Few could argue the influence of Queen's pounding, exhilarating soundtrack enhanced an already visually stunning piece of work in Flash Gordon. This iconic classic of the 80s benefitted from their additional musical vision, as it did Highlander in its day. This stroke of genius to bring Queen into the project halfway into the films production was one which would set it aside from its peers for years to come. Few documentaries demonstrate the true love of its subject matter and the genre itself, but Director Lisa Downs captures this perfectly in her beautifully shot film that shows the everlasting love of this timeless classic - Nearly 40 years after it first hit our cinema screens. Dino De Laurentiis provided the mega budget to get his vision of Flash onto the big screen, and after a number of stop starts and issues documented in the film his vision of Flash Gordon was finally cast. We were introduced to the blonde haired, blue eyed, ex marine Sam Jones (Except he was not originally blonde, nor blue eyed!) Sam J Jones is one of the "Lost to Hollywood" elite and were it not for some bad decisions (most of which Sam himself acknowledges) he really could have been something big. However, all being said one cannot argue the true love of the man amongst his friends, family and peers alike. The years have mellowed Sam and he is finally at peace with the painful memories of how he was treated by Dino and how his love of the Hollywood life waned. We now get to see a compassionate, loving, caring and sensitive family man who deserves all the love life can bring him. Now stable in his own skin he remains grounded and one of the most sought after and universally loved members of the Film convention circuit (Point of note, we don't see you enough over here in the UK Sam). He shows genuine consideration, true love and respect for his fans, and this is returned in abundance by the fans who adore him. Few can argue this tower of a man is worth every bit of that adulation. The documentary itself covers all aspects of the production of the film from casting issues, issues between Sam and Dino, as well as Brian Mays input how Queens stunning score was written and completed. There is considerable input from the main players of the film: Sam himself, the still stunningly beautiful Melody Anderson, the power force that is Brian Blessed (who shares the rudest anecdotes), Topol, Deep Roy as well as the sadly missed Peter Wyngarde who was the understated star of the hit 70s series Jason King. Coupled with valuable input from Peter Duncan, Richard O'Brien (The film sadly missing any input from Max Von Sydow or Timothy Dalton) as well as how the film influenced a number of celebrity fans including Robert Rodriguez and Michael Rooker. My only gripe being a little too much input from Rich Fulcher (Of Mighty Boosh fame) who merely uses it a means to enhance his own unique brand of humour. This small gripe aside there is valuable insight to the overall dimensions of the film, how it enhanced their lives and subsequent careers. There really is something for any fan of this 1980s classic. Life After Flash proves the director has understood the overall dynamic of what is required for this type of fan film. Was Flash Gordon cheesy? Is it camp? Who knows, who cares - What it is and was is a visually stunning piece of work, ahead of its time and still universally loved by many. The documentary gives the fan base what it wants. An honest, at times gritty piece of work that utilises all of the skill sets that made the original film so great. Beautifully shot, with a lovely intro scene, genuine intimate feel and ultimately left me wanting to see more. With both the Blu Ray and DVD (Region Free) having slightly different special features there is much more to see once the film is over, most of which was worthy of inclusion within the film. True to form its directed in a way so as not to underplay any of those Special Features, taking nothing away from the film itself, and allowing us to enjoy these events separately. A must watch for any fan of this genre, not just fans of the film!
I understand this is the start of a "Life After....." series with Life After Navigator being the next in focus. With much work already completed on this Lisa is definitely a Director to keep an eye on