Friday, September 9, 2016

Sci Fi Top 100, #86: "Barbarella" (1968)

Movie Stats:
Released 1968 (USA)
French & Italian, in English (a minuscule amount of non-translated French; non-translated, made-up alien languages)
Director - Roger Vadim
Stars - Jane Fonda, Milo O’Shea, John Phillip Law, Anita Pallenberg

Plot Summary:
In the distant future, Barbarella (Fonda) is sent by her government to find missing scientist Durand Durand (O’Shea). Law co-stars as Barbarella’s new angel acquaintance, Pygar, and Pallenberg as the evil tyrant of an alien planet.

Extensive female nudity (mostly breasts, minor butt), violence, minor gore, heavily referenced sexy times.

Bad Stuff:
Oh look, another 1960s movie that requires drug use to enjoy.

Barbarella is a sexually naive character that is basically taught during the course of the film to use sex as a commodity, as in “I saved your life, therefore you should have sex with me.” That made me very uncomfortable.

Once the novelty wears off, it’s a little boring.

The soundtrack is terrible.

Good Stuff:
It’s kind of funny.

On the flip side of the sex stuff, I liked that Barbarella is a shamelessly sexual woman (one character does slut shame her but he’s the bad guy so fie on him).

Loved the costuming.

It had a lot of interesting ideas about the future.

The Verdict:
I actually saw this once before. I recalled it as silly and harmless, and was frankly surprised to find it on a list of top 100 films. I figured that, with multiple added years to my age since the last time I saw it, I would probably hate it this time around. I didn’t hate it. I don’t think it’s a great film, but there’s a lot of fun in it. I enjoyed the sexual freedom of it, and the ideas about love and peace. It was very 1960s. Also, there were quite a few sayings/scenes that I recognized, in that they’ve been used/referenced in popular culture these last 50ish years. I didn’t know that they came from this film. Clearly, it’s iconic, and that’s why it ended up on this list.

I give it 3 stars.


Patricia said...

Interesting about the things that came from this film that have made their way into popular culture. That made me slightly interested.

Also I laughed out loud at the 1960s/drug use required comment.

balyien said...

One of the characters is named Durand Durand. Which was a pleasant shock. Wikipedia tells me that Duran Duran is indeed named after him, likely inspired by a club they used to go to called Barbarella's. There were also some quotes that I recognized from it, although I've already forgotten them.