There are very few movies that can surprise me these days, and Barbarella happens to be one of them. The film has classic written all over it, and there are so many things packed, the editing so tight, each frame filled with so much 'oddities', wow! Just wow! Perhaps the sad part about watching this movie is realizing that it is impossible movies like this will be made at present time. However, I am fortunate that streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video and Netflix
are keeping stuff like this online, so a new generation of fans like me could be created.
Right, so, the movie. Let's see with the plot here. The plot means a lot only if we understand the setting. The setting is that of some futuristic society where space ships and interplanetary is real. (yes, if you like such settings, please check out my novel
, and buy it, of course) The culture is such that all savageness has been removed (this means, there is literally no concept of shame, killing and other human stuff, if you know what I mean) and people are used to it. For instance, our heroine stands in her birthday suit talking to her boss, and neither of them reacts to the state, for such emotions have long been lost.
Some super cool engineer has built some weapon (although weapons are banned) and he was on some mission. He is now lost and it is now up to Barbarella to find it. Obviously, she takes that mission. Although, why she is the chosen one is never explained. It is difficult to care as well because she is mostly undressed most of the time. Now, the movie does objectify her like crazy, but the thing is, the movie objectifies men as well. Any man in the movie who is even half way good looking, is wearing nothing or wearing something to cover the essentials. The movie is sexist, but it is an equal opportunity sexist so people of all orientations can enjoy and chill out.
Other than the obvious sexism (of both genders), the movie is filled with craziness of all sorts. The special effects are all very well done. It is all practical effects, so what you see what you get. Despite growing up in the golden age of special effects, I found the effects interesting and appealing. The visuals are crazy and makes you wonder every minute, 'what were they thinking'. If not the effects there is also the thing about sets. There is the space ship interior set, and then there is that north pole kind of set, then there is that underground hell set, and then that flying action scene set, then that sleeping room set, and the torture room set, the underground revolution set and the final living planet kills everybody set.
There are so many sets, and each of them is filled with enormous contraptions. Each set has a unique sensibility about it, and perhaps on repeat viewings I will be able to get in more of it. The movie begs to be watched multiple if only to take in all that is happening on the screen. The writing is extremely good, and the cheesy dialogue complements what is happening on screen. A lot of things dont make sense (like the many, many revealing outfits that Jane 'hot' Fonda wears) but it does not matter.
For all its crazy sets, hammy acting and over the top effects, there is a lot of meta commentary going on in the movie. I could catch a few about human nature, and I am sure, repeat viewings will reveal the genius of the entire movie. I also feel that the actress was in on the sexism and the comedy nature of the movie. She does an excellent job, and perhaps that proves her acting ability for she went on to win two oscars, later in life. Yeah, she totally was in on most of the jokes and sexual objectification.
While I am sure I will watch it again and again, I need to now go and find other cult movies like this. The movie also makes me watch star trek classic episodes for some reason. Yep, got to do that. Follow me on twitter, facebook and instagram for more updates. Thanks!