184 of 197 people found the following review helpful
You want classic Sci Fi with visionary special effects and mind-bending themes? Check out STAR WARS or 2001! You want a zero gravity striptease, costumes that fall off at a moment's notice, and a space craft with wall to wall shag carpeting traveling through a lava lamp? BARBARELLA fits the bill! This is the widescreen DVD version with no edits. Although I have heard rumors of a more racy cut somewhere out there, this is not the PG rerelease from the 70s. See the movie Jane Fonda wants you to forget! Too bad because she's sexy, funny, and beautiful here. Groove to the soundtrack of Phil Spector rip-offs, watch in awe as she seduces ... well... everyone in the film (incuding a female tyrant with a horn!). But still, it's pretty tame and innocent fun. I watch this when I want to be in a good mood. It's silly, fluffy fun! A pink bunny if you will.
54 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2002
Roger Vadim's sexy sci-fi opus starring his then wife Jane Fonda as the outer space adventuress Barbarella opens with the now famous strip-tease scene over the opening credits. Fonda peels out of her space suit accompanied by the sexy sixties pop theme song. She is totally nude but discretely covered here and there by her arm or a letter from the credits. You can still see her breasts anyway. Based on a notorious French comic strip character, this futuristic saga is more of a fetishistic ode by Vadim to Fonda's kittenish sexuality. Through all of her sexual escapades throughout the film, he focuses (like he did with Bardot) on her beauty and body whether nude or clad in skimpy "futuristic" costumes. What stuns me is this got a "PG" on DVD. It's too raunchy for a "PG". Parents should be cautioned before letting their kids see this. Although, older boys will find it a turn on like their fathers did---but it's very campy and a lot of the humor will be lost on today's generation. Still, it's a nice time capsule for what the sixties had going on and Fonda is beautiful.
73 of 82 people found the following review helpful
on June 22, 2001
This film, along with other stunning classics such as "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls," are sure proof that the age of really, really bad yet good films is behind us. Set in the 41st Century, the hypersexual Barbarella goes in search of the evil renegade scientist Duran Duran and manages to stumble across what must be the grooviest planet this side of "Vegas in Space." In her quest to find Duran Duran ("Pardon me, but do you know Duran Duran?"), Barbarella manages to shag half the planet and pique the prurient interest of the evil, yet uber-sensual bisexual queen ("hello, my pretty, pretty"). After demolishing the amazing Orgasmatron and getting herself locked into the queen's funky chamber of dreams, Barbarella saves the day with a bubble of goodness and some help from her blind angel friend Pygor. The unbelievably bad acting in this film is very well counterbalanced by the fabulous Pucciesque fun fur sets and amazing special effects (i.e. Everytime Barbarella has an orgasm her hair instantaneously perms itself!) It's impossible, given our current climate of cynicism, to produce good quality camp like this today. All attempts to reproduce a movie this overwhelmingly bad would just have to fail. Yet, I cannot recommend this film highly enough - run, do not walk, to see it.
38 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2008
I can remember standing in a long line to get in to see this movie back in 1968, the year it was originally released. I was 12 years old, and my dad had dropped off me and my best friend, thinking that we were going to watch another juvenille sci-fi extravaganza, for which I had developed an extreme fondness. It was the dead of winter and there was snow falling, but we perservered, having heard that we would have the opportunity to see Jane Fonda buck naked, and, above all else, we wanted to be the first in our school to lay claim to that dubious achievement. However, the lady in the ticket booth had other ideas. Although we were 12 years old, we looked no older than 9 or 10, which didn't matter anyway, since we needed to be 16 to get into the movie. So, we didn't see "Barbarella", or Jane Fonda's flaunted nudity, and my father had to immediately turn around and make an 18 mile drive back to pick us up in falling snow, with my mom lecturing him, loudly, all the way home about "parental responsibility" and "pornography". And so it was that, 40 years later, give or take, I decided to order "Barbarella" from Amazon and find out what the fuss was all about and why I couldn't get into see this movie back when it first came out.
Well, for starters, there is nudity, for sure, but it's often fleeting and almost demure. There are breasts, a glimpse of buttocks, and...wait...was that what it looked like? Hard to tell and, at this stage, even harder to care. Jane looks good in the title role and she's funny; "Barbarella" may have been the last time that she was allowed to demonstrate any comic ability in a film for almost a decade. Sure, she was sensational in "Klute", perfection in "Julia" and "Coming Home", but she was a lot more fun in "Barbarella".
There's not much plot worth writing about. Barbarella is a sort of agent for the planet Earth, who drifts through the universe correcting wrongs and fighting evildoers. She travels in an outrageous spaceship driven by a computer that talks to her (not unlike HAL in "2001"). The always watchable David Hemmings is on hand as handsome Dildano, with whom she engages in a literal hand-to-hand sex ritual; hirsute Ugo Tognazzi engages her the old-fashioned way, leaving her sated and singing. And John Phillip Law is both blind and blonde as the angel Pygar, who manages to offend the Black Queen (Anita Pallenberg) by rebuffing her sexual advances, proclaiming, "An angel doesn't make love, an angel is love."
It's all very silly and tastefully lewd, on a sophomoric, 60's-era, "Tonight Show" level (and don't get me wrong, I loved Johnny Carson and my dad was the "Tonight Show's" biggest fan). Despite the presence of some very big names of the time, it doesn't add up to much, and a certain degree of tedium creeps in after awhile. Still, the acting is tongue-in-cheek, the sets are wacky and colorful, and there is a sexy innocence about the whole enterprise that strikes me as being very much in context with the times; in that respect, though worlds apart, Antonioni's "Blow Up" has some of that same carefree attitude. Director Roger Vadim (Fonda's then-husband) seems to embrace the spirit of the '60's without ever imbuing his film with much substance.
The quality of this DVD seems variable, for some strange reason. There are scenes where the colors are beautiful and vibrant, and suddenly the scene is transformed into a muddy murk, before the vibrancy just as suddenly returns. It doesn't really interfere with the enjoyment of the film; "Barbarella" is much too slight to be affected by minor color distortions.
Was it worth waiting 40 years to see? For me, the answer is yes, but mainly as a curiosity piece more than anything. It's not great cinema by any means, but it holds a nostalgic place in my mind of a time that is so radically different from the world we're currently living in, as to seem almost inconceivable. "Barbarella" is my own proof that 1968 did, indeed, exist, that it wasn't a beautiful fable where people still had audacious dreams and the courage to pursue their beliefs.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2002
I remember vividly the first time I saw that film. It was in 1978 and I was only 10 years old. I was trying to find something to watch on television and then, saw the first scene at the beginning where a woman in a space suit strips, ending up completely nude. The scene begins as the space "bubble" on her head gradually lowers, revealing Barbarella's face for the first time. Breathtaking is not strong enough a word. In my opinion, she was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen up until that time and I was instantly hooked.
The combination of the music, which is also a very strong element here, in total harmony with the highly satirical tone not to mention those cheesy sets are all dead-on perfect. Everything was put there to create a world where a highly sensual creature like Barbarella could flourish. Jane really knocked all my senses in terms of feminine beauty in this movie. She looks like some living Barbie doll, with breathtaking features and a gorgeous mane of thick blond hair: the perfect sex kitten always eager and ready for sex.
This is a truly wonderful performance from a great actress. She deliberately plays the character as a "bimbo" while letting the audience in on the joke. Here is this very intelligent woman playing some "nymphet" in the most convincing way possible. She ends up sleeping with practically every man she encounters even though the sex is only suggested through some clever images. And all the while, she lets the audience knows in very subtle ways that she's acting in parody mode. That is probably the most interesting aspect of her performance. Even with simple lines like "Oh", "But that's monstrous!", "That's nice", she succeeds in delivering them completely "straight" with just the right amount of tackiness as if to say "don't take any of this seriously, just have a good time...". There are countless classic lines here and I can admit I know them all by heart.
Roger Vadim who also transformed another former wife "Brigitte Bardot" into a sensation in 1957 with "And God Created Woman", did the same trick some 10 years later with Jane. "Barbarella" is an erotic comedy disguised as a bad sci-fi movie. Everything in it is tacky: the clothes, the sets, the plot, the acting... But the big difference between this and a truly bad movie is that it is tacky "on purpose". Therefore, it becomes a camp movie which defined itself as such before any critic could do it. Roger knew exactly what he was doing and succeded on every front.
I must say it is in my top ten list of my favorite movies of all times. I have seen it at least 50 times over the years and for some reason, the movie easily bears the repeated viewings. Sure, the story might seem quite silly to some but that's beside the point. If you view this on the first level, you will probably find it all quite ridiculous and farfetched to the extreme. But if you look at it closer, you'll realize just how well-conceived it is. I won't tell you about the plot as I feel it has been covered already in previous reviews. The plain fact is that the story mainly serves the purpose of displaying Jane as Barbarella in all her youthful glorious beauty in one skimpy costume after another.
I can not recommend this movie enough. If you like camp movies, you will love this one. And even if you don't usually enjoy fanfares created for no other purpose than to entertain the hell out of us, you can at least bask in Jane Fonda's beauty here seen at the age of 29. Just for the chance to stare at that perfect face and body is worth the price alone.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 1999
What can I say? The shag carpeted walls of the space ship, the gratuitous pornographic element, the psychadelia, the banal dialogue, the groovey sounds, the consistant bad acting... I enjoyed every minute of it. And what a veritable goldmine of memorable quotes! Barbarella when being kidnapped by evil children: "But I haven't skied in ages!" The Black Queen meeting Barbarella for the first time:"Why don't you come and play with me pretty pretty..." And after being held hostage by Barberella: "How dare you endanger my beautiful face!" Pygar airlifting the two to safety: "An angel has no memory." And of course Duran Duran's manic laugh near the end -chilling I'm sure. As you can see,the writers were obviously up to their eyeballs on hallucinogenic drugs, and I can only imagine the audiences of the late sixties watching it on the same substances... Barbarella is possibly one of the stupidest films ever seen by man and an experience you ain't gonna forget. WATCH IT! It's like, trippy man.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2012
Dino DeLaurentiis produced a pair of psychedelic comic adaptations in 1968: Mario Bava's "Danger: Diabolik" and the high-flying BARBARELLA, which arrives on Blu-Ray in a marvelous high-definition transfer courtesy of Paramount.
Writer Terry Southern and director Roger Vadim were placed in charge of bringing Jean Claude Forest's French sci-fi strip to the big-screen, and did so by tailoring the project around star Jane Fonda, then Vadim's wife and who fits quite snugly into a bevy of tight-fighting costumes as the title character. Here, Fonda's Barbarella is an Earth astronaut sent to the far reaches of the galaxy in order to track down missing scientist Durand Durand (Milo O'Shea), whose Positronic Ray threatens the welfare of the universe by virtue of its sheer power. En route, Barbarella encounters a blind angel who has lost the ability to fly (John Phillip Law); engages in futuristic intercourse with David Hemmings' Dildano; butts heads with the "Great Tyrant of Sogo" (Anita Pallenberg); and becomes the subject of the "Excessive Machine," an organ that generates feelings of arousal instead of music.
"Barbarella" is very much of the era, no question, with its individual highlights being more satisfying than the sum of those parts. Barbarella's memorable opening striptease sets the tone for an intentionally silly, campy romp that features one of Fonda's more disarming performances and appropriately "out there" visuals and sets, credited to Mario Garbuglia but reportedly supervised by comic-strip creator Forest himself. Shot on Italian soundstages, the film has a unique artistic design, punctuated by stylish production design and outlandish costumes, and Claude Renoir's attractive widescreen lensing gives you plenty to look at throughout. The music is also a huge plus: Charles Fox and Bob Crewe's infectious `60s pop scoring functions in much the same way that Burt Bacharach's classic "Casino Royale" did a year prior, with laid-back, groovy melodies and colorful orchestral underscore working in concert with each other. The end title track, "An Angel is Love," is one of my personal favorites, a vocal performed by Crewe and "The Glitterhouse" that splendidly caps the entire picture - not a classic, but still an entertaining romp for sci-fi/fantasy and comic-book aficionados, similar to how DeLaurentiis' big-budget "Flash Gordon" entertained audiences over a decade later.
Paramount's Blu-Ray of "Barbarella" looks just about perfect. Fine details, colors and contrasts abound in an AVC encoded 1080p presentation untouched by any obvious use of DNR. "Barbarella"'s visuals are a huge component to its appeal and Paramount has done the picture justice with a wonderful transfer here. On the audio side, the DTS MA mono sound is decent - though a 5.1 remix would've been welcome - while the original, three-minute trailer (in HD) is also included, along with an attractively designed slipcover with fold-out artwork from its original promotional campaign.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2012
Barbarella isn't a great movie. It's slow and the Direction is lackluster. But the reason I like it is for the campy look and feel which gives it a sharp contrast with that other classic Sci-fi movie of 68, Planet of the Apes. It's kinda like how I enjoy The Fifth Element more than most of the Sci-fi flicks of the last two decades and that's because of its emphasis on Fantasy with a European flavor. Anywho, I can't believe that they had the nerve to put this movie out on Blu-ray in this condition. It's clear that they didn't spend a penny to digitally re-master this movie beyond transferring it. In comparison, H.G. Lewis' Blood Feast came out in 1963 and the Blu-ray is STUNNING considering that it was shot five years before Barbarella and for a fraction of the cost. No, I'm afraid that this was a cheapo transfer and I regret buying it, especially considering that there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in the way of extras except for a horrifically grainy trailer which looks even worse than the feature. About the only thing I can recommend is the fantastic original poster art that they use for the cover. In hindsight I should have just bought a copy of the poster.
DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY!!!
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2002
Batmania swept America and Hollywood stars like Shelly Winters and Tallulah Bankhead were crawling all over each other to be part of the craze.Dino De Laurentiis and/or Roger Vadim picked up the rights to the French Comic book Barbarella for Vadim's wife, Jane Fonda and rode the wave.It worked "Henry's Little Girl Jane" as Life Magazine put it, made the cover as Barbarella.Unlike Batman , Barbarella wasn't marketed to kids.It's as much French Farce as it is a Camp Classic.Unlike Flesh Gordon it had no intentions of crossing the line to become a "porno" film with FX.All the "bad" stuff that makes it good, mentioned in other reviews, was intentional. The audience is let in on the joke from the start. The opening lyric of the title song refers to an American Comic Book heroine "You're a wonder Wonder Woman" and then proceeds to rhyme Barbarella with Psychedela in the chorus.Jane's performance clearly shows she's in on the joke.The death traps are very "Batman".Sure it's heavily influenced by the Sixties Pop Culture but, it in turn influenced American Pop Culture for years. The character Vampirella, and the band Duran Duran didn't come by those names by coincidence.It's certainly more fondly remembered and in demand than Vadim/Fonda's "The Game Is Over".Check out how many people even bothered to review that one.This one merits repeat viewings because it's fun.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2012
"Do you want to come and play with me" Pretty Pretty!!! As The Great Tyrant aka The Black Queen ( Anita Pallenberg, Rolling Stones girl friend) utters those immortal words, we realize we are in sci-fi heaven. The wait is over with this stunning first time release to blu-ray of the 1968 cult classic Barbarella starring Jane Fonda. On my big H.D flat screen T.V the film transfer and re-mastering looks simply spectacular. Gone is the dirty dull print from the previous ordinary dvd release, here is the film in all its glory, with 4 minutes extra footage of flesh and frivolity. Its certainly not the completely uncut version that buffs have been praying for, but we must be thankful for a beautiful High Definition version. The opening sequence seems to have longer shots of Miss Fonda's ample assets, those assets the naughty title sequence letters previously covered up ..... or is it just wishful thinking? The restored and re-mastered transfer here is truly glorious in detail, its brighter and clearer, and the details are crisp. Gone are all the dirt spots and scratches, the blacks are black, and the colors vivid and vibrant. The sound is great too, you can hear the Black Queen's switch blades cut through the air like a knife, and the fantastic soundtrack by Bob Crewe (on CD if you can find it) is so memorable.
The sets seem more breathtaking, and the futuristic costumes by Parisian designer Jacques Fonteray and Paco Rabanne seem somehow raunchier and even more way-out. Roger Vadim the director and Jane Fonda's then husband once said "We want people to laugh with Barbarella, because she uses her body as a writer uses a pencil, as a means of self expression." And today the humor in Barbarella seems as fresh and tongue in cheek as it did when first released, even more so. Of course Barbarella is camp and kitsch it was meant to be, but its also light hearted and fun, and a wonderful example of science fiction being spoofed. My other favorite film of this genre is Danger Diablolique also starring Barbarella's angel Pygar John Phillip Law. Barbarella has been a long time favorite of mine because I get the humor, I love the costumes and sets, and the performances by all the actors. Its a real trip too because it doesn't take itself too seriously, and its just stunning to watch on blu-ray. So thank you to the powers that be for finally re-mastering it. But please, lets see some extras and at least interviews with as many of the cast as you can. Even the still stunning Jane Fonda herself now recognizes the film as a cult classic, and appreciates it more than ever. So do buy Barbarella on blu-ray, and sit back and enjoy it for the glorious over the top confection that it is. Robert.