Curtis L. Isom – Founder / Editor-in-Chief
It is said, “‘Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’. I can appreciate the humor when someone does a parody of something “established”. Parodies are an interesting form of entertainment found on shows like Saturday Night Live, Family Guy, or Robot Chicken. Parodies are found in both the mainstream and adult movies.
I’m not going to talk about the NUMEROUS parodies that exist in the mainstream movies because the list goes on and on and on. But in adult movies, parodies are becoming more and more prevalent to the point I wonder if some of the movie makers have any original ideas of their own, or do they just rely on doing a version (parody) of someone else’s work.
Now, I do appreciate a good parody and there were many made during the 70’s and 80’s. They either used the titles or plots of existing mainstream movies to derive a new adult film. This idea created movies like “8 to 4”, “Educating Nina”, “Flesh Gordon”, and “A Night of Loving Dangerously” from that era. My personal dvd collection includes my favorite adult parody, “Take Off” which features the legendary Annette Haven. This clever parody runs the gambit including mainstream things like classic literature, old horror films, advertising, brand names, etc…… It’s so clever a game could be made to see how many mainstream things are parodied in the film.
But this is not a review of “Take Off”, but of Axel Braun’s parody of the classic 1968 sci-fi film “Barbarella” which starred Jane Fonda. Axel’s version stars Riley Steele. The plots are the same: Barbarella is directed to find Dr. Durand Durand and save the universe.
I also know that parodies aren’t suppose to be taken seriously, but that doesn’t mean I can’t share my opinion. My review approach was simple: re-watch the original, then see how Axel Braun puts his twist on it. This approach measures how much “justice” the parody does to the original. In making a parody and using the same story, then homage should be paid to the original. I admit I have met a number of the people who are in this parody, but I don’t give any special consideration when reviewing Mr. Braun’s “BarbarellaXXX“.
As a movie lover, I will always call it as I see it.
And I wanna note the original “Barbarella” is a sort of parody in itself by spoofing characters like Flash Gordon and James Bond. It is based on the book and comic series of the same name by Jean-Claude Forest. Reviews of the original varied, but in re-watching the original I found it very amusing, enjoyable, and having a definite sexual tone to it.
Axel Braun’s version is almost two hours long with three-quarters of that devoted to the sex scenes. He touches upon most of the highlights of the original’s plot and for the most part is a decent movie. Axel Braun is an award winning director for his parodies, but if this is a good example of his work…..well…..someone isn’t paying attention.
I was told the movie’s beginning was a “frame-by-frame” recreation of the original’s famous “revolving disrobe”. Not even close. And Riley Steele’s portrayal of BARBARELLA as dumb is a stereotype that could of been done without. The movie has it’s humorous moments, but for a parody there were possibilities for more. Overall, the cast does a nice job but I found there were instances in the movie where the acting fell flat and lines were mumbled. Not because someone was sucking dick, but because it was like they didn’t know how to enunciate. In addition, there are times when things got “sloppy”. Here’s some examples:
- When Barbarella meets the Great Tyrant (Asa Akira), they talk like the two have met before, but this meeting was never shown.
- When Dr. Durand Durand has Barbarella in his musical torture device, it’s clear he’s not playing the machine’s keyboard. (Yeah it maybe picky, but it’s SO OBVIOUS!)
- When Barbarella comes upon the three women and the man in the water tank, NOTHING is said to identify what Barbarella is watching. It’s the “Essence of Man” from the original. It is also obvious that the women are “smoking” from lengths of pipe insulation. An extra $10-$20 couldn’t be spent to finish out the prop pipes???
- To me, the movie ends abruptly without some things unresolved. If you’re going to follow the original story line, then please complete ALL of the story.
There is a couple of things in the original that I thought should have been included in Mr. Braun’s version but weren’t. One is Barbarella having sex with Pygar the angel. The other is her having “sex” with the leader of the resistance which is one of the funniest scenes in the original. Both of these scenes could have added more humor to Axel Braun’s version if approached correctly.
Again, I know this is a parody, but dammit, people pay good money and expect to get a finished product. And for movie makers, you want to give your audience a polished final product free of any glaring errors. Especially when your someone like Axel Braun who has numerous awards for his parodies.
Overall, I give the movie a rating of 7.5 out of 10. Like I said before, it is a decent movie, but lacked the polish I expect from an award winning director.
If anyone has questions, email me “firstname.lastname@example.org”. I appreciate your time in reading this and look forward to anything you may have to say.
Till next time………