Welcome

Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Barbarella



**

Sent into space by the government, astro-navigatrix Barbarella (Jane Fonda) must investigate a potential threat to tranquility and find missing scientist Duran-Duran (Milo O'Shea). She discovers him on Sogo, a distant planet dedicated to evil and pleasure, and it soon becomes clear that her mission is going to be a lot more deadly than anticipated.

The sets may be beautifully created, with a lot of detail going into the creation of another planet, and lots of intricate details, the same going for the makeup that creates Sogo's occupants and makes the seemingly/semi-human characters monstrous and distressing, with a lot less human quality. However, this is all that is worthwhile about the film. The film plods along, relying on special effects too much, with its episodic, linear narrative paced so slowly and dragged out unnecessarily that it is very easy for one to lose their attention. The screenplay is also poorly written and makes the jobs of the actors harder than necessary, which is seen throughout as the performances are mostly very wooden and underdeveloped, as the characters are also wooden and underdeveloped, giving them and the film a rather artificial feel.

The sets may be beautifully designed, but they are fairly flimsy and live up to the reputation old science-fictions had of being wobbly and cheap. The logic of the sets is also very limited as everything the Sogons have looks very advanced and fancy, but yet they want some of the most basic items from Barbarella's ship. Ultimately, however, the film should be looked at as a film that exploits beauty. Jane Fonda was a proper sex symbol forty years ago and the number of scenes where she is nude, or has visible breasts are considerable, and the rest she is scantily clad in. To top that off every time she asks a male for information that could help her, she has to sleep with him to get it. She's just there as eye-candy, although this helped establish Fonda as a major sex symbol. The rest of the characters and their actors, bar Duran-Duran and O'Shea, are also used and exploited as symbols of sex and beauty, none more so than Pygar (John Phillip Law), a blind angel who wears little more than a loincloth that puts all his muscle in clear sight.

Ultimately this is a bland, wooden and poor film, and although Jane Fonda will make the guys' jaws drop as the sexy titular character, it is clearly an exploitation of beauty. One has to feel for Fonda as she turned down the leading roles in the brilliant films Bonnie and Clyde (1967) and Rosemary's Baby (1968) in order to head the cast in this film. Why? Because husband Roger Vadim was the director.


1968.
15.
Stars:
Jane Fonda, John Phillip Law, Anita Pallenberg, Milo O'Shea, Marcel Marceau, David Hemmings, Claude Dauphin, Ugo Tognazzi.

Laurel nomination: Best Female Performance (Jane Fonda).

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