Wednesday, April 9, 2008

V to the A etc, etc.

If LOL Cats represent the zenith of human civilisation, than Star Wars gangster rap parodies are the total opposite of that magnificent achievement - dire, humourless, fratboy crap, executed with the panache of a retarded Bonobo monkey dry-humping a dead armadillo. Having said that, I thought this was quite funny - especially the Lando and Obi Wan bits:

I am away on business all next week, but I will put up a few slightly more substantive pieces(read: more than two measly paragraphs, and a crappy viral) before I go.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


No one has a clue what the hell is going on:

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Cartoonist Evan Shaner at Exploding Moose recently answered that most perplexing question, which has plagued fanboys the world over for decades. What if Charles Schultz created the Watchmen? Well, here it is, and it's brilliant:

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Jumping Jack Flash

Flash, Flash I love you. But we only have fourteen hours to save the earth.”

So yells Dale Arden (Melody Anderson – nice parentin’ calling your newborn Melody) to the eponymous hero (Sam J Jones) in the 1980 campstravaganza Flash Gordon. Symphonies should be written to the banality of the line, sure, but I just love the way it sounds – it encapsulates the trite dullness of the whole enterprise by bringing it down to earth. It’s like saying “Flash, Flash, I love you. But if you don’t save the earth, I’ve got men queuing at the door mate!” The world might be on the brink of total apocalypse, but let’s get the human emotions out of the way first. The juxtaposition of the grand (intergalactic destruction) with the bizarrely regular (fourteen hours to save it) defines the film. That’s what makes it fun. But, also, once you’ve seen the film, there’s pretty much no way you want to revisit it ever again. At least sober. So, thank you, whoever submitted this to The White Elephant Blog-a-thon.

Straight out of Tolstoy, the plot follows the misadventures of Flash, Dale and their hirsute companion Dr Zarkov (played by Topol – the character is meant to be Presbyterian, I think) as they try to save the Earth from the apocalyptic intentions of the evil Ming The Merciless (Max von Sydow). Like any intergalactic dictator with a serious manicure problem, Ming is bored, y’see, and he’d like to play with things for a while. Unlike the rest of us who can think of playing with only one thing when we’re bored, Ming’s mind wanders elsewhere. It turns out, when he’s alone, and life is making him lonely Ming always goes to his Grand Vizier or whatever that Vader knock-off dude is called, who, in turn, offers his master a new planet to destroy. That planet happens to be Earth, and it is up to Flash Gordon and his two new BFF’s to stop Ming in his tracks. The rest of the movie develops in the way one might expect from an Edgar Rice Burroughs knock off – Hawkmen with wings in one scene, then a football game in the other; huge rockets attacking floating fortresses, and rudely interrupting a wedding. It’s as if the screenwriter, Lorenzo Semple, got fired up coming up with an incredible set up, only to be interrupted by his wife to take the trash out – when he came back, he’d lost all his concentration, and just let his fingers do the typing. Kind of like what I am doing right now.

But I am being purposefully glib. Which is unfair because the film is meant to be trash, a cheeky little wink at the old Flash Gordon serials. Sample Dialogue:

Prince Barin: Do you know where you are?
Flash: Up the creek.

It has no pretensions, and is closer in tone to the Pirates of the Caribbean flicks of the past few years. In fact, I am surprised they decided to remake Flash Gordon as a late summer TV show on SciFi instead of a big budget summer movie extravaganza. God knows they revisit enough tripe.

Nonetheless, there is something slightly cynical about the film, too. It opened around the same time as Popeye in the US (the inimitable Odienator reckons it opened on the same day, and that IMDB has it wrong – who am I to argue with his OdieTude), and both films tried to cash in on the crowd who had grown up with the originals, as well as their children who had been watching the reruns on the telly. Unfortunately, Flash Gordon was subpar entertainment for anyone old enough to remember the old serials, and not hip enough for the generation who had, that very summer, found out about Cool Handless Luke’s parentage. So the film failed.

Even though there are moments of pure joy – any film that has Tevye, James Bond, and Death’s Chess Partner (looking like a cross between The Wizard of Oz and Mr Miyagi) can’t be dismissed completely – eventually, it falls flat. If you can get a hold of them, watch the old serials instead. If not, there’s always Flesh Gordon.

Note: No review of the film is complete without mentioning the soundtrack by Queen, which is reason enough the band should never have foregone their “No synthesisers” rule. It has a few good tracks – Football Fight, for example, the tune that launched a thousand HR training videos in the eighties, is brilliant not just in itself but also in the context of the scene – but, on the whole, it is a mess. Kind of like the movie.

This review is part of the second annual White Elephant Blog-a-thon hosted by Ben Lim at Lucid Screening.
Update: Here is the infamous Football Fight sequence: