical truth…
1. The Hero
Like Star Wars, huh? That’s cool, bro. Just remember – that grinning weiner on the left wearing his fifth grade karate gi – that’s your guy. The hardbody pulling off the skin-tight T emblazoned with his own name – that’s my guy.
Let’s also consider character introductions. The first time we meet Luke Skywalker he bitching to his uncle that he has to run some errands. The first time we meet Flash Thompson he’s winding down his car window to check out some sweet, sweet lady ass. What does that tell us? It tells us that just because you’re rocking a feathered blonde blow-dry, don’t mean you’re no Flash.
2. Sexy Ladies
If you cast your eye over the picture of the two princesses up there and find your gaze lingering on the one on the left, I don’t know what’s up with you. Maybe you were molested by a nun. No judgments.
Princess Aura, played to perfection by Ornella Muti, was the sexual-awakening of a generation. Where Flash Gordon gave us Ming’s kinky daughter playing submissive in a whips and leather bondage scene, Star Wars gave us a bird with burnt bagels on her head and fun-bags gaffer taped to within an inch of their lives. It would be two more movies before Leia played ball and flashed some midriff in her slave outfit. Too little too late, love.
3. Sense of Humour
Great sci-fi shouldn’t take itself too seriously (just ask the last two Matrix films) and yet, with the exception of its, “Let the Wookie win” line, the original Star Wars is painfully po-faced affair. By contrast, Flash Gordon is a wall-to-wall laugh blast. We have a guy in a metal skull mask watching a captive’s memories of Hitler and stating, “Now he showed promise”; we have a marriage where a priest asks the groom, “Do you promise not to blast her into space?” (which, in retrospect, I’m ashamed not to have worked into my own vows); and of course we have the immortal line, “Gordon’s Alive?!” spoken/hollered by Brian fucking Blessed.
4. Brian “fucking” Blessed
In the Flash Gordon universe Brian Blessed played a mighty Hawkman. In the Star Wars universe he plays a flabby sea urchin. Get fucked, Star Wars.
Why yes, that is Freddie Mercury in a Flash t-shirt riding Darth Vader. I trust this brings the matter of which movie has the better soundtrack to a close.
6. Most Memorable Scene
The best movie scenes contain equal parts pathos and bathos (no, those aren’t Musketeers, or even Muskehounds). The above scene from Flash Gordon, which also contains the Hitler line mentioned in 3, ends with one of the film’s protagonists being drained of a lifetime’s accumulation of memories, taking him from winning the Nobel Peace Prize all the way back to the womb. It’s clever, spooky and heart-wrenching. Star Wars had Ewoks.
7. Best Death of a British TV Star
Star Wars had Mister Bronson from Grange Hill choking to death on a Werther’s Original (I assume). Flash Gordon had Peter Duncan getting murdered by a tree monster in the ultimate Duncan Dares challenge. No contest.
8. Best Special FX
Flash Gordon has no Special Edition. Unlike George Lucas, the director didn’t see fit to creep into his parents’ attic and correct his old school homework. With Flash Gordon you get papier mâché sets, old-fashioned matte paintings and fibreglass sky bikes, the way God intended (R.I.P.).
9. Best Villain
Emperor Palpatine couldn’t even be bothered to get out of his bath robe for three movies, while Ming the Merciless dressed up nice, shaped his eyebrows and wore a moustache for proper villain recognition. Take a note, Palpatine – you’re the evil overlord of the universe, not a depressed dad on unemployment benefit.
10. Best Ending
Note to directors: this is how you end a movie; with a freeze frame of your hero leaping off the ground and punching the air like a goddamn champ. The only way Mike Hodges could have improved on this would have been to have Flash scissor kick BB-8 through a pair of fucking goal posts, as illustrated below…