So the other night I watched Barbarella on DVD from Netflix. Although I’ve actually wanted to watch the movie for a long time–my folks actually saw this movie at a drive-in if memory serves me–I blame the Jane Fonda book for driving me to actually queue the movie up in Netflix and watch it. Now that I’ve finished watching it, I’m not quite sure what to say except that it was mostly pretty bad.
I wanted to like it–really I did. I love all that stuff that’s all kitschy and over-the-top. But the kicker is, it has to be done with a little bit of class. Barbarella fundamentally lacked class. It was weird, it was almost as if it were trying too hard to be all kitschy, which seems weird because it’s not as if it were a throwback like Austin Powers or something. It was actually made during the late 60s when shag carpeting was all the rage. (That was my favorite part of Barbarella’s ship, the orange-brown shag carpeting that lined it.)
There wasn’t much to the plot–Barbarella was sent to find the scientist Durand Durand before he unleashes his positronic ray and threatens the peace of the galaxy. I loved the parts where Barbarella was asking people “Tell me, have you seen Durand Durand?” and I always wanted to say, no, but I have a couple of their CDs. Barbarella changes clothes almost as much as Cher on the Farewell Tour and has relations with several different people–all off screen of course (it was 1968 after all.)
I think my biggest trouble was that Jane Fonda playing Barbarella was like Judy Bernly playing Barbarella. Judy Bernly is the first role I ever saw Jane Fonda in and so it’s really stuck in my head. Every time I hear Jane Fonda’s voice, it’s inextricably linked to Judy Bernly’s.
However, my favorite part of the whole movie was the opening credits–and not for the reasons you might expect. While I chuckled at the zero-gravity strip-tease what made me laugh uproariously was the theme song. It was a classic late-60’s easy listeningish song that dared to rhyme “Barbarella” with “psychadella” (which isn’t even a word, which reminds me of the “Golden Girls” episode where Dorothy expounds on how the word “intrauterine” doesn’t belong in a song, but I digress.) Needless to say, I sound captured that sucker. It’s hilarious.