Director Roger Vadim brings Claude Forest's classic comic books to the screen with alarming attention to detail, bringing us cinema's finest furry-walled spaceship, porcelain doll fight scene and supervillain who goes by the name of Duran Duran.
Trouble is, Vadim's vision is battered by a pin-on plot with the power and precision of a plastic hammer. 30 minutes in, Barbarella has long become repetitive and tedious, not to mention downright boring. And that's a bold statement for a film more colourful than a kaleidoscope made out of rainbow dust.
Set sometime in the distant future, a young Earth woman, Barbarella (played by Jane Fonda), is sent on a mission to find and stop the evil Durand Durand, who has developed a weapon capable of destroying the world. In her quest to find him, she encounters some weird and wonderful people and creatures and has some interesting adventures...
Has all the ingredients of a b-grade movie: random, weird plot; haphazard direction; hammy acting. Yet somehow it is reasonably entertaining. The sheer energy and pace of the movie keep it from falling apart. Jane Fonda's looks and nonchalant-yet-effervescent performance help too.
I imagine it worked even better when it was released. The movie was made at the height of psychedelia and it has the right ingredients to capture that zeitgeist: bright-colour-filled, fantastical, trippy sets and plot and free love. I would think that being high would be useful when watching this movie..
Probably its most enduring legacy is that it gave the English New Romantic-genre band Duran Duran its name.
Basically the story of woman on the search for evil scientist called Durann Durann & basically a vehicle for strange sexual innuendo.
Crazy sets & minimal costumes this definitely screams cult but I found it drags fierce in the middle but overall quite entertaining, very trippy.
Story synopsis: an ingenue space spy/cop/adventure is sent on a mission to recover a scientist who has gone rogue. What the film is really about is Barbarella not having sex with machinery, by using aphrodisiac drugs, or shacking up with every guy she meets and settling down as a housewife to a straight laced guy who she dutifully serves by cooking him dinner and doing his laundry. She partially accomplishes this goal at the end by befriending her angel and I'm sure the sequel will show them in future suburbia with a couple kids conceived and delivered by a spaceship shaped stork.
The real problem that stifles the conservative fun is Jane Fonda. Not that she goes against the grain of the film, to the contrary her superstar Hollywood father Henry has imparted upon her all of the mannerisms prevalent in the '30's and '40's. I think an actress with bigger boobs and less weird pronunciations of English would have been a better choice.
DeLaurentis has produced some good flicks and sadly Barbarella isn't one of them.