New 'Flash Gordon' – Same Old Thing

FG_BUSC_WAirlock Alpha reports that director Breck Eisner (THE CRAZIES) is still working on his FLASH GORDON project. and hoping for a ‘franchise’.
Though the article mentions that Eisner doesn’t plan to retread old ground, it sounds like he plans to do exactly that. The film’s to be yet another origin story.
Eisner is quoted as saying that the film will be an origin story and goes on to say the following:

“The comic from 1930s was made into serials in the ’50s and ’70s, then the director’s version in the ’80s. It was campy and the effects were not so good —this version is in no way a remake.  Our version goes back to strips from ’30s and we will update those and shoot the movie as if the strips were drawn today. It will be an action and adventure sci-fi.”

The `30’s Flash Gordon strips were adapted with a surprising degree of faithfulness in the three Universal Studios serials from 1936 to 1940, starring Buster Crabbe.
FGTVColorThere were no serials (in the sense of chapterplays) in the 1950’s or 70’s, unless he’s referring to the 1950’s FLASH GORDON television series that starried Steve Holland (pictured, with Irene Champlin as Dale Arden). This series set Flash & Co. as intergalactic government agents in the far future.
Filmation’s NEW ADVENTURES OF FLASH GORDON cartoon series aired from 1979 to 1980, and was intially based on the 30’s strips, though it eventually wandered off into more whimsical kiddie fare.
The campy 80’s FLASH GORDON with Sam Jones was an attempt to update the same Mongo story, as was the recent low-budget SyFy series.
While it’s commendable to want to be true to the original Alex Raymond strips, Flash Gordon has a wide and galaxy-spanning 70 plus year history of diverse adventures. It’s not limited the story of Mongo, Ming the Merciless and the attendant souped-up historical costume melodrama of the early years of the strip done over and over again.
It was like a mix of John Carter of Mars and Prince Valiant, with a touch of Ruritanian romance and sprinklings of Robin Hood in the early years. In later days, the comic strip went off more in the direction of space opera, with more space travel and science fiction concepts. 
I’d like to see a film that did not attempt go back to the well and try to carry the same recycled water in a fancier jug.

Leave a Reply