Netflix Review: Barbarella 

 

*Ed. I sent this to Sarah Hoyt but I think it might have gotten lost in her shuffle so I’m posting it here*

Hi, hi, hi my little According to Hoyt-ers. I thought you might enjoy a short review I’ve penned on the 1968 cult classic, Barbarella. Buckle up people, it’s a scantily clad acid dream.

The Good:

  • The film delivers what it promised, i.e., Jane Fonda in her birthday suit. Nuff said, as they say.
  • The visual language is genuinely compelling. The scene with the Feral Children is legitimately creepy.
  • The dialogue is entertaining and silly:

Barbarella: That’s screaming! A good many dramatic situations begin with screaming.

And:

Barbarella: De-crucify the angel!

Great Tyrant: What?

Barbarella:De-crucify him or I’ll melt your face!

The Bad:

  • The Music. More than the cast, clothes, or the themes, what really dates this movie is the sterile attempt at groovy music. It doesn’t exactly scream “hello I’m the 41st century” you know? To give you a little perspective, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey came out in the same year. If there’s a film that’s aged better than 2001, I haven’t seen it.
  • The plot. It. Is. Incomprehensible! Non-existent! The scenes feel like a series of fever dreams stitched together.  You’re gonna feel like you’ve fallen asleep and missed the twenty minutes that satisfactorily explain why Jane Fonda is hanging out with an angel now. In fact, the early scenes are nothing more than a series of hamfisted excuses to get the title character to bed any male with whom she shares the screen. It makes the treatment of love and sex in the worst James Bond movie (which is probably View to a Kill) look like Romeo and Juliet. Thankfully, Barbarella was written before most porno tropes were well-established otherwise we would be forced to suffer through her asking a pizza guy if there’s any other way she could pay him for the meatlovers.
  • Casual leftist assumptions about human nature abound. The film is full to bursting of silly anthropological and sociological concepts that were in vogue at the time including (but not limited to):
    • Human perfection is within reach: Humans have advanced beyond the “primitive state of neurotic irresponsibilitythat is the cause of war and violence.
    • The worship of and obsession with sex. In the universe of Barbarella, sex is a cure for angelic depression (yes, really), a very generous way of thanking Good Samaritans, and ultimately a means of defeating the evil Dr. Durand-Durand. C’mon everyone, world peace and self-actualization are just a good lay away.

Kid Friendly?

That would be a ‘no’ because of the aforementioned birthday suit and the fact that most of the early scenes begin post-coitus and end pre-coitus. There’s also the Excessive Machine scene (please use headphones if you decided to pull this up on yo’ Google machine).

Should I watch it?

Yes, but primarily as an ironic watch. There is some truly enjoyable camp to had. Think of it as Adam West’s Batman with a hard ‘R’ rating and no plot.  Invite a few friends over for a laugh.

 

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