It’s Thursday again, which means it’s time for this week’s Throwback Thursday, ScienceFiction.com’s look at great science fiction of the past.
Well, maybe for this week “great” is over-selling it, but it is, for the most part, one of the more memorable science fiction movies from the 60s, and a manifestation of the sexual revolution.
In any case, I put “great” in quotations because it is not a movie that aged well, and it’s a movie that can be misinterpreted without the context of its period. Looking at it in the eyes of 2013, it’s hard to think that the easy way Barbarella is constantly seduced is far more representative of a male power fantasy than it’s an expression of female sexual freedom. However, I wasn’t born until well after the 60s, so it’s hard for me to say just how exactly the movie was viewed, though seeing how it is usually mentioned in the context of the sexual revolution, I can get a fairly accurate assumption.
I’d love to explain ‘Barbarella’ to readers who may be unaware of it, but I honestly don’t think anyone could do a better job than the trailer itself:
So yeah… it’s basically a porno, though not as explicit and a lot more creative with the various ways that Barbarella finds pleasure.
I mean, there is a plot… but it never really feels all that central to what the movie is about (meaning sexual liberation). I’ll try and summarize it anyway. Barbarella is trying to find a missing scientist named Durand Durand in order to make sure a powerful weapon doesn’t get into the wrong hands (Earth is now peaceful and an easy target.) That’s it. Nothing more than that, except lots of fun and different sci-fi places to visit and lots of aesthetically pleasing outfits on Jane Fonda.
I understand that my tone throughout this article may sound like I don’t really appreciate ‘Barbarella’ and am talking about it against my will, but I assure you, that is not the case. While I, personally, have trouble watching it all the way through, I can acknowledge that it has a tremendous impact on art and culture.
The band Duran Duran took their name from the movie, a line from Jamiroquai’s hit song, “Cosmic Girl”, involves Barbarella, and the title of the ‘Devil May Cry’ opening theme is “Barbarella as a Boy”. Though these things may not seem to be overtly influenced by the movie, it’s clear their creators were. And why wouldn’t they be? ‘Barbarella’ was an unusual visual feast with a female character whose type the movie theaters had never really seen the likes of before. It was new, interesting, and most importantly, different.
Now, if you’re a ‘Barbarella’ fan, there is some good news for you! As recent as May 2013, they have been trying to get a ‘Barbarella’ television series up and running. Now that is something I’d like to see, if only to see how they can outdo the outrageous visuals of the original, and how much will they change Barbarella’s character in order to make her seem a little bit more 3D.
If you’re interested, ‘Barberella’ is selling at a reasonable price, and available on Amazon Prime.