ABC Film Challenge – 80s Movies – O – Flash Gordon (1980) Movie Review

We are under O because of star Ornella Muti.

Director: Mike Hodges

Writer: Lorenzo Semple Jr, Michael Allin (Screenplay) Alex Raymond (Characters)

Starring: Sam J Jones, Melody Anderson, Max von Sydow, Topol, Ornella Muti, Timothy Dalton, Brian Blessed

Plot: A football player and his friends travel to the planet Mongo and find themselves fighting the tyranny of Ming the Merciless to save Earth.


Runtime: 1 Hour 51 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Gloriously over the Top

Story: Flash Gordon starts when Flash Gordon (Jones), Dale Arden (Anderson) and Dr Zarkov (Topol) accidently leave Earth finding themselves on the planet Mongo, face to face with their evil ruler The Emperor Ming (von Sydow).

After becoming captured, Flash must search for his friends, break out and defeat the evil Emperor Ming to save planet Earth.

Thoughts on Flash Gordon

Characters – Flash Gordon is a star football player whose latest adventures ends up taking him to space, where he clashes with an evil emperor, one that wants to destroy Earth. He must first learn the culture of the new planet, before stepping up to become the hero both planets require. Dale is the girlfriend of Flash, she hates flying and is the damsel in distress that is often needed rescuing. The Emperor Ming has been ruling Mongo for years, keeping the land in his fear and always looking to expand to other planets, with his latest target being Earth, ready for his destruction. We meet the leaders of the different kingdoms, where they rule under Ming, only they are waiting for a chance to reach a level to escape him and fight for the freedom of the land.

PerformancesSam J Jones is a lot of fun in the leading role, he embraces the film to make his character stand out, Max von Sydow is one of the few actors that could always play a villain and here he makes him a truly enjoyable campy villain. The rest of the cast do a good job through the film, they all understand how their characters are meant to be performed.

StoryThe story here follows an America footballer that ends up on a new planet, where he must help unite the planet in an attempt to fight back against an evil emperor that has been looking to destroy Earth. This is a story that brings to life a massively ambitious world that understands it isn’t going to take anything too seriously and just wants to have fun. The story is all about trying to make sure the rebels could fight back against an evil leader, with the right leader and inspiration. While we do see the brutality of the villain, it does seem to become tamer as the film unfolds, where others do most of the evil side of his work.

Action/Adventure/Sci-FiThe action is laser shooting, fights, which including football tackles and plenty of over the top situations, with the adventure take Flash to a new world, in space, a perfect creation for the sci-fi side of the film, where everything works well for the future style for the time.

SettingsThe film takes us to a new planet Mongo, where we have the different creation per kingdom, one with a futuristic world throughout.

Special EffectsThe effects have dated, but they would have worked for the release to complete play into the cheesy style of the film.


Scene of the Movie – The final showdown.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It is too random how Flash just randomly goes to space.

Final Thoughts This is a full blown cheese fest of a movie, it is enjoyable because nothing is taken seriously and could be one everyone gets a kick out of.

Overall: Cheesy Fun.

The Last Flight of Noah’s Ark (1980) Movie Review

Director: Charles Jarrott

Writer: Steven W Carabatsos, Sandy Glass, George Arthur Bloom (Screenplay) Ernest K Gann (Story)

Starring: Elliott Gould, Genevieve Bujold, Ricky Schroder, Vincent Gardenia, Tammy Lauren, John Fujioka, Yuki Shimoda

Plot: When a plane carrying various animals makes a forced landing on a desert island, the only chance to escape is to convert the plane into a boat.


Tagline – On a wing and a prayer… they built a legend.

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Nice Little Adventure

Story: The Last Flight of Noah’s Ark starts as debt riddled Noah Dugan (Gould) is given a chance to clear some of his debts with a flight for a missionary Bernadette Lafleur (Bujold) who is trying to take some animals to a remote island in the Pacific, knowing how difficult the flight is with animals, Noah reluctantly agrees, unaware children Bobby (Schroder) and Julie (Lauren) have boarded the plane.

When the plane ends up going off course, the plane lands on another island, one that still has Japanese soldiers on believing the war is still on going and they must try and put the differences aside to survive the island.

Thoughts on The Last Flight of Noah’s Ark

Characters – Noah Dugan has left himself in debt to loan sharks that are looking to get their money back, he has 24-hours to find the funds, which sees him turn to every person who could give him a pilot job, with his last resort being Stoney, a flight he doesn’t want to make, but sees as his chance to escape for now. He doesn’t like the idea of animals and once he learns the children have joined it only makes him grumpier, even if he will always try to do the right thing. Bernadette Lafleur is the missionary looking to make a difference on an island colony, she is leaving the orphanage to make this happen, with the word of God by her side, she is the one that always remains calm during each crisis they face. Bobby and Julie are the two children that sneak onto the plane as they want to be with their animals, they just make everything more difficult for the adults.

PerformancesElliott Gould in the leading role is great to watch, he reacts like any normal person through the situations they handle. Genevieve Bujold is strong too being the opposite to Gould through the film, while the child stars do bring the annoying side required.

StoryThe story follows a reluctant pilot and the missionary group he is transporting crash land on an island and they must figure out how to get off the island alive. This story is focused on putting aside differences to achieve things, with the opposite mindset of both Noah and Bernadette needing to show they can both help each other escape the island. It does try to reflect the biblical story of Noah’s ark, which is doesn’t reach the levels of in anyway, but ends up doing everything right for a safe escape from desert island story.

Adventure The adventure side of the film is all about trying to survive the island, it does let the children feel like they are enjoying themselves.

SettingsThe film is set mostly on the desert island, it looks beautiful and has everything you would expect to see on one, working perfectly for the film.


Scene of the Movie – Set sail.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – How did they get the cow in the boat part?

Final Thoughts This is an interesting adventure that checks off the boxes with ease, has a strong lead with a safe adventure to survive.

Overall: Enjoyable Adventure.

ABC Film Challenge – Oscar Nominated – E – The Elephant Man (1980)

Director: David Lynch

Writer: Christopher De Vore, Eric Bergren, David Lynch (Screenplay) Frederick Treves (Book)

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller, Freddie Jones

 

Plot: A Victorian surgeon rescues a heavily disfigured man who is mistreated while scraping a living as a side-show freak. Behind his monstrous façade, there is revealed a person of intelligence and sensitivity.


Tagline – I am not an animal! I am a human being! I…am…a man!

Runtime: 2 Hour 4 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Essential Viewing

 

Story: The Elephant Man starts when Victorian surgeon Frederick Treves (Hopkins) discovers a heavily deformed man John Merrick (Hurt) being used as a side-show freak by Bytes (Jones). Frederick sees the potential in searching for a cure and a break through in science by showing the fellow doctors that he can help John.

However, over time, Frederick learns that underneath all the deformities, John is an intelligent man that is no different than any other man in the world, but not everybody else in the city of London, wants John to have his freedom.

 

Thoughts on The Elephant Man

 

Characters – Frederick Treves is a surgeon that has the respect of London because of the incredible work he has achieved through the years. He learns of John and wants to help him, he soon learns that he is just like him, smart, educated and must learn to teach the world to accept John. John Merrick is the Elephant Man, a side-show freak to the man who hold shim captive, once rescued he learns that not everybody in the world is wanting to laugh or scream at him, some want to help him live a normal life, inside he is a kind sensitive man that only wants to live like any other man. Mrs Kendal is a celebrity in London who is the first to help John in the public light, showing the people just how gentle and intelligent John is.

PerformancesAnthony Hopkins in the leading role is fantastic, show the world that he could pick up the intelligent role perfectly while showing the kind nature behind his character. John Hurt is the true star of the film, he brings the kind nature to the man that others look at with fear, he shows the bravery to be different in the society that only looks down on people that were different. The rest of the cast are strong throughout the film, they show us the emotional impact the film would have on the people involved.

StoryThe story here follows the relationship between doctor Frederick Treves and John Merrick, we see how Frederick saves John from the life of misery, lets him be respected and shows him another side of life away from the freak shows in which he had been trapped in. the story shows us just how cruel the people of the Victoria era were towards people that looked different. Through the story we get to see a fine balance between the men that wanted to use John for financial profit and Frederick that was willing to have him at the forefront of his determination to be remembered for what he bought to science, this one does turn into friendship, but the first impression are clearly there.

BiopicWe follow the time between John Merrick and Frederick Treves as we see the men with similar education and desires in life are both in very different worlds, together they help show the world, just because John looked different, it didn’t make him a bad person, unlike the people that uses him for their own gain.

SettingsThe film is set in the Victorian era London, it shows the difference in class between the people and how the people would have been entertained by seeing someone different.


Scene of the Movie –
I am a human being.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The way John was treated.

Final ThoughtsThis is a wonderful biopic, it shows how cruel the world was towards John Merrick and how the people that wanted a change showed the world he was just like them.

 

Overall: Must watch biopic.

Rating

 

 

Martin Scorsese Weekend – Raging Bull (1980)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Writer: Paul Schrader, Mardik Martin (Screenplay) Jake LaMotta, Joseph Carter, Peter Savage (Book)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci, Frank Vincent, Nicholas Colasanto, Maria Gallo

 

Plot: An emotionally self-destructive boxer’s journey through life, as the violence and temper that leads him to the top in the ring destroys his life outside it.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Over Hyped Boxing Film

 

Story: Raging Bull starts in 1941 the Bronx, New York City where we meet boxer Jake La Motta (De Niro) and his promoter, sparing partner and brother Joey (Pesci). The two look to set up the next fighter even though the married Jake spots the 15-year-old Vickie (Moriarty) who has connections with the mob.

Through the 40’s Jake remains unbeaten and marries Vickie and on the verge of a potential title fight. With his career taking off, his personal life is starting to fall apart as he becomes paranoid about what Vickie is doing with his violent side coming through.

 

Thoughts on Raging Bull

 

Characters/PerformanceJake is a brilliant boxer, one of the best of his generation but his out the ring temper causes more problems in his life as he is insecure about his wife’s loyalty, his brother’s loyalty and the people in his life. Vickie is the long-suffering wife that must deal with the temper of Jake while trying to retain a personal life against his wishes. Joey is the brother of Jake who also trains and books his fights but the two are always at conflict with each other.

Performance wise, De Niro is great through this film and you can see why people rave of his performance but I feel and we know he is capable of even better now. Pesci does a good job in what must have been a break through role for him. With Moriarty in her debut hanging with the big names very well.

StoryThe story does follow the career of Jake La Motta from small time boxer to champion to what happens to him after his career in the ring is over, we follow his paranoia in his personal life which comes out in his aggression. If you are into your boxing history you will enjoy the story otherwise you might not connect as well.

Biography/SportsLooking at the career is interesting but I do feel other boxing films are painted a more interesting career, the boxing itself looks fantastic through the film.

SettingsThe settings show us the time we are seeing the events unfold in which is done well throughout.

Final ThoughtsThis is a boxing film that I have heard huge things about, but I didn’t find myself getting engaged with the story in the way I was expecting and found elements of this film kind of boring.

 

Overall: This is one of the most popular boxing films of all time but it won’t make the top of any of my lists.

Rating

 

 

Cannibal Apocalypse (1980)

Director: Antonio Margheriti

Writer: Antonio Margheriti, Dardano Sacchetti (Screenplay) Dardano Sacchetti (Story)

Starring: John Saxon, Elizabeth Turner, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Cinzia De Carolis, Tony King, Wallace Wilkinson

 

Plot: Giovanni Lambardo Radice and John Saxon are Vietnam vets that bring back contagious virus that turn people into cannibals when bitten.


Tagline – When you think you’ve seen it all…think again.

Runtime: 1 Hour 36 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Splatter Fest

 

Story: Cannibal Apocalypse starts as two men return from Vietnam Norman Hopper (Saxon) who returned to his family with the nightmares still haunting him and Charlie (Radice) who has been recovering from a virus he caught while over there.

While both have become infected by the virus which causes them to want human flesh, but keeping their human form, Charlie finds himself causing a siege in public, while Norman has the nightmares reminding him what happened and tries to talk Charlie down. As the virus the two have starts to spread the mayhem unfolds for the latest infected.

 

Thoughts on Cannibal Apocalypse

 

Characters – Norman is one of the soldier that returned from Vietnam, he was bitten by fellow soldier, but has gone back to his normal life apart from the seductive girl next door. Norman is one of the few people that has battled the virus without giving into it. Charlie was infected for longer and returns like an abandoned veteran, he is drawn to the cannibalism, as he starts to spread the virus. Mary is the neighbour of Norman that gets the school girl crush on him which leaves her facing the trouble of what he could become.

PerformancesJohn Saxon is the big drawn in this movie, he is a popular horror actor and you can see why, best in an authority role and the captain of a unit works for the performance he must give here. Giovanni is good as the unhinged man trying to get used to the new state he finds himself in. both Turner and Carolis are good but this films never wrote the women to be strong.

StoryThe story does offer a different spin on the zombie movie, we have the spread of a virus which turns people into flesh eaters, but they do keep their brains about them which is the unique take on the film. the film does also play into the idea that we never know what could have come back from a warzone in virus form. For the style of film the story works without being anywhere near testing for the audience.

Horror/Sci-FiMost of the horror comes from the gore, which is as gruesome for the time as you could imagine. The sci-fi elements come from the idea a virus could spread the way it does.

SettingsThe setting show us how the virus spreads from the warzone to the big cities and how hard it would be to contain.

Special EffectsThe effects are practical, they work for the gore shows the team could work with the budget.


Scene of the Movie –
Who needs eyes

That Moment That Annoyed Me The best gore moments are edited too much.

Final ThoughtsIf you were a fan of the 80’s gore based movies, this one will be one for you, but if you want a deeper story you will not be enjoying this one.

 

Overall: 80’s Horror fans enjoy.

Rating