Friday, 24 April 2015

Flesh Gordon (1974)

Obviously this is a parody of Flash Gordon.  Specifically a sex parody, which was apparently a bit of a thing in the mid-70s.  Ironically in this case the parody predates the official big screen adaptation, being based instead on the old black & white serials starring Buster Crabbe.

Now, I am not one of those people who makes sniffy comments about "Political correctness".  In fact, I tend to interpret such sniffiness to mean "I wish it was still okay to be prejudiced".  If you've read more than a few reviews on this blog, you've probably come across me complaining about sexism or racism at some point, whether it be the skeeviness of Revenge of the Nerds or the bigotry bingo of 300.

I bring this up because Flesh Gordon is what you might call a problematic movie in a lot of ways.  Its main female character exists purely to (1) get rescued, (2) get naked, or (3) get rescued while naked.  Its humour is deeply low-brow, invariably being silly, smutty or scatological in nature (and usually 2 of the 3).  It's the kind of film where the villain is "Wang the Perverted, Emperor of the Planet Porno" and the hero has a penis-shaped rocket ship.

On the other hand, it's also a film which bombards you with so many terrible puns, sight gags, non sequiturs and other goofiness that it's almost certainly going to surprise a laugh out of you at some point (many laughs, in my case).  And it's a film where (one uncomfortable scene with the amazons aside), even the cheapest laughs don't feel mean-spirited.  It may be a film packed with nudity and knob jokes, but it also has this unabashed energy that made me enjoy every minute.

You may watch this film and think it's puerile and stupid and sleazy - and frankly I would have a hard time disputing any of that - but I think there's a pretty good chance you'll find yourself enjoying it nonetheless.

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