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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Flash Gordon: Saviour of the Universe Edition Released

Here is a review on the release of Flash Gordon: Saviour of the Universe on DVD:

The original bare bones DVD of Flash Gordon (released almost a decade ago) has long been out of print and commanding high prices on eBay; those days are pretty much over now, with the arrival of this spanking-new “Saviour of the Universe” edition (and no, that’s not a typo; for some reason, they’re using the British spelling of “Saviour”), although, except in terms of image quality, this isn’t much of an upgrade.

But that image quality is a biggie. The box (which has a hinged, flip-open lid, like a Star Trek communicator) touts the usual “digitally remastered” image, and it really does look spectacular, every vibrant color pulsing with life.

Screenwriter Lorenzo Semple, Jr. also speaks out in a short interview segment, which is the highlight of the disc due to Semple’s brutal honesty and straight talk about his role in the film and the finished product. The inclusion of the first chapter of the original 1936 Flash Gordon serial with Buster Crabbe seems appropriate, and demonstrates that the 1980 version really wasn’t all that outrageous in what it was recreating. A trailer for the new Sci-Fi Channel Flash Gordon series is literally twelve seconds long, and features only a title graphic, with no clips from the show.

And that’s it. No commentary tracks, and no nuts-and-bolts material. Where are the deleted scenes and “making of” doc seen on the UK “Silver Anniversary” edition? This is definitely a missed opportunity, though it’s tough to quibble with the overall presentation of the film.

If you were one of those who was cranky about Flash Gordon in the old days, give this disc a spin and see if your opinion doesn’t change. If you loved it then, this is a great keepsake, especially if you missed the first edition. And if you’ve never seen it, prepare yourself for a goofy, candy-colored, funky-retro treat. Flash Gordon is a unique confection, and one of the most enjoyable SF films of the '80s.

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