Flash Gordon (1981)


 
1. Flash's Theme 2. In the Space Capsule (The Love Theme) 3. Ming's Theme (In the Court of Ming the Merciless) 4. The Ring (Hypnotic Seduction of Dale) 5. Football Fight 6. In the Death Cell (Love Theme Reprise) 7. Execution of Flash 8. The Kiss (Aura Resurrects Flash 9. Arboria (Planet of the Tree Men) 10.Escape from the Swamp 11.Flash to the Rescue 12.Vultan's Theme (Attack of the Hawk Men) 13.Battle Theme 14.The Wedding March 15.Marriage of Dale and Ming (and Flash Approaching) 16.Crash Dive on Mingo City 17.Flash's Theme Reprise (Victory Celebrations) 18.The Hero

 

I'm not sure, but I think it was the 1978 movie "Superman" that started a Hollywood trend of resurrecting old comic book/t.v. heroes from ages ago into new, full fledged movies. This one was one of the non-spectacular ones. I state that on fact, not opinion as I've never seen the film. A band like Queen, however, really was a perfect band for such a venture. When you look back at Queen's early days, their music tended to have a much more fantastical, mythological quality to it that isn't necessarily too far removed from what we have here. Perhaps that's why they were asked to tackle this project.

Sadly, there's really only sparse moments where Queen is really allowed to be Queen on this album. There are very few actual songs, and the majority of the "music" here serves as mood pieces and eerie background noises whilst the characters speak dialog - all of which is included here. You really don't need to be familiar with the story to "get" a lot of this diabolical dialog. Something about an alien creature (who seems very much human) wanting to destroy the Earth. Flash Gordon is the superhero, and his true love is kidnapped by the sinister evil guy from outer space. Or something like that. Really, most of this mood music doesn't sound much like Queen, but then again, it's never really given much of a chance.

Now, fortunately, there are a few actual songs here, and they're great and they rock. They rock pretty hard at that. Probably most have heard, at some point Flash's Theme which definitely has the Queen stamp throughout the song, the steady pulse-like thump-thump-thump- really does add to the menacing touch of the song and the atmosphere. And Queen never sounded as good harmony wise as they belt out "Flash! Ah-ah-ah!" etc. etc. I actually enjoyed the single a bit better since the snippets of movie dialog actually seemed to help the particular piece. It's probably available on one of those "special edition" cds. You have to wait all the way to the end of the album before you hear the only other "real" song here - Brian May's The Hero which is so awesome that you almost wish it could have been reserved for a, you know, real Queen album so it could have received more attention.

The interlude Battle Theme near the middle of the record is also kind of fun to listen to, and whereas The Wedding March isn't really anything spectacular, that's definitely Brian May's wailing guitar, and you have to just bet that there are a handful of Queen fanatics that insisted that this track be played at their actual wedding.

With music purchases now done on a track by track basis in some cases, this is one of those albums that you might be o.k. just getting the first and last song for your collection - unless you absolutely want everything by the band, that is. I can think of worse things to spend $9.99 on....

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