So I Watched Barbarella
By Shinobi Hipster | October 9, 2022Movie Review Retro Movie
The older I get the more interested I become in older movies and shows. While browsing Paramount+ for scary movies to watch and add to my watch list, a couple of weeks ago, I went off on a tangent and added a few non scary movies as well, one of which was Barbarella.
First and foremost, the movie is pretty damn spicy. I know the name Jane Fonda and I know she’s “one of those ones” when it comes to notable actresses from back in the day, but I can’t say I recall ever seeing a movie of hers. I know she was in Monster in Law with Jennifer Lopez, but I’ve never actually seen it. I say that to say Jane Fonda looks good in this movie, like Holy f*ck, Holy f*cking f*ck good – if you know, you know.
So the movie is pretty, hmm how can I put this…it came out in 1968. It’s a science fiction flick with what I’m assuming was a limited production budget. We must view older media with a particular lens, especially forms of media decades old. The movie starts off with Jane Fonda completely disrobing and getting naked in what’s supposed to be zero gravity, but it’s somewhat censored with funky, sixties typography introducing credits to the film.
Barbarella is an earthling working for some kind of futuristic earth government federation and she’s tasked with essentially bringing in a mad scientist located in some part of the universe. The plot is the plot, and honestly isn’t anything astounding, but the biggest thing I took away from this movie is how surprisingly lightweight erotic it was. I didn’t know they made mainstream movies, during that time, with so much hedonism, for lack of a better term. Throughout the course of the film, Jane Fonda’s character dons multiple sexy outfits, with no complaints from me, because Jane, with her big hair, slender physique and big, doe eyes did it for me, I was lying in bed intrigued the entire time watching this strange, strange movie.
Oh and did I mention that Barbarella be getting down in this movie? The first guy she boinks is some really hairy man who saves her from these alien children who unleash a horde of dolls with gnashing, metal teeth onto Barbarella. Barbarella does an absolutely terrible job of protecting herself, so you’ll hear her call out for “HELPPP” in this completely retro, damsel in distress type yell. So I get that this movie has a layer of feminism, how a woman can be completely liberated with her sexual freedom, but then she’s always getting saved by a man, or needs a man’s help, so she basically offers them sex in exchange for their services, now is that giving contradictory messages? I’m not so sure, but you know the vibes.
After giving the hairy man a piece of action, a man she just met like 7 minutes ago and who she barely even put up a fuss about when he told her what he wanted in return, he fixes her ship, but it ends up crashing on another planet. There she meets and angel, the second man…er…species that she boinks. The angel has wings and everything, I’m assuming he was a species of alien and not really an alien, but I didn’t really catch what he really was. Barbarella needs help making it to some place where she either knows or assumes the mad scientist, who we find out goes by the name of Durand Durand, is located. Some weird looking guy basically tells Barbarella that the angel needs motivation to help him fly again – I forgot to mention the angel can’t fly, even though he has wings, plus he’s blind, so she lets him put the p*ssy on the chain wax and he’s able to regain the use of his wings and fly again. I guess it wasn’t that good because he’s still blind.
The angel has the personality of a mannequin, but he serves his purpose, he gets Barbarella to her destination, but not without a rudimentary aerial battle where Barbarella uses one of her many weird ass guns to shoot down these robot-like enemies. Some shit happens, the angel keeps getting caught up in precarious situations where Barbarella needs to save him, but in doing so she gets captured and imprisoned in this bubble-like cage where a bunch of regular ass birds attack her and f*ck her up…I mean they were just regular ass parakeets.
Somehow the floor opens up and she’s brought down a tunnel where there’s some resistance fighter saves her. She f*cks him too. She doesn’t get active with him like the prior 2 men, which is sex the traditional, American way, but there’s something about how in the future, their present, people are able to experience sexual pleasure by popping a pill, extending an open hand and concentrating until they get off. It’s a pretty humorous scene that ends with Barbarella’s hair curling up, during the act, along with her male companion’s hair spiking up with steam coming off his body.
Barbarella finally tracks down Durand Durand, he talks his talk and he ends up putting her in a sex machine. She’s completely naked, but covered, with only her upper shoulder and head exposed and like shit gets softcore real. I’m talking about Ms. Fonda sweating, making the sexy time face and moaning, her sexual energy is so off the charts Durand Durand gets pissed because she overclocks the machine and it ends up catching fire – insert an over 9000 joke here.
All in all the movie was entertaining and…and hot, yeah I said it, Jane Fonda looks sexy af in this movie, it’s worth a viewing just for that alone. Now the science fiction elements were just ok, to put this in perspective, I watched 2001: A Space Odyssey a few months ago and the effects and production in that movie hold up today, I was really impressed with that movie and both 2001 and Barbarella came out in the same year. The plot was also mid, but you have to understand the origin of this film, it’s based off a French artist’s comic strip about a horned up woman who boinks “handsome” men in space, so at least the movie was accurate to its source material.
In conclusion I feel the biggest overlaying theme of the film is simply female liberation. Barbarella is an attractive woman who obviously likes to look her best, be sexy and have consensual, no strings attached sex, but eroticism aside, she’s also a brave and fearless adventurer. Granted she does need to be saved from time to time, so she definitely has her “damsel in distress” moments, but she’s also saving her male counterparts as well. Barbarella isn’t a great film, but it is an intriguing film and that’s good enough for me.