Thursday, January 3, 2008

"... before ANNIHILATION!!!"

Sadly enough, my first exposure to the actor Max von Sydow was through Flash Gordon as Ming the Merciless. Not that his performance was bad; he played the character wonderfully, and seriously (or as seriously as the movie was; I'm pretty sure he was having fun playing such an over-the-top villain). But to me, ever since then it's always been "hey, Ming's in another movie!" Not like he needs to worry about typecasting, I think. He's been in everything from The Seventh Seal, where he beats Death in a game (take THAT, Bill and Ted!) to Strange Brew to What Dreams May Come, and just about all points in between. Every movie I've seen him in has been just a little bit better, because he was in it.

He must be a pretty decent actor; he left me with such a strong impression that, 28 years later, whenever I think of the character of Ming, I think of Max von Sydow. So, here you go. This was one of the times when the movie stayed very close to the original design of the character, with one exception. As originally drawn, Ming was a very obvious "Yellow Peril" caricature. By using von Sydow, they took the character about as far from that image as possible. Anyway, I stuck with what worked. Not much of a deviation from the movie design, but I always kinda liked it. I did, however, take it back into a more Asian-influenced look; nothing specifically, but the lines and "detail" are meant to hint at that. Oh yeah, that and the big damn yellow claw hand. That's definitely a throwback to the "Yellow Peril" figure that used to be in old comics, but I thought the hand would be an effective symbol of how "Merciless" Ming was.
I think he and Dracula have similar tailors...

Alright- time for the weekend! These 4-day workweeks are rough.
Music: "Sour Times" - Portishead

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