For our 8th Mass Invasion, I left it up to the Mass Invaders to pick. I was in a pretty open mood that day, meaning I was too lazy to think about it too long. The general consensus was we should do "Barbarella". Ahh, Barbarella. My first introduction to this film was at B-Fest '08, which is the perfect film for that fest. This film needs to be riffed endlessly, mainly because most of the dialogue in this movie is one long "That's what she said" joke.
A bit of history on "Barbarella". It stars Jane Fonda and we see her tits a lot in this movie, which surprised me. I guess it's best to see them then than now. This movie came out in the lat '60's and was produced by famous foreign producer Dino de Laurentiis. As you'll soon see, the entire movie is one big groovy experience, with trippy scenes and psychedelic music. And plenty of excuses to have Barbarella fuck. This movie is a perfect movie for a Mass Invasion cause the entire thing portrays different adventures Barbarella goes on, so it only makes sense that different people cover each adventure, no?
With that out of the way, let's get to it. Joining me is Maria and my fairweather friend Rachael, who had to explain to a delivery guy what the hell she was doing, by telling him all about this site. So delivery guy, if you're reading this, hope you enjoy. And please don't break into Rachael's house at night. Thank you.
The first 20 seconds of this movie starts off in complete silence. I thought I was having problems with my speakers. I turned the knob all the way up, then went down to my computer to check for any connection problems. At the 21 second mark, suddenly my apartment was filled with the groovy theme song for "Barbarella". I scrambled to turn the sound down but the damage was done. My neighbors started pounding on the walls and called the police, convinced I was having some sort of old fashioned Playboy-type party with naked women and cocaine.
After being questioned by the police, I sat down to watch the most amazing opening sequence ever. It's just 4 minutes of someone in an astronaut suit taking the suit off ever so slowly. It's reveled to be Barbarella herself and holy crap, we're not even five minutes in and we got tits. Thank you, the 1960's!
But damn, her space ship leaves much to be desired. The interior is 90% shag carpeting, even the walls. It's like she hired Bob Guccione to decorate her ship. Anyway, the credits go by slowly while Jane Fonda slowly gets naked and even though we're suppose to think she's in zero gravity getting naked, I can easily tell how this was done. To maintain any suspense, I won't reveal how it was done. If you really wanna know, email me.
After I learn this movie is based on a French comic (no surprise there), Barbarella gets a call and falls to the ground. I guess the "zero gravity" and the wall phone share a fuse or something. Barbarella takes the call, naked, and of course it's the President of Earth. Jeez, doesn't it suck when the ONE time you're naked, the President called. That's like the one time I was about to get in the shower and the Pope came for a visit.
The President, staring at Barbarella's tits the entire time, tells her that a famous Earth scientist named Duran Duran has gone missing and was found near some planet. Duran Duran invented some sort of weapon, which baffles Barbarella cause it's the future and there's peace everywhere. The President is baffled too, but he wants this Duran Duran stopped before he looks bad.
He tells Barbarella she's his only hope cause she's a "five star double rated" Government agent and "she must use all her talents" to find and stop Duran Duran. Oh, I think we will be seeing her use all of her "talents" to find and stop Duran Duran. After being given some wrist thingy that will tell Barbarella who Duran Duran is and a armload of weapons, the President ends the call, no doubt to go jerk off. Unfortunately, Barbarella gets dressed.
After Barbarella finishes speaking to the president in the buff, she puts some clothes on! But don't worry my friends you can still pretty much see everything. Barbarella and her goofy, shag carpeting lined, space ship named "Alfie" set out for Tao Seti. I assume everything in the 41st century is covered with shag carpet. It makes perfect sense! It's gonna take 154 hours to get there so Barbarella decides to take a nap. She lies down on this plastic sheet and we look at her from underneath. This way we can see her boobs pushed down into the plastic. Nice! Actually it looks like she is a having a horrible time trying to get comfortable on the thing. Oh and for some reason outer space looks a lot like soap bubbles from the inside of the spaceship.
When Barbarella wakes up, "Alfie" sings to her and says "Prepare in insert nourishment!" which is a goofy way of saying, "Have some grape juice." Then there are magnetic disturbances, but it's really just the stage hands shaking the spaceship set. Good thing the whole ship is cushioned or she might get hurt rolling around and tossing her hair about sexily. Well they're gonna crash and the spaceship voice says they are doomed. That was a short movie!
Wait... she manages to press enough buttons so they have a gentle crash landing. I guess the movie can go on. After the ship analyzes the conditions outside Barbarella decides to check it out. But first she has to change outfits! It's a little chilly outside so she puts on a shiny cape and shiny silver boots. Oh great there's a big hole in her goofy Peptol bismol pink spaceship. Now what will she do?!
And just when we thought things couldn't get worse for Barb two little twin girls show up! "What marvelous little girls!" she exclaims. Watch out, Barb, identical twins are almost always pure evil! While she's trying to communicate with them one of the twins throws an iceball at her head knocking her out. They tie Barb up and put her on some kind of sleigh. "But I haven't skied in ages!" I think that is the least of your troubles, Barbarella!
They take her to another broken down ship and she realizes it's Durand Durand's. But before she can ask them any questions about it they tie her to a pole. There are about 5 more sets of evil twin space children inside the spaceship. These kids have plenty of evil hellish nightmare dolls that they set loose on Barbarella. They snap and bit and start taking little chunks out of her and of course ruin her clothes. All while the little children laugh at her.
If I based my review of Barbarella on this section of the film alone it would be my favorite film. Kids in a net. Monsters whipping them. What’s not to like? Well, there’s more to the film.
Barbarella finds herself in a room with assorted characters including some blue rabbits. Are they the new addition to Lucky Charms? Yellow moons, orange stars, green clovers, blue rabbits. Something like that.
Hey hey it’s a hairy guy. And mention of adjusting one’s “tongue box.” This movie is really tickling my inner 13-year-old’s funny bone. Or funny boner. My instincts tell me that back in the day the uber-hairy Hemingway type of man was quite the catch. Now, however, he is used for comedic effect in things like the Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man in the World” advertisements.
This is the Catchman. He rounds up stray children when they reach a “serviceable” age. What the heck is the service? I probably don’t want to know. With the general H.R. Puff N Stuff feeling of this movie, it could be anything.
Are you familiar with the classic pizza delivery guy porno? A tedious scene with no sexual tension suddenly becomes comically horny. When Barbarella says, “I’m so grateful for what you’ve done. I hardly know how to thank you.” Yeah. That’s where we’re going. Catchman would like Barbarella to let him make love to her. But she has no idea what this means as Earthlings have sex by taking pills.
An interesting commentary takes place here. We learn that the only people having actual physical sex are the very poor because ego support and self esteem have been controlled. Sex isn’t necessary. Not only is it unnecessary, but it is a result of some kind of self loathing. Odd statement to make on the verge of a major sexual revolution.
When Catchman disrobes, he exposes even more fur. But it’s his own and attached to his body. It’s like a hairy dream involving Borat, Austin Powers, and the High Priest from the movie Year One (yeah, I saw it). There’s a sex scene happening but we don’t get to see. Instead of the classic cliche of intertwined fingers and rumpled bed sheets we get the Catchman’s vehicle spinning around on the ice. It doesn’t even go into a tunnel. Letdown!
After the sexytime business, Catchman agrees to repair Barbarella’s space ship. Interesting to note that Barbarella is a highly respected super queen of the universe on a dangerous government mission but can’t fix her ship. She can, however, whip up a hell of a hairdo and wear a fur like nobody’s business. Speaking of furs, Catchman tells Barbarella she may help herself to any of his furs. I think she already did.
There is a sweet scene in which Barbarella’s post-coital glow is particularly beautiful and Jane Fonda looks remarkably like her newly married character in Barefoot in the Park. She has learned that sometimes the old-fashioned way of doing things is better, hairier, and much more fun.
On that delightful revelation, Barbarella and her space ship go up into the sky and quickly crash down through the ice. She navigates her ship from the shag carpeted console right into what looks like a humongous and dirty chunk of intestine.
It’s not an intestine. It’s the Labyrinth. Some kind of Purgatory for people between the home of the Great Tyrant and whatever else is out there. (Hairy guys on ice and other equally awesome places, I assume. And by the way, I would totally buy tickets to see Hairy Guys on Ice.)
Barbarella falls victim to a rockslide and is knocked unconscious - but sexily so. And since this is Barbarella, there is groping upon impact with this part of the planet.
Is there some kind of philosophical saying that goes, “Blind angels have hooked toes?” No? Just me making this up? Okay. I see. But Pygar doesn’t! Barbarella says, “Look at my space ship!” Then whoooops. Blind guy alert. This movie is funnier when it doesn’t try to be funny.
It's the blind leading the blonde! (I had to keep that joke.)
Barbarella isn’t bothered by the groping. She’s more concerned about whether Pygar knows anything about Duran Duran. He says, “I do not know of these things.” Which is how I feel when I ask the baggers at the grocery store if they know about Duran Duran. They don’t. They’re only 16. And this makes me feel like Methuselah. Thanks, kids!
So, the Labyrinth. It’s like that really bad party you attended in college with people you weren’t too sure about and everyone told you not to say anything negative or you’d freak out the people on acid and you ended up walking home. And while you played Nintendo back at your house you realized that sometimes it’s better not knowing everything that’s out there. That’s the Labyrinth. Weird people with nothing to say. A little groping. No fun at all. Playing Mario Kart alone is ten times better than the Labyrinth.
But there’s Professor Ping. He’s like a precursor to the Doc Brown in Back to the Future. A little zany. A little clueless. Apparently a genius. However, the doctors in Barbarella, well, as you may have guessed, don’t wear pants. Not even in dirty hippie Purgatory. (I’d want to wear pants. Who knows what you’re sitting on or in.)
Professor Ping is yet another man who can fix Barbarella’s spaceship. There must be some joke in here about women drivers. But I’m not going to be the one to make this joke. Genius takes time, says the Doc. It could take weeks to fix the spaceship. Barbarella asks Pygar to fly her to find Duran Duran. He can’t. He has lost the will to fly. And what follows is essentially an Enzyte commercial, complete with a “sproing” sound effect. Just mute the sound and whistle the Enzyte song from here on.
Barbarella and Pygar head to his nest. Which is literally a nest. Made of twigs. Barbarella calls it “marvelous” but I have seen bird nests. They’re full of bird poop. So, different strokes and all that.
Barbarella basks in the afterglow of Pygar getting his groove back. Pygar can fly. But I just feel like calling the ASPCA.
I just want to point out that not even an hour has went by since she fucked that hairy dude and now she's gotten laid again. Jeez, I can't even get laid twice in the same month. And she got it on with an angel of all things. Of course, this was the motivation Pygar needed cause now he's flying all over the place. Fucking Barbarella: It'll give you wings!
Now that Pygar can fly, Barbarella asks if he'll take her to SoGo to find Duran Duran. After reminding her and us he's blind (so I guess she was on top?) Barbarella says she'll play navigator. There's also the problem of flying black guards, which Barbarella will kill with the weapons she never used in her life.
So now Pygar is carrying Barbarella's slutty ass over the Labyrinth and sure enough here come some flying black guards. It turns into a video game with Barbarella saying "LEFT" or "RIGHT" while she shoots down the guards. This takes up about 5 minutes of screen time. At one point, the guards shot at Pygar and he starts to fall. Uh oh, we got a fallin' angel! But thankfully he wakes up and Barbarella shoots until she realizes her "energy box" is empty. Oh, I'm sure she'll find someone to fill her box up in SoGo.
Pygar insists they land in the backways of SoGo cause being seen with an angel is wrong or looked upon or something. Considering what they go through when they land, they probably were better off. They start walking around this weird ass city and there's naked chicks hanging from sheets hanging from the ceiling and a random dead chick lying in the road.
Soon, some ruffians show up, simply shove Pygar down and take Barbarella to a back alley. Well, this was suppose to be the back alley so I guess the back alley's back alley. The two guys shove Barbarella down and she goes "What do you want of me?" then instantly goes "Oh" and seems ok with it. Then a random one-eyed chick shows up and kills both dudes.
Barbarella thanks one-eyed chick, who keeps calling her Pretty Pretty. Barbarella insists this is not her her and runs off to find Pygar. Pygar, for whatever reason, is just standing in the middle of a room, with his wings up, and a group of douchebags are just waving knifes in front of him. They're not stabbing him or cutting him, just waving them around. One douche goes to finally stab him but Barbarella gets in the way, stopping them.
Huh. Some five-star rated agent she is. You'd think a five-star rated agent would know how to fight or something but all she does is just jump in harms way and fuck everyone in sight. I guess being dumb and slutty does have it's advantages. This only proves that one day, Paris Hilton will take over the world.
Barbarella and Pygar end up in a room called The Chamber of Final Solution. It's kind of like a futuristic version of that story the Tiger or the Woman where a person must choose the right door or else gets killed. Or maybe it's like "Let's Make A Deal". Whatever.
Some chick appears out of nowhere and we see her choose a room, which I guess was the wrong one. A calming voice, much like Magic Voice, then urges Barbarella and Pygar to choose. They're about to when suddenly a dumpy old guy and some guards appear, telling them to stop. Jeez, people come out of nowhere in this room.
The dumpy guy calls himself the Concierge. Hey, great! I need to know where I can get a bite to eat. Concierge lowers a net on Pygar where Barbarella literally went "oh no not Pygar oh well" and kept on going with Concierge. He leads her to some pipe where she's forced down. She ends up in Level 1-2. Good luck getting THAT music out of your head.
Barbarella actually ends up in some room where a weird ass party is going on. And I think the twin girls from earlier are here as well but it's not made too clear. And they actually do say "come play with us", so that joke I made up there earlier probably is ruined.
Barbarella is lead to a smaller room where that one-eyed ho that called Barbarella "Pretty Pretty" is, but she has both eyes now and she's actually the Queen or Tyrant. She explains that she took Pygar from Barbarella cause he committed a bunch of crimes and his sentence is her boning the shit out of him and I guess Barbarella has to watch. Like that'll show her.
Barbarella remembers placing a weapon next to Pygar's dick and goes to grab it (the weapon, not his dick) and points it at the Tyrant, threatening to melt her face. This works cause she's a vain bitch (True fact: The Tyrant can be now seen on "The Hills") and she releases Pygar. Concierge is wise to Barbarella's game and notices the energy pack for the weapon is gone. So in the future our weapons become even less practical. The NRA must either love or hate this movie. Barbarella's sentence for pulling an empty gun: TORTCHA!!
Poor, poor Barbarella. Stuck inside the giant Heckle and Jeckle cage. Her captor really does look like Jon Lovitz in a caftan. But he’s still capable of such terrible tortures as... tiny birds! About 100 parakeets begin mercilessly pecking Barbarella. So this is the future. People advance to the point of fully understanding ego and self esteem but our torture methods involve song birds with pointy beaks.
And with that we meet Dildano. He springs Barbarella from the tiny birds of doom and tells her that he’s leading a revolution against the queen, saving the lives of political prisoners, and seeking a better tomorrow for the people of his planet. All while wearing no pants.
And of course he wants to have sex with Barbarella. With the Earth pill - not the old fashioned hairy way. Which is strange because he says he’s been waiting five years for this opportunity. That’s quite a dry spell to end without an actual bang, if you get my drift. But the guy doesn’t wear pants, so maybe he sees enough flesh.
Barbarella and Dildano take the pills and it looks a lot like a bad high school drama class learning the mirror exercise. But with smoking fingers and hair curling. I’m not quite clear on what exactly they’re experiencing but if body parts are smoking, it has to be good.
Dildano reveals that his sexytime Earth pills were obtained from Duran Duran. Barbarella is that much closer to her goal of finding Duran Duran now. However, she (and we the audience) have to put up with the explanation of a very elaborate plot to overthrow the evil queen. A successful revolution relies on Barbarella’s weaponry. Which hasn’t helped her one bit so far in this movie. But, gosh darn it, the guy with no pants is gonna make this happen.
I hate this stupid underground rebel guy. Once he comes into the movie it gets boooring. Also his outfit is as disturbing as hell. He has on little brown leather shorts and a cape. That's not something I want to see! Barbarella wants to call Professor Ping but he can't find his radio transmitter because he sucks. And once he does find it he tries to call Professor Ping, "Professor Ping to Headquarter! Professor Ping to Headquarters!" It's the other way around Stupid!
Ping says that the ship is fixed and they are all ready to go. Dildano tells Ping to meet at the rendezvous point while Barbarella breaks into the Chamber of Dreams. Mr. Boring gets Chamber's spare key which turns out to be invisible. "Only an invisible key can open an invisible wall!" he says. I guess that makes sense. Of course the moron dropped the key so they have to search around on the floor for it. This is supposed to be funny it's not because Dildano isn't funny and it's too bad that this scene is like a third of the movie. When he finds the key he ties it around Barbarella's "secret" neck. And the gets her the "secret" map that he'll lead her through the "secret" corridor.
Barbarella finds herself in a freaky room with a bunch of stoned people lying around. She asks one of them for directions to the 12th corridor but they just offer some "essence of man" to smoke instead. And she seems to like it. She's caught by the Tyrant's Concierge almost instantly after accepting her secret mission and he tells her that it's time for her to amuse him. You know what that means my friends, it's Orgasm Machine time!
The orgasm machine is used for executions. You feel pretty good until your head explodes I guess. She is strapped inside something that looks like an organ that the Concierge plays. All the time she squeals and moans and squirms and gets sweatier and sweatier as he plays faster and faster. The Concierge also gets sweaty as he tries harder and harder to kill her with pleasure. "What kind of girl are you?!" he yells as the machine bursts into flames. "Have you no shame?!" It seems that the machine was no match for Barbarella's sexiness.
Barbarella's Durand Durand detector finally goes off and she finally realizes who the Concierge really is. She tells him she's been sent by the president to bring him back to Earth. But he's not going back, he's gonna to stay on this planet and continue being pure evil. Barbarella stupidly tells Durand Durand that she has the key to the Tyrant's Chamber of Dreams, and he happily agrees to take her there.
Barbarella and Duran Duran arrive at the Chamber of Dreams. Barbarella runs into the "invisible wall" aka the solid piece of plastic cause you can clearly see Barbarella's reflection in it. She tries to find the key hole (another "that's what she said" moment) but Duran Duran gets impatient and fights Barbarella for the invisible key and it falls into a pond.
Somehow this opens the door and he shoves her into the Chamber, steals the other Key, then locks Barbarella in the Chamber. Duran Duran has a total "Mu ha ha ha" moment when he practically says "Today SoGo! Tomorrow! THE UNIVERSE!!" and he runs to steal the throne from the Queen.
Barbarella gets lost in the Queen's dream in this movies last of many LSD inspired scenes. The Queen finally wakes up and is told the bad news. She "just so happens" to have some kind of view screen to look into the Throne Room just in time to find Duran Duran sitting on the throne, about to be crowned and everybody in the city calling him "Your Majesty". Man, he takes power fast. It was only, what, five minutes since he locked Barbarella in the Chamber. Maybe he also invented a time machine too.
Some guy runs in and tells Duran Duran that all the other characters we met earlier in the movie are now teaming up for a revolution! Duran Duran goes "Mu ha ha ha! I have my top secret laser ray thing!" and goes into the Top Secret Laser Ray Thing room and starts using it to kill everyone.
The Queen is like "Aw crap. Well, time to end the world" and she lets loose that watery crap that's been mentioned a few times. Apparently it's some force that controls this world and can kill people if not treated right. And also it doesn't like good people cause it puts Barbarella in a bubble "to protect her innocence". What innocence? She either fucked, and tried to fucked, everyone she came across and was proven too slutty for a pleasure machine. She's about as innocent as Britney Spears.
Duran Duran gets pissed he's losing, but accepts his fate pretty well by declaring that Earth is losing a great dictator. I think Earth had it's fair share of dictators, thank you very much. The Laser Thingy suddenly explodes, killing Duran Duran. The lifeforce water saves Barbarella and the Queen and when they arrive on the surface, they find Pygar just lying there.
The Queen tells Barbarella to use some of that "mouth-to-mouth". The way she says this, you can tell the Queen is jealous that Barbarella got it on with everyone else BUT her. Barbarella comes up with another plan: to flap his wings for him until he wakes up. This works somehow. He's still blind though. I guess sluttiness only does so much.
Pygar then picks up Barbarella and the Queen and starts flying them to Barbarella's ship. Barbarella asks Pygar why he's taking the Queen after all the horrible stuff she did to him and he says "Angels never remember anything."
...WHAT?? The hell does THAT mean? What do you mean you don't remember anything? You mean you forgot who Barbarella is? And that she fucked you so hard that you wanted to fly? The hell are you talking about? Ugh, what is it with the final lines of bad movies that make me lose my shit? Let's just be glad there's nothing else after this but groovy ending credits.
Barbarella, she's so swell-a! Definitely not a fella!
Why is this such a cultural legend? It is so reminiscent of 70's porn but without the actual porn. I will give this movie 3 stars because, to be completely honest, Jane Fonda’s acting is great. And she looks fantastic. Some humor - both intentional and not. Cheesy sets. Great hair.
Much like any other groovy movie from the '60's, it feels like you are on drugs when you watch "Barbarella". I felt the same way when I reviewed "Candy", except that made even less sense. At least in this one we got to see Jane Fonda's tit's. This movie isn't bad. It's really entertaining and kinda neat to look at. Just don't expect to understand what the hell is going on, that's all.