WMG Barbarella was originally a French erotic science fiction comic book series by Jean-Claude Forest, but the title is better known, at least outside France, for the film adaptation produced by Dino De Laurentiis , directed by Roger Vadim, and starring his wife at the time, Jane Fonda. The film is set in the distant future, estimated to about the 40th century. Planet Earth has been united under a Republic, wars have been abolished, and weapons exist only in museums.
Sex has been replaced by a ritual involving pills. Durand Durand Milo O'Shea , a scientist, starts developing a new weapon. He and his spaceship vanish in the vicinity of an uncharted planet in the Tau Ceti system. Barbarella is sent to retrieve him. The local culture introduces her both to various horrors and to the joys of real sex. Durand Durand tortures the heroine by hooking her into a device which plays her sexual responses like organ pipes, the goal being to orgasm her to death.
As mentioned further down, it doesn't work. All There in the Manual: The planet the movie takes place in is only identified as Planet The comics do give it a proper name, which is sometimes noted in summaries of the movie: As well as naming the planet, the DVD case says the movie's set in the year, 40, The Sogoites, who are led to do evil and all kinds of depravities by the Mathmos, which feeds on evil.
There are good Sogoites as proven by Ping and Dildano, but those get expelled from the city and dealt horrible fates. Durand Durand explains that his positronic ray causes targets to be "deminimalized to the fourth dimension".
Barbarella says "But that's monstrous! The Black Guards of Sogo are empty suits of armor, as shown when Pygar shoots one into pieces. Barbarella is really not choosy about who she sleeps with. The Black Queen causes one by siccing the Mathmos on Durand Durand, which results in the destruction of the city of Sogo and everyone living in it dying. She switches it on after her zero-gravity striptease.
Barbarella's four suitors; the angel Pygar and the rebel Dildano are safe, harmless and have values similar to her own as in, Pygar is the perfect pacifist and Dildano wants to reform Sogo to be like Earth , while Mark Hand the catchman and the Black Queen are more rough and dangerous, expose Barbarella to new things and don't subscribe to or understand Earthling views. Durand Durand forces Barbarella into the Excessive Machine, which would count as rape given it's a sex machine. What's worse is that the machine is supposed to kill, so she was going to be raped to death.
However, Barbarella proves to be Too Kinky to Torture and exhausts the machine. Barbarella, the pretty blonde envoy of an Earth that left behind such outdated concepts like violence or physical sex, gets used to both rather quickly after being introduced to them on a more She doesn't decline to try other things too.
In one memorable scene, Durand-Durand tries to kill her with his orgasm machine, but she overloads it. Break Out the Museum Piece: The only weapon Dianthus could find for Barbarella had to be borrowed from the Museum of Conflict. Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": In the evil doll kid's hangout the remains of Durand Durand's crashed space ship , there's a bunch of blue bunnies.
Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: She doesn't only spend the movie going through an Unlimited Wardrobe , but gets put into dozens of situations that justify the wardrobe change. Cool and Unusual Punishment: The Excessive Machine is a subversion. While getting strapped to an orgasm-inducing machine sounds awesome, this machine's real purpose is to orgasm the person to death.
Barbarella as she appears in the comics was drawn with Brigitte Bardot in mind. There are lots of things wrong with that poster up there. No moons are visible from Lythion in the movie, Barbarella never wears that particular outfit, that rocket-like spaceship is nowhere to be seen, Pygar is missing his wings and the Black Guards are black, not that gold-ish color. In a scene, razor-toothed killer dolls attack Barbarella. They belong to a group of feral children, led by The first people she meets on Tau Ceti.
They knock her out with a loaded snowball, tie her up and take her away on a sled pulled by a stingray. The whole gaggle of feral kids is made up of pairs of twins. Crystal Spires and Togas: The rest of the universe apart from Lythion has been at peace for centuries. Department of Redundancy Department: The Black Queen says to Barbarella: At some point Barbarella is wearing little more than an animal-skin suit with a long tail.
The tail gets trapped in the closing iris. Durand Durand's Excessive Machine resembles an organ and plays music. If anything, the Black Queen is the real heroine, or at least an Anti-Hero with a Pyrrhic Victory due to letting loose the Mathmos, which destroys the evil city, Durand Durand and saves the Queen, Barbarella and Pygar. Apart from the air battle, Barbarella is the most useless space heroine in history. The reason Barbarella is looking for Durand Durand is that he invented a positron ray, which could spell doom for the universe.
Its effects are seen at the end of the movie, when he uses it to kill Ping and Dildano. Distracted by the Sexy: Barbarella objects to sex because "it was proven to be distracting! After experiencing it, she admits that they were certainly right about that part. Down the Rabbit Hole: Barbarella feels a lot like a sexy sci-fi version of Alice in Wonderland considering it involves a naive young woman going on an adventure in a nonsensical to her realm full of strange sights and people.
The Mathmos is a living, shapeless mass of energy inhabiting the lake below Sogo, and it demands that people commit evil deeds so it can feed on them. The so-called "Excessive Machine", that can kill people.
Barbarella and her nemesis the Black Queen team up to take down Durand Durand after he locks them in the Chamber of Dreams and usurps Sogo's throne from the Queen. The weird kids with their killer dolls. Although getting to Tau Ceti takes about one week, the meat of the movie is Barbarella's adventures in Lythion, and those take place in two days tops. Most of the film, but the most famously the scene where Barbarella takes off her spacesuit in zero gravity.
Vadim was quoted as explaining why he put this under the opening credits: However, when you have a leading lady with a body like Jane Fonda, you really don't need much of a plot.
Barbarella runs into a group of women smoking from a giant hookah containing a guy who's either drowning or boiling. The redheaded one offers Barbarella a whiff and tells her it's called essence of man.
We don't see the effects, though the women look pretty out of it. The Black Queen tries to kill Barbarella by trapping her in a cage filled with vicious man-eating songbirds. As it happens, Barbarella's suitors are four. Their salute is even "love," although they don't practice physical sex any more, considering it to be impractical. Barbarella changes her mind when she meets Mark Hand. The custom of Sogo regarding raising kids is to dump them in an icy wasteland til they're of "a serviceable age", as Mark Hand explains to Barbarella after rescuing her from such children.
Little wonder Sogoites are so messed up. Future Food Is Artificial: After waking up from artificial sleep, Barbarella drinks a purple liquid as nourishment. It tastes foul if her reaction is anything to go by. Durand Durand is defeated, good. So Barbarella, Pygar and the Black Queen fly away to And when Barbarella asks Pygar why he saved the Black Queen, he cryptically answers that angels have no memory.
A Good Name for a Rock Band: Duran Duran named themselves after Durand Durand. Once Barbarella has experienced physical sex for the first time, she's quite enthusiastic for more, and is disappointed when Dildano insists on doing it the more advanced way. Have a Gay Old Time: Energy cables are shrinking!
You've turned them into faggots! Barbarella's tryst with Pygar has the effect of restoring his self-confidence and ability to fly. Barbarella and Pygar's mid-air battle with the Black Guards air patrol. The only time Barbarella does anything heroic, she's a pretty good shot.
It was also re-created in Ariana Grande 's music video for "Break Free". How Would You Like to Die? Barbarella wanders into a walk-in suicide booth, which offers world-weary beings a choice of ways to terminate their unendurable existence.
The aliens that Barbarella meets in the uncharted Planet 16 of Tau Ceti look remarkably human. Pygar seems to be this and a Pretty Boy at the same time.