Sunday, March 10, 2013

Barbarella (1968)

In the distant future, the scientist Durand-Durand (Milo O'Shea) invents a terrible weapon. His last whereabouts was Tau Ceti and the President of Earth sends Barbarella (Jane Fonda) to retrieve him. What follows are her absurd adventures. There really is no point describing the story any further. It's just foolishness. So, what shall we talk about?

How about the bit part by mime Marcel Marceau. For the youngsters in the audience, it's important that you understand two things. One is that there once was an art form called mime, and two, that people actually thought that was a good thing. One could argue that, at least as far as modern pop culture is concerned, Marcel Marceau was the king of mime. Here he was, playing a regular role, no makeup or nothing. Yea, I know. Only I find that interesting. I've come to terms with that realization.

Something else I found out. This movie was released several times, and rated PG. I watched it back in my college days and this version differs in one specific way. While Barbarella on Netflix had fairly little nudity, the video store VHS copy from the 80's had none. Vive la difference.

Barbarella is an absurdist, Flash Gordon-inspired space comedy peppered with cheesy dialog, dated music, and campy inuendo. And, after the 9 minute mark Jane puts her clothes on and it becomes much less interesting. But we did get to see Fonda's boobies back when that was a good thing, so I give it an AMRU of 3.
"What's that screaming? A good many dramatic situations begin with screaming..."

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