Barbarella [Blu-Ray] Roger Vadim

Barbarella [Blu-Ray] Roger Vadim
It would be impossible to mistake softcore sexploitation sci-fi schlock-fest Barbarella for anything other than a ridiculous relic of the swinging '60s. And not just because of the spaceship with a shag carpet interior. From what other period could such a depiction of naïve innocence regarding sexual discovery come from? Frequently mistaken for, and mislabelled as, some kind of intergalactic wielder of eroticism, Barbarella (a luminous young Jane Fonda) actually comes from a future Earth where physical sexuality is a thing of the past. Only poor people and savages engage in frothy, flesh-slapping coitus ― high class humping is a sanitary act akin to a Vulcan mind-meld. This is, presumably, why our burgeoning, sexually liberated space heroine (she ends up using her vagina as currency once introduced to the old-school method of achieving the big O) is so comfortable talking to her superiors while in the buff. This is after a ludicrous, gratuitous, anti-gravity spacesuit striptease during the title credits, in which the laws of physics are brushed aside as casually as a toss of Fonda's perfectly quaffed, apparently liquid repellent, hair. Buried amid inexcusably lousy special effects (1968 is the same year Kubrick's 2001 came out), laughable dialogue (after being attacked by two little girls and tethered to an ice-crawling stingray thing, Babarella's only concern is, "But I haven't skied in ages!") and an erratic mix of over- and under-acting, there are a few kernels of a decent science fiction story. Forget Barbarella's pacifist mission to stop a mad scientist named Durand Durand (like we'd like to forget the band that adopted a reduced d version of the name) from reintroducing weapons into the galaxy, it's the Matmos idea that could easily fuel a more compelling picture. Matmos is a liquid consciousness that feeds on puritanical ideals of evil in exchange for energy to power a new Sodom. Sure, it's an obvious fossil fuel metaphor, but an apt one for exploring the transformative nature of control and perceptions of perversion. Oh, and there are a troubling number of extremely hokey scenes of a blind (and it would appear, mentally handicapped, or horribly acted) angel flying around after Barbarella cures his performance anxiety ― with her vagina. The Blu-Ray transfer makes every ham-fisted detail crystal clear, but unfortunately, nobody was up to the task of commenting on the intentions of this dated curiosity. (Paramount)