Let's get some facts straight;
1) Flash Gordon did not herald in the new era of costumes superheroes. That honor goes to the Jerry Siegel and Joes Schuster, and one or two other independent writers.
2) the Flash Gordon movie that mister Sam Jones starred in was written by a screenwriter who, on the DVD , states that he was only familiar with the Italian version of the comic, when it was in fact an American who wrote it.
3) the film nearly flopped horribly, largely because it's a campy film, when the original Flash Gordon, though low budget, was meant as a serious piece of children's entertainment to teach values through adventures.
I worked in the local video and film industry for a small number of years, and on the few independent features I worked on, both producers and directors were understanding. And the film quality here in the San Francisco Bay Area artistically was by far superior to anything shot in Hollywood. Regrettably distribution and industry connections are a different story. The point here being that if you needed money, you could always go and ask for some to keep you afloat. And if there wasn't any money, you could get food. And if you couldn't any of that, you could get an outstanding recommendation for a job interview which would land you a job, even if it was temporary.
As an atheist, I see this piece as a love letter to both the really tragicially and comically awful film that this is as well as mister Jone's faith. How unfortunate on both accounts. The film itself is so-so. And I think real fans probably wanted a trim athletic upper middle income polo player with both athletic ability, suave, good looks, and smarts to take on Ming in what should have been an updated 80s high tech adventure. What we got was a sendup of the comic with the stereotypical low IQ jock that has a bit of a "awe shucks" attitude about him. And that, good people, is why it failed.
The Flash Gordon comic is a bit of a visual homage to John Carter of Mars. But unlike John Carter, Gordon doesn't have super natural ability, just his own inherit athleticism and smarts to thwart Ming. Flash can fence, flash can fly, flash knows upper class society, and so has a kind of understanding of the nobility that surround Ming's royal household. But you never get that from the awful remake.
I've never been a big Dino DeLaurentis fan. To me he's the king of the B-movie, and his history of low budget extravaganza's is long and distinguished. However, the one thing that he and I would agree on is that Flash Gordon needed a serious update. But instead the film that was produced catered to edge male counter culture. How tiresome. And in all candor, I think the documentary is even lying here in that De Laurentiss probably knew the kind of film that was being made, and why it was made the way it was; i.e. expose mainstream hetero culture to high camp to promote social harmony between disparate social circles.
Finally, this is more of a film about mister Sam Jones than a documentary about the film itself. My biological parents were, at one time, the most powerful family on the face of the Earth. No joke. But they had the sense not to raise me as high profile Hollywood trash who break laws and never see a day of jail time, much less fines for breaking this nation's most serious laws against illegal drugs (the syndicates of which kill people, traffic not just drugs but also sex slaves and run extortion rackets). So, one is given to wonder just how it is that this film is made, how it is given the attention that it is, and whether the people being interviewed truly and honestly believe their own "rhetoric".
Like I say, I'm tempted to give it two stars, but it's technically competent enough to give it three. As a background piece on the Flash Gordon remake from the 80s, it's adequate, but is overshadowed by the larger biopic on mister Jones.