|Submitted by Chris Jackson |
(Feb 25, 2006)
This review refers to the Catcom Video/Capitol/EMI release of Flash Gordon Conquers The Universe.
I bought this serial at The Bargain! Shop for $4.97 and didn't know what to expect. I knew from the back that they advertised it as the original, uncut version, but whether or not that was true I had yet to be determine. When I got it home and watched the first chapter, I was pleasantly surprised that to see that it was, in fact, the uncut, original version of the serial with the actual chapter titles and endings. The reason I was concerned about it being the original was because I owned a VHS version called "Flash Gordon: space Soldiers Conquer The Universe" which did not have the original chapter titles, just chapter 1, chapter 2 and so on. Worse, each chapter would end with "The End" which infuriated me because it cheapened the effect of the "come back to this theatre next week for..." tagline that usually have at the end of a chapter.
As for the picture quality, I was pleasantly surprised as the picture was almost perfect! Sure, there were a few scratches here and there, but otherwise the picture was great! The sound came across very well too. The plot, for those who may not have seen the serial, concerns Ming The Merciless wreaking havoc on Earth once again, this time with his deadly dust which causes a purple rash on the face of the unfortunate victim, that his ships are polluting the atmosphere with. It's up to Flash Gordon, along with his companions Dale Arden and Dr. Hans Zarkov to find out where the dust is coming from and prevent him from using his newest weapon to destroy Earth. Along the way, he meets up again with his old friend Prince Baron and gets mixed up in another plot to rescue Princess Aura, who is being held in Ming's Palace. During the rescue attempt you'll notice some touches that George Lucas used when he had Luke Skywalker rescue Princess Leia, as both characters (Flash and Ronal) were disguised with armor helmets in the same way Luke and Han were disguised as Storm Troopers. Also, beginning with Chapter Two notice how the Forward text scrolls up the screen? that's where George got his idea for the Star Wars chapter openings!
Yes, the special effects are obviously outdated, but then again, lightening bolt rays are more noticeable than they were on the VHS version I owned, where they just looked like thin scratches on the screen, here, they're thicker and more in line with the special effects of "Flash Gordon's Trip To Mars", which I saw a long time ago in the early 1980s on the "Switchback" TV series on the CBC.
However, there's more on this disc than just the serial,also on this Disc are classic TV commercials featuring Captain Video toys of the future, a Kellog's Frosted Flakes Superman TV commercial with George Reeves, a Steve Canyon Jet Pilot Helmet ad, an ad advertising all that the theatres of the 60's had to offer in candy and food, and to top it all off originalan Max Fleisher Superman and Betty Boop cartoon!
For the price I paid for this DVD, this is a real bargain!