Barbarella: Not Your Average Movie Experience

Juan Manuel Gonzalez


Image courtesy Google Images

Old movies are still worth checking out. For example, Barbarella was first introduced into the world in 1962 as a small comic strip in a French magazine. As its popularity and notoriety increased, the artist of the comic, Jean-Claude Forest, decided that Barbarella should become a full-time outlaw. On Oct. 10, 1968, Dino De Laurentiis, Roger Vadim, and Jean-Claude Forest, released Barbarella worldwide and the world did not agree with Forests’ decision to allow Barbarella to become a movie adaptation. According to the movie’s IMDB page, the film made an estimated total of $613,285, when it cost a roughly estimated $9 million dollars to make.

After the film’s release Barbarella has grossed more than $5 million on rentals after the film came out. The film quickly became a cult classic, and several decades after its release it had a surge of sales. With its monetary intake aside, lets delve into the film itself. When first looking at the cover of the movie, and its off-handed description, one would mistake this for a poorly done adult film, but beneath that , Barbarella, is really not that bad at all.

The film opens with a woman (later revealed to be the title character) floating in zero gravity in what resembles the fur of a bear, stripping. The scene, especially in zero gravity is quite riveting, because of how well the special effects appear on screen despite the fact that at that time they didn’t have half of the technological advances we have today. After doing some searching one will find that they used a sheet of plexiglass, and shot the scene from above so that it mimicked the effects of being in zero gravity.

After being told of an evil scientist aptly named Durand Durand, (The last d is silent) she begins an unplanned journey to the planet of Tau Ceti and ends up crashing on an icy plain where she is held captive by harmless looking children with demonic and cannibalistic dolls which feed on the unsuspecting visitors who land in their domain. After she is saved, she rewards her savior with adult relations, after which she is dropped off at her crashed spaceship beginning her journey to the city of Sogo. If one analyzes the name of Sogo, one’s mind might think of Sodom and Gammorah.

Barbarelladoes a great job ,for the most part, at remaining blind to the intentions of every pervert she encounters until she willingly provides Pygar, the last living ornithanthropes, with some “motivation” to get him to fly. After he regains his motivation to fly, they set off to the city of Sogo where she gets captured,again, and Pygar is bestowed the honor of becoming the great tyrant’s plaything. After some horrible dialogue and very uncomfortable scenes, the Mathmos, the essence of evil which powers the city, is released trapping Barbarella and the great tyrant.

Apparently, Barbarella’s “innocence” forms a bubble around Barbarella and the Great Tyrant and they fall to saftey upon a floating rock where they find a passed out Pygar, Seran wrapped by his innocence. The film ends with them flying off into the sunset; and cue the tears. Despite it’s cheesiness, and its in-your-face sexuality, the film is not that bad and will be watched again.