Life After Flash Blu-ray Review


Flash Forward

Based on the interviews compiled in Life After Flash, it’s easy to see why Flash Grodon became the eccentric classic it is. The divergent personalities on display, from Brian Blessed’s wonderfully animated self to Topo’s relaxed responses, tell their story even without words.

The title of this documentary misleads a bit. Most of the time, Life After Flash tells the production history of Dino De Laurentiis’ pulp icon. That primarily involves star Sam Jones – who left Flash Gordon before post-production – and his life journey. It’s engaging, and Jones’ path from realizing his ego faults to turning into a family man is a joy. Good on Jones. But this is the Flash Gordon story.

From producers to stars to bit parts, the number of interviews builds an exhaustive document on what happened to make Flash Gordon the oddity it will forever be. Stories of being on set, the fear De Laurentiis instilled in the production, and creative clashes over tone build a narrative that makes sense when paired with the finished movie. Brian May makes an appearance too, discussing Queen’s mesmerizing score and theme song, even playing a bit of the piano riff. It’s gold.

Those still around from Flash Gordon speak candidly, even lovingly, about the awkward ‘80s child they were part of

There is a theme running through all of this – Hollywood systems that leave a potential breakout star sidelined based on typical ego clashes. Life After Flash isn’t inherently sympathetic (Sam Jones admits his own faults and efforts to fix his errors), but understanding, while giving credence to both sides. Behaviors described on set reveal a typical war of perspectives and styles. Jones’ career came out as the casualty.

Life After Flash doesn’t shy from darker topics either. There’s genuine emotion here, from the tragic death of Jones’ brother and Jones’ own suicide attempt. Real tears; that’s not for show, and giving Life After Flash credibility.

It all ends happily. Life After Flash is a story that took decades to find conclusion. Those still around from Flash Gordon speak candidly, even lovingly, about the awkward ‘80s child they were part of. Jones put everything together, earning hilarious guest spots in Ted and its sequel, working as an international bodyguard, while interacting with fans at various conventions. Turns out that life post-Flash, once past the turmoil, isn’t so bad. Everyone interviewed from Flash Gordon found their place in culture. For Jones, it’s a hell of a personal redemption story.

sam jones

Video

Shot over a period of years, video quality runs the gamut. At the best, expect decent, somewhat clear digital material. Resolution always carries a pinched quality. Detail never breaks out. Softness wins.

Certain interviews become swarmed by noise, smearing and artifacting with every movement. Others find themselves hit by noise reduction, flattening the quality with a messy aesthetic.

Based on locations, elements like contrast and depth fluctuate wildly. Clipping from outdoor sun wipes texture. Flat images pulled from convention floors look, well, like a convention floor with overhead fluorescent lights. Clips of Flash Gordon come from the ugly DNR’d Universal master, made worse by further compression.

Note there is a moment where the screen goes black for a few seconds, as if some text went missing to bridge two scenes.

Audio

Inconsistency follows Life After Flash into this Dolby Digital stereo track. Generally, it’s fine. Interviewees speak with clarity and audibility. That assumes nothing else is happening. When Queen’s score begins in the background, that overcomes the dialog, creating a confusing mash-up of lyrics and spoken words.

Also note an interview with the Italian poster designer goes untranslated. Life After Flash contains no subtitles, and that goes for foreign language speakers too.

Extras

Seven additional interview clips expand on the finished piece; consider them extended scenes. A fun script read follows, along with stills and a trailer gallery.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Life After Flash
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
4

Movie

Following the production history of Flash Gordon, Life After Flash recounts stories from those who were starred – especially Sam Jones.

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