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Barbarella

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    95
    from 4 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Barbarella dazzles in 4K with vibrant restoration and rich extras, a must-own sci-fi classic.

    Barbarella 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

    True 4K
    HDR10
    Dolby Vision
    Dolby Atmos
    DTS-HD MA
    Dolby TrueHD
  • Video
    94
  • Arrow's 4K UHD release of 'Barbarella' features a stunning restoration with original and new audio tracks, rich colors via HDR, and includes unique artwork editions; a collector must-have.

  • Audio
    92
  • Barbarella's UHD Blu-ray features a meticulously restored 4K image with natural grain and vibrant colors, plus varied audio options, albeit with subtle overhead sound effects.

  • Extra
    96
  • The Barbarella 4K release features an array of special and audio options with notable omissions, alongside a comprehensive suite of engaging and insightful supplements, presented with meticulous care by Arrow.

  • Movie
    85
  • Barbarella merges '60s psychedelic vibe with erotic sci-fi adventure, where Jane Fonda’s iconic performance and the film's vibrant design and humor outshine its simplistic plot, influencing pop culture and sci-fi genre.

    Video: 94

    Arrow Video's release of "Barbarella" on 4K UHD Blu-ray presents an impeccable remastering effort that breathes new life into this Technicolor marvel. Sourced from a new 4K restoration of the original 35mm camera negative, along with sections sourced from a 4K scan of the original 35mm interpositive, the film is showcased in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. This meticulous process, documented in Arrow's insert booklet, was undertaken by Silver Salt Restoration, London, enhancing the film in 4K SDR, HDR10, and Dolby Vision, with audio restoration by Bad Princess Productions, London. The result is a stunning visual feast that retains its organic film grain, now tightly resolved to enhance detail and texture – from the intricacies of costumes to the delicate structure of Pygar's wings. The addition of HDR and Dolby Vision enriches the film's already vivid palette, making its bold, campy visuals pop with unparalleled vibrancy.

    The set, unique for its inclusion of both the UHD and extras on separate Blu-ray discs (region A locked), ensures that enthusiasts and newcomers alike can experience "Barbarella" in unprecedented clarity. The UHD presentation utilizes an HEVC/ H.265 encoded 2160p transfer, accompanied by restored original mono English and French audio and newly created English 5.1 and Atmos presentations. This upgrade marks a significant improvement over previous formats, most notably in color rendition and depth of field. Highlights and shadows are rendered with meticulous care, ensuring that blacks are deep and inky without sacrificing detail. The Dolby Vision HDR not only complements but elevates the production design, showcasing the Technicolor brilliance with a precision that matches, if not surpasses, traditional 35mm projections.

    Despite its age and thematic eccentricities, the technological care afforded to "Barbarella" on this 4K UHD release ensures a viewing experience that is both nostalgically satisfying and technically commendable. Arrow Video's commitment to preserving the film's grain structure while enhancing color dynamics and detail through HDR reiterates the timeless appeal of this sci-fi classic. Fans will appreciate the dedication to audio restoration as well, with the Dolby Atmos and 5.1 mixes breathing new life into the film's auditory landscape. This release not only champions "Barbarella" as a cult classic but also as a showcase of restoration excellence, solidifying its must-have status for collectors and cinephiles alike.

    Audio: 92

    The audio presentation of the "Barbarella" 4K UHD Blu-ray showcases a range of options catering to diverse preferences, all maintaining the movie's sonic essence while enhancing the listening experience through technological advancements. Arrow's inclusion of both English and French LPCM Mono tracks pays homage to the film's original auditory footprint, with the French track offering an authentic auditory experience through Jane Fonda’s voice. Yet, it is the newly minted Dolby Atmos track that stands out, reimagining the mono sound in a spatial setting. This Atmos mix does not indulge excessively in verticality but instead focuses on creating an immersive environment with nuanced object placement, especially noticeable in effects sequences that benefit from added depth and clarity. The subtile handling of ambient sounds and discrete effects across the height and bed channels contributes to an enriching auditory experience without overwhelming the listener.

    The mix leans heavily on a front-oriented perspective, ensuring dialogue clarity and sound effects precision. The dialogue emerges refined and distinct, blending seamlessly with the front channels and enraptured by excellent channel separation that bolsters the sound effects and music orchestration. Switching between the English language tracks reveals the craftsmanship behind the 5.1 and Atmos mixes, with both demonstrating a stronger presence in midrange and low-end frequencies. Despite this sonic robustness, the Atmos track is notably restrained in flaunting vertical soundscapes, preferring a discreet but efficacious enhancement of immersion and, in certain sequences, lending additional vigor to the effects.

    Overall, "Barbarella's" audio presentation is technically adept, striking a balance between faithful mono replication and the enveloping reach of modern Dolby Atmos technology. The source material's excellent condition underpins a pristine audio experience across all tracks, minus some sibilance noted in the French track. While it subtly enriches ambient and effect sounds across its multichannel offerings, the heart of "Barbarella's" auditory allure lies in its careful preservation of dialogue clarity, effective sound staging, and an orchestral depth that respects the film’s original sonic charisma.

    Extra: 96

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Barbarella" presents a meticulously restored visual and auditory experience that highlights the innovative work of Bad Princess Productions and Deluxe Audio London in rejuvenating the original mono tracks and crafting a dynamic Dolby Atmos mix. While the package exhibits a minor quirk with the automatic selection of English SDH subtitles on certain devices, this does not detract from the overall quality of the restoration. Furthermore, the absence of an English 5.1 soundtrack, despite some initial expectations, is compensated by the richness of the mono and Atmos tracks. The audio menu's screenshot omission corroborates this finding, making it an intriguing aspect for collectors and enthusiasts. This release stands out for its dedication to preserving and enhancing the original sonic landscape of "Barbarella," ensuring fans can experience the film's iconic score and sound design with unprecedented clarity and immersion.

    Extras included in this disc:

    Audio Commentary by Tim Lucas: A new commentary track that offers insights into the film.

    Isolated Score Track: Presented in LPCM Mono, highlighting Charles Fox and Bob Crewe's contributions.

    Alternative Opening Credits: Restored in 4K with Dolby Vision, giving a fresh look at the film's introduction.

    Alternative Closing Credits: Also restored in 4K with Dolby Vision, offering an alternate perspective on the film's conclusion.

    Another Girl, Another Planet: An appreciation by film critic Glenn Kenny, provided in high definition.

    Barbarella Forever!: A behind-the-scenes featurette with footage shot by Paul Joyce in 1967.

    Love: Tim Lucas and Steve Bissette on Barbarella: A detailed conversation between two Barbarella enthusiasts.

    Dress to Kill: Features Elizabeth Castaldo Lunden discussing Jacques Fontenay's costume designs.

    Framing for Claude: An interview with camera operator Roberto Girometti, focusing on Claude Renoir.

    Tognazzi on Tognazzi: Ricky Tognazzi discusses his father, Ugo Tognazzi's, role in Barbarella.

    An Angel’s Body Double: A feature on Fabio Testi's early career and his work as a body double in Barbarella.

    Dino and Barbarella: A video essay by Eugenio Ercolani on producer Dino De Laurentiis' connection to the film.

    Trailer, US TV spot, and Radio spots: Additional promotional materials provided in high definition.

    Image Gallery: A collection of high-definition images related to Barbarella.

    Movie: 85

    Barbarella," a film that unabashedly encapsulates the vibrant, provocative energy of the 1960s, stands as a cult classic that defies the traditional sci-fi genre with its psychedelic and erotic flourishes. Directed by Roger Vadim, this adaptation of the French comic strips emerges as a visually arresting journey through the 41st century, where the titular character, Barbarella (portrayed by Jane Fonda), embarks on a mission beset with surreal and sensual adventures. Tasked by the President of Earth to locate the missing scientist Durand Durand, Barbarella’s quest unfolds amidst a backdrop of lurid landscapes, inventive set designs mirroring art deco indulgence, and a narrative that oscillates between the absurd and the erotically charged. The film’s embrace of sexual liberation, combined with its kitsch aesthetic and humorous undertones, makes it a unique artifact of its time, intentionally divergent from the contemporary seriousness of sci-fi cinema.

    The production design and costumes, contributions from an exemplary team including Mario Garbuglia, Jacques Fonteray, and fashion icon Paco Rabanne, create an unparalleled visual tapestry that is arguably the film’s most commendable feature. These elements, in harmony with Charles Fox and Bob Crewe's loungecore musical score, amplify the movie's whimsical tone, further enhancing its distinct charm. Notwithstanding its simple plot and at times disjointed narrative structure, "Barbarella's" strength lies in its capacity to serve as a time capsule of 60s pop culture—its influence resonating in various aspects of media and fashion long after its release.

    At the core of "Barbarella’s" enduring appeal is Jane Fonda’s portrayal of the eponymous heroine. Fonda infuses the character with a mix of innocence, sexual confidence, and self-awareness that transcends typical female roles within the genre at the time. Her performance is both emblematic of the era’s progressive attitudes toward femininity and sexuality, while also providing a satirical lens through which to view them. The film navigates its series of eccentric vignettes and encounters with a light-heartedness that belies its deeper commentary on gender dynamics and social norms. Despite its apparent frivolity, "Barbarella" is a thought-provoking exploration of freedom, identity, and desire, wrapped in a flamboyant package that continues to captivate audiences seeking an escape into its uniquely fantastical universe.

    Total: 95

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Barbarella" by Arrow Video is an exemplary showcase of how to pay homage to classic cinema with modern technology, offering fans a definitive version of this eccentric and visually extravagant 1960s sci-fi adventure. The restoration imbues the film with a vibrancy that complements its campy, psychedelic aesthetic, presented in a stunning visual quality that makes its Day-Glo, neon-infused scenes pop, accompanied by a lossless Dolby Atmos audio track that elevates its immersive experience. This collector's edition is not just about the film; it includes a plethora of extras, both on and off-disc, enhancing its value significantly. The packaging and added non-disc memorabilia further sweeten the deal, making this release a must-have for aficionados of the genre and era.

    Arrow Video has once again proven their dedication to cinema with this release, understanding that films like "Barbarella," despite being seen as frivolous or dated by some, hold a special place in the hearts of fans and in the history of sci-fi cinema. This release treats the film with the respect it deserves, providing a new transfer that respects the original's vibrant aesthetic while employing modern enhancements like Dolby Vision HDR for unparalleled clarity and depth. The supplemental package is generous, filled with informative and entertaining extras that provide context and deepen the appreciation for this unique cinematic experience.

    In conclusion, the Arrow Video 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Barbarella" is an outstanding accomplishment that perfectly balances nostalgia with cutting-edge presentation technology. It stands as a testament to the enduring appeal of the film, offering both long-standing fans and new viewers alike a compelling reason to explore its nutso charm. With its exceptional aural and visual restoration, lavish collector's extras, and high-quality packaging, this release not only celebrates but elevates "Barbarella" in the realm of home cinema collections.