The year is 40,000. After peaceful floating in zero-gravity, astronaut Barbarella lands on the frozen planet Lythion and sets out to find renowned scientist Durand Durand in the City of Night, Sogo, where a new sin is invented every hour. There, she encounters such objects as the Excessive Machine, a genuine sex organ on which an expert artist of the keyboard, in this case, Durand Durand himself, can drive a victim to death by pleasure, a lesbian queen who can make her fantasies take form in her Chamber of Dreams, and a group of ladies smoking a giant hookah which dispenses Essence of Man through a poor victim struggling in its glass globe. You can not help but be impressed by the special effects crew and the various ways that were found to tear off what minimal clothes our heroine seemed to possess. Written by
'Camp: so outrageously artificial, affected, inappropriate, or out-of-date as to be considered amusing.'
'Barbarella: Queen of the Galaxy' is the epitome of 'camp.' The year was 1968, I was in my first year of graduate school, about to get married. I knew of 'Barbarella' but I had never seen it, until today. I think waiting 36 years has actually made the experience better. This is not by any definition a good movie. Jane Fonda, a very bright actress, plays Barbarella suitably as an 'innocent' sent on a mission to a distant galaxy to find the Earthling scientist Durand Durand and bring him back, along with his invention. The story itself is secondary, the charm of the movie resides in all the sexual situations that innocent Barbarella finds herself in. A perfect vehicle for the wild 1960s. The package blurb says 'she acts like a female James Bond.' Hardly. More like a female Austin Powers, and some of the characters would have fit better in a Monty Python movie.
The DVD is fine for an old movie, although blemishes are quite evident. What puzzles me is the 'PG' rating listed on the package and the disk. The opening scene, of Barbarella getting out of her space suit in the weightlessness of her spacecraft, clearly shows her breasts, and her nude butt. Very nice breasts and butt, at that, nonetheless inconsistent with a 'PG' rating. Plus many other scenes in the movie show groups of men and women in alluring positions, again with some obvious female nudity. So anyone who plans to view this movie with those under 18 should be aware of this. For an adult audience, it should not be an issue at all.
May 2013 update: It is now on Netflix streaming movies, with a rating of "R", and comes across very well.
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