MovieChat Forums > Flash Gordon (1980) Discussion > What a nonsensical movie

What a nonsensical movie

Wow, never have I seen a movie where almost nothing makes sense, and which makes me almost shockingly question what's happening so much that I am about to jump out of my chair - SEVERAL TIMES.

There are so many nonsensical shock-moments, and overall "Why?"-theme that is thickly layered throughout the whole fiasco.

The colors and costumes are really cool and interesting, even captivating, you NEVER see something like this anywhere. Too much red, though, and too many masonic symbols.

But nothing is explained - they have only one ship to defend the whole castle/planet? So when that's attacked, there's no defence?

Flash finally gets a weapon, and IMMEDIATELY throws it away??! He doesn't even use his 'bargaining position' of being able to kill/hurt the prince to order everyone to drop their weapons even so he could take a weapon from them, etc.? What the..

The woman doesn't know what 'tears' are, and yet we are shown HER to cry a bit later. So she is ABLE to cry, but has -never- cried during her WHOLE LIFE?! The most entitled princess of this planet has surely cried A_LOT in her life, but not this female?! Even so, HOW is it possible for her to at least NOT KNOW what tears are, when clearly, her species CAN cry (and thus it's a natural reaction for them)?

"I love you, Flash" - No, you don't! You just met this stranger guy, who doesn't say much, and everything he says is WEAK and EMOTIONLESS at the same time. Why would you SUDDENLY 'love' him? Because the SCRIPT says so! Holy macril.

Not a DAMN THING makes sense in this movie, I would have like 100 other WTF-moments and questions about this, but it's just so awful.

It's a SIMPLE story, like in Star Wars - an evil guy threatens a planet, our hero saves the planet and gets the girl.


But HOW could they get it so wrong in everything, except the costumes and nicely done sets?

The 'Darth Vader' of this movie would've looked so much better if he had worn some kind of 'sunglasses'-type cover to hide his eyes - it would've been so much more menacing. Now it looks like an old geezer in a mask.


I have SO much to ask about, SO many questions, SO much that doesn't make sense whatsoever and of course the whole premise, the source of Ming's power, and so on.

There's the 'we are shown how cruel Ming is'-scene, that includes 'we are shown how omnipotently powerful and un-attackable Ming is'-bit.

And yet, it's all immediately washed down the toilet, when Ming simply LETS Flash (with a happy face on, too) play some football with his COMPLETELY incompetent and bumbling guards - what's with the stupid, overly-used (not only in this movie, but also in this movie) joke, where someone hits someone in the head and then whistles afterwards, AS IF NO ONE SAW THAT. This is done MULTIPLE times - by Brian Blessing of all people, holy cow.

Pretty much none of the motivations make sense, and emotional states reverse and jump all over the place in a .. let's say "flash".

So James Bond says 'lying bítch' to his manipulative lover (and yet kisses her, which makes no sense), but then is REALLY happy to see her the next time they meet. WHAT THE.. I really didn't expect THAT! Look, how childishly happily he runs to her, like a damn lapdog. After he had just told her in a cold voice that he doesn't trust her.. WHAATTT??!

A sidenote: almost all dialog is AWFUL. "Father, damn father" said in a superficially angry look would have been SO much better if it had been replaced with a SHOCKED, sad face, saying something like "But daddy, I am your own daugher, how can you do this to me! Please tell me you are joking!" or something.

Also, _HOW_ can she _NOT_ know 'what he is', after living him for all her life, and probably seeing ALL kinds of horrendous things? Or did Ming _JUST_ start doing horrible things? She doesn't appear very shocked, when Ming kills that man with his own sword near the beginning - or is this movie racist?

Anyway, I could go over more and more of all these weird details, but this movie is not worth it.


I just want to focus on the Flash character and the actor now.

First of all, I am almost speechless, when I think about the casting decision of choosing HIM of all people to play this - let's face it, pretty ridiculous character.

I mean, Luke Skywalker had some kind of realism to him, and he expressed actual emotions.

I haven't read the comics, so I don't know exactly what this Flash Gordon-character is supposed to be, but come on. He HAS to be more 'charismatic' in the comics than this soulless-looking airhead bimbo man is. The guy doesn't even have good muscles or physique (compare to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Christopher Reeve or friggin' Johnny Weissmuller).

This guy's dialogue is REALLY bad, and there's not much of it. We are just 'told, not shown' that he's some kind of a great hero. But what does he really do? He struggles a lot, escapes a bit, fights a bit and shoots some people. Big deal. Who COULDN'T do that?

Heck, the bimbo that 'loves him', does MORE in this movie and in a more impressive way - what's with the olympics-style cartwheels and other unnecessary crap?

This random woman COMPLETELY UNREALISTICALLY defeats trained guards, like they aren't even there. Feminism is strong with this movie. (What else is new)

You can even see how weakly she hits them, those hits wouldn't hurt ANYONE. Could we some day stop pretending that when a woman just weakly swings her arm, it creates a super-powerful punch that knocks out 10 men in a row?

Yet, when the woman fights against another woman, it's this 'pillow-slapping catfight' - now, _IS_ this superwoman some kind of martial artist-special with coolest nerves in the Universe, or is she just a silly girl that can't actually fight? TRY TO MAKE UP YOUR MIND, MOVIE!


Back to Flash.

So he escapes the exploding palace on some weird flying 'rocket scooter' or whatnot.

Why is he so HAPPY in a dire situation, where they're attacking the ship? He just smiles, and does 'woo-hoos', although his 'beloved' bimbo is in trouble, Ming is still in power, the attack might fail, he is in an unfamiliar situation, which isn't a clear-cut win, and he might die any moment very easily.

He doesn't know he's even going to make it!

But sure, let's be happy and throw some 'woo-hoos' in there. WHAT THE..?!

When you choose a lead man to be the hero of your movie, WHY would you choose someone, who can't act, can't deliver lines, doesn't have _ANY_ emotion, when he definitely should have, and who, most of the movie, just stares uncharismatically with empty eyes that reveal his empty brain and does pretty much nothing?

A hero of the movie should have CHARISMA, he should have a COMMANDING PRESENCE. He should be witty, he should have a lot to say, he should be PASSIONATE about defeating Ming, not treat it like some school project, damnit. He should be someone that everyone can respect, like Captain America in the comics, for example. Everyone respects him, and it's SHOWN exactly why.

He should have LIFE in his eyes, like someone that has seen a vision and knows it can be made to manifest in reality, if we all just come together and work hard, and he should be able to make an INSPIRING SPEECH, that will make even the viewer feel something.


nd when someone changes their mind, it shouldn't be INSTANT, like Brian Blessed's character, when he changes his mind in a microsecond from 'we're not ready to attack yet' (and conveniently forgets that Ming has his daughter, which is only shown once and then FORGOTTEN COMPLETELY), to 'okay, I am sold, let's go'.

There should be some kind of thinking process, pondering the possibilities, a back-and-forth, a 'maybe it COuld be possible, but..'-moment, etc. etc.

But no, it's like "no, we won't - sure, we will" in a microsecond. EVERY 'change of mind' in this movie seems to happen like this!

Also, why the heck did the mind-melt-thing not work? We are SHOWN it to have worked! We are NOT shown him thinking of 'Shakespeare and Beatles', and the whole 'they CAN'T erase _THAT_' is just completely ludicrous and unexplained. Why couldn't they erase anything they damn well please? Isn't the machine been proven to be effective? Why not use a machine that's not effective and just ASSUME it worked? Isn't there any kind of TESTING that's done to a subject after the procedure? Why would he say 'Papa' and 'Mama' if the thing didn't work _AND_ if he's thinking of Shakespeare?!

Also, the whole 'put it to six' has absolutely no bearing or consequences in the movie. So why even have it there? So we can be even MORE worried for the character, WHOSE MIND WAS JUST ERASED?! (As if that's not worrying enough)

Why would she disobey the orders anyway? What is she trying to achieve by the 'level six'-thing? Why doesn't she suffer any consequences for disobeying orders? Why doesn't anyone REALIZE she disobeyed the order? What's supposed to happen at level six, and why didn't it ...

This movie just makes you ask 100 thousand questions so it's kinda impossible to focus on the 'story' or 'plot', not that there is much of either.


'Music by Queen' is kind of exaggeration. There's _ONE_ friggin' song, and it's just repeating a simple chant endlessly, can it even be called 'music'? Queen has sure made songs with actual structure and melody, but this doesn't appear to be one of them. I was waiting for the music to actually BEGIN after they've said that 'Flash, aaaaaa' about eight billion times.

Why is Ming shown to be so omnipotent, powerful and mind-controlling with his beams and rings and whatnot - only to be shown to not have much power after that? Like, this movie can't make up its mind about ANYTHING - it jumps back and forth about everything. We're shown Ming to be ruthless, and he doesn't mind killing someone in front of everyone as if it's no big deal, just like that.

Then, WHY would he suddenly need a stupid, big ritual to kill someone with GAS?

He can hypnotize a woman to be completely erotic and lustful for him, and yet he doesn't keep any woman in that hypnotized state, but lets them think and act freely?

They have all this mind-control tech, but they let the slutty seductress be completely non-controlled? Even AFTER she gets caught for treason, he gets some whipping and some 'worms' that we are never shown or told anything about, but are somehow supposed to think are scary? (Just like the bimbo is supposed to, although she doesn't know what they are - the slutty seductress tells the bimbo about the worms, and the bimbo just states (emotionlessly): "I believe you" instead of asking 'what are those worms?', etc..)

Why would everything be 'prepared for tomorrow' instead of happening immediately? Why doesn't Ming just rape the bimbo right there when he has her in his hypnotic spell? He doesn't even touch her! Why would he always wait for everything, if he can have everything he wants immediately?

So he kills a guy, but can't even touch a woman?


_WHY_ for the love of anything that's decent, would an alien race use the SAME, tired, old, cliché 'here comes the bride' song, as the stupid earthlings do? Don't they DESPISE the Earthians and plan to enslave them? Why take their song as ..

You know, this is just all SO STUPID, and we all know the REAL reason why that song is there - it's there for the same reason that every god damned TV show, movie and whatnot _HAS_ to have a woman-pandering wedding in it. Can you think of a TV show that doesn't have wedding at some point? Even Spaceballs has them, even multiple ones (aborted wedding is still a wedding).

Because even back then, women had to be pandered to. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Why give two people WHIPS for a duel? Whip is not a duel weapon, it's completely inefficient, it can only bring pain through skin lashing, but it can't really injure or kill. Also, in such CLOSE PROXIMITY, using a whip is completely useless - the movie takes some liberties. In real life, those whips would not have been able to be used in such a battle.

From the get-go, the dialogue is SO horrible and nothing makes any sense. A meteor wouldn't have dropped softly onto a bed or ground or a puddle - it would have landed with such speed and ferocity, the ground would've shaken a bit. But no, just have someone throw some rocks two meters in the air and film them landing, that's good enough.

I thought Flash Gordon has some kind of powers, even if just MacGyver-powers or something, but no. He's just a goofy, braindead airhead, who doesn't do anything special. ANYONE could do what he does in the movie. He doesn't have an air of determination, he doesn't radiate competence, there's -nothing- to respect about him. He's just a goofy dork that bumbles from one situation to another nonsensically. Is THAT really what the filmmakers wanted?

I have NEVER seen a movie as nonsensical as this. Not to mention all its other faults.


Just a few more thoughts..

Look at what the actor looks like, when Flash is:

- Sad
- Surprised
- Shocked
- Angry
- Determined
- Infuriated
- Caring about something a lot
- Worried
- Scared

The SAME, damn, dumb wooden look every single time. Who the hell thought this is even mediocre acting? It's not good enough to be even bad acting!

Some more nonsensical things:

We are shown that 3 minutes (and some seconds, but I'll simplify it by only mentioning the minutes) is all Earth has left.

Wait a second - if Earth has 3 minutes left, it means everything on the SURFACE is long gone, it has been destroyed a long time ago, if the whole planet is so close to being completely obliterated.

Altering moon's orbit is going to cause serious problems on planet Earth long before the eleven (why is it ALWAYS 11 or 13?) minutes is up. Even SLIGHT change to the orbit would cause big things to happen.

Not to mention it would alter Earth's orbit around the sun, which would affect the other planets, and so on. But sure, Earth has 3 minutes left and all is well, NO CONSEQUENCES WHATSOEVER before the 3 minutes is up.

Yet another:

Why do the bird people make BIRD-sounds, when they're hit, but never otherwise? The reason why BIRDS make bird-sounds, is that they're the ONLY kind of sounds they can make. They do not have human vocal cords. That's just how it works. But when they can speak like humans, emote like humans, and they can scream, laugh, yell, etc. exactly like humans, with no 'birdlike' sounds whatsoever, WHY THE HECK would they suddenly make bird-sounds when they are hit?! It makes NO SENSE! (What a surprise)

This movie is like an ENDLESS supply of this kind of 'WHAT THE F were they thinking'-moments, I could go on probably for days.


The movies a parody of action sci/fi movies. They probably wanted someone who could give that kind of performance. It fit the movie.





If you watch the original serials, they were pretty silly too. Flash Gordon is an odd duck of a film. Stunning colors and costumes, bad acting, fun sets, and a crazy story made for those without an attention span. As a kid, I loved this movie in all its silliness. As an adult, it's just a fun stupid movie with an awesome soundtrack.


dang, you wrote a lot.
i'm glad you have an outlet to release your fury!

i love flash gordon. it's a very silly film, but it's one that i find endlessly entertaining.
& princess aura still gets my motor running.


Avortac2 I didn't read the whole thing, but I think I got the gist of it.
Flash Gordon is your favorite movie.
Now, care to explain us why?


It’s a guilty pleasure movie when you don’t want to think too hard


This movie is a masterpiece.