Barbarella is a 1968 French-Italian science fiction film based on Jean-Claude Forest’s French Barbarella comics. The film was directed by Roger Vadim and stars Jane Fonda, who was Vadim’s wife at the time. This is a total cheese-fest of what campy science fiction in the late 60s & 70s were like. Having said that they did put a lot of thought into the sets and designs as well as costumes. And well it was 1968!
The movie is set 40,000 years in the future and Barbarella, who travels in a funny looking spaceship but which is faux fur lined and glamourous inside, is introduced to us in a 5 minute title sequence which is a strip tease while in zero gravity. Awesome! She is then contacted by the president of Earth and given the assignment to retrieve Doctor Durand Durand, who has created a dangerous weapon, (yes this is where Duran Duran got their band name from) from the planet Tau Ceti. She crashes on an icy plain and is soon knocked unconscious by two mysterious girls who hit her on the forehead with a snowball and then capture her. Barbarella is taken to the wreckage of a spaceship called the Alpha 1, where a bunch of errant children unleash several dolls which have razor sharp teeth and start biting her. Barbarella is rescued by Mark Hand, the Catchman, who patrols the ice looking for errant children.
In return he asks to make love to her but on earth humans have done away with penetrative sex and instead swallow pills together and press their palms together to get shared bliss. However Mark wants the old fashioned way and pretty soon, Barbarella is humming in pleasure. She then makes her way to the next labyrinth where she meets a blind angel Pygar, who rescues her when she knocks herself unconscious. Pygar introduces her to Professor Ping (Marcel Marceau), who offers to repair her ship. Ping also notes that Pygar is capable of flight, but merely lacks the will. Pygar saves her from being attacked by the black guards and she makes love to him in return. This encourages him to try to fly and together they fly to Sogo, a decadent city ruled over by the Great Tyrant and powered by a liquid essence of evil called the Mathmos. There they are separated and Barbarella catches the eye of the Great Tyrant (Anita Pallenberg) who keeps calling her “Pretty, pretty”. Pygar is left to become the Great Tyrant’s plaything, while Barbarella is placed in a cage, to be pecked to death by birds but is rescued by Dildano, leader of the resistance to the Great Tyrant. She offers to have sex with him but he wants the Earth way! With an invisible duplicate key to get into the Great Tyrant’s chambers while she is resting and at her most vulnerable. However Barabrella is captured by captured by the Concierge and she is placed inside the Excessive Machine.
As the Concierge begins to play, Barbarella experiences increasing pleasure, and her clothing is expelled from the machine. The Concierge tells her when they reach the crescendo, she will die of pleasure. He then begins to play faster and more furiously, while Barbarella writhes in ecstasy inside the machine. Eventually, the machine overloads and burns out, unable to keep up with her. Barbarella then discovers the Concierge is none other than Durand Durand, aged thirty years due to the Mathmos. Durand Durand traps Barbarella in the Tyrant’s Chamber of Dreams, taking both keys and locking them inside. As he prepares to crown himself lord of Sogo, Dildano launches his revolution. Durand Durand uses his Positronic Ray to decimate the rebels. The Great Tyrant then releases the Mathmos, which consumes all of Sogo and Durand Durand with it. Barbarella and the Great Tyrant are protected from the Mathmos by Barbarella’s innate goodness. They emerge from the Mathmos to find Pygar. Pygar then flies Barbarella and the Tyrant away from the Mathmos. When asked by Barbarella why he saved the Tyrant after everything she had done to him, Pygar responds, “An angel has no memory.”
While she may not be human, she did light the screen on fire. The late Dorothy Stratten is Galaxina – a robot created with feelings in the 31st century and part of the crew of the intergalactic space police cruiser ‘Infinity’. The ship is captained by the incompetent Cornelius Butt and his crewmen; his first officer, Sgt. Thor; pilot “space-cowboy” Pvt. Robert “Buzz” McHenry; engineers, Maurice – a black humanoid alien with pointy ears and a pair of bat wings, and Sam (Tad Horino) – a Confucius-philosophy quoting Asian man. Also aboard is a “Rock-Eater,” a rock-eating alien prisoner confined to the brig. The movie is a spoof that pays tribute to Star Trek, Star Wars & Alien.
Infinity chases a suspicious bird like unidentified space ship and the pilot, a mysterious masked figure, flips them off and attacks them on being questioned. After the encounter, Galaxina serves dinner to Capt. Butt, Thor and Buzz. As she serves them chicken-flavored food pills, the three men stare googly-eyed at her beauty, and Buzz is electrically shocked when he tries to touch her buttocks. Tired of the pill-food, Capt. Butt decides to eat an alien egg confiscated from a prisoner. The egg eventually sickens him and he coughs up a baby alien creature that quickly scurries away. Later the crew receives their new mission to proceed to the prison planet Altair One to recover a priceless stolen gemstone called the “Blue Star” – throughout the movie, whenever someone says the name of the gemstone, it is followed by a chorus from the skies, much to the bewilderment of the characters! However it will take them 27 years to make it there, so they are to go into cryosleep, after a 24 hour stop at a brothel located on an asteroid!
While the crew sleeps Galaxina reprograms herself to become more human, learning to talk and disabling her electrical defense mechanism. ater, the baby alien that Capt. Butt gave “birth” too, pays him a visit and tampers with the controls on his pod. When the crew awaken at their destination, Butt emerges from his pod an old man with a huge gray mop of hair covering his eyes and long beard. After the ship lands Thor is seduced by the newly reprogrammed Galaxina and he quickly falls in love with her but they will have to wait to get back and arrange for her to be fitted with “lady parts”. Galaxina goes to the town on the planet in search of the Blue Star and enters a “human restaurant” – where humans are served as food! There she finds Ordric, the masked figure the crew encountered earlier, and who is in possession of the Blue Star. During the confrontation with him, Galaxina discovers Ordric is some kind of robot himself when she smashes his head open. Ordric deactivates and Galaxina takes the Star but is captured by a gang of bikers who are descedants of the first criminal humans sent to the planet when it used to be a penal colony Later, their leader announces that he will sacrifice Galaxina to their deity “Harley-David-Son” and with the power of the Blue Star, he will eventually take control of the universe.
Thor & Buzz come in search of Galaxina, untie her and make it back to the ship. Once in space, they are attacked by Ordric, who boards their ship and takes it over. He eventually takes back the Blue Star and locks everyone up in the brig. Ordric then goes to the bridge, but unbeknown to him, the alien Butt gave birth too, now grown full size, sneaks onto the bridge and attacks him. The creature then goes to the brig and gives Butt, (who it calls “Mama” ), the keys to the cell door. Once free, the crew rush to the bridge where they find Ordric torn to pieces. They then contemplate the riches they will receive as reward for finding the Blue Star, and then notice the Rock-Eater has just eaten it.
Two movies 12 years apart, cheesy & campy scifi spoofs of that era and starring femme fatales. I give them both a 5 outta 10 each!