Adventure / Sci-Fi / Comedy
Directed By: Roger Vadim
Starring: Jane Fonda, John Phillip Law, Milo O’Shea
For Fans Of: Flash Gordon, Mighty Boosh, Labyrinth
My Rating - 7 out of 10
My first knowledge for the existence of this film comes from when I lived over in Leeds, from one of my old haunts, a quirky little bar called Fab Cafe. This bar was kitted out with a Dalek, a Predator mask and all manner of different little pieces of movie memorabilia from bygone times. Amongst it all, in a corner somewhere, I saw the poster you see on the right. Many times I visited, and many times i thought to myself, "that film looks right up my street. It's got a hot chick on the cover and it looks as barmy as a mad hatter". It's a shame then that whenever I frequented Fab Cafe, I was usually too drunk to remember the next day that I should watch it. Let's fast forward then about 7 years of my life. Not much has changed, except I'm now rounder than I once was, I don't live in Leeds anymore and my older wiser self has suddenly remembered this film existed. I am re-acquainted with it when stumbling through a list called “best cult movies” and it stars the very easy on the eyes Jane Fonda. There is definite potential here.
Now I have to begin by stating that this film is very dated in its sexual attitudes towards women. It's from the swinging 60’s and it begins with a rotating space woman stripping off to some rather cheesy music. Some would think this is a crass way to start a movie, I am not one of them people. This is the first box ticked as far as I'm concerned, I’m sold.
So let's tell you a bit about the plot… if you really need to know, it's about Barbarella, a sexy female spy for the republic of Earth who is on a mission to find and take back to earth Dr. Durand Durand. And yes… you heard me correct. Durand Durand. And yes that is where the 80’s pop sensations found their inspiration. Upon her adventures finding Durand Durand, she encounters all manners of weird and wonderful oddball characters. Its kind of like Labyrinth but instead of a young girl, there is the stunning Jane Fonda, and instead of everything else, there is a sexual innuendo.
It's on the dodgier side of ridiculous for sure. The 60’s sci-fi effects may be outdated now but for many old school whovians like myself, perfectly fitting with sci-fi of this era. I mean there is some genuinely brilliant costume design in this. The reason is probably because Barberalla seems to always find ways to have her clothes ripped off. Absurd amounts of times. Sometimes by harrowing dolls with gnashers like 'Jaws' from the Bond movies, piranha like birds and a machine that just simply rips clothes off while trying to kill you with pleasure. Ahhhhh god bless the 60’s. This really is a film straight out of the psychedelic and free love counter culture. Did i mention there are purple rabbits?
With its spoof like comedy, playful raunch and surreal surroundings you would be forgiven for thinking someone had slipped something in your drink before you watched it. And that's why I loved it. It's cheeky, unashamedly cheesy and innocently played enough by Fonda for it to work. As cult movies go, this definitely belongs in that “best of” category. After all, what's better than a film with a scene featuring a blind angel carrying a scantily clad lady? Answer: A film featuring a scene of a blind angel carrying two scantily clad ladies. This film had BOTH of those scenes. That's another two boxes ticked. Need I say anymore? Go watch this film and enjoy the trip!