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Barbarella

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    95
    from 5 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Barbarella dazzles in 4K with kitsch charm, lavish extras, and stunning restoration.

    Barbarella 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
    95
  • Arrow Video's Barbarella 4K UHD release dazzles with restored visuals, immersive audio, and exclusive art, yet is region A locked.

  • Audio
    95
  • The Barbarella UHD Blu-ray boasts a native 4K restoration with natural grain and vivid HDR colors, alongside versatile audio options including robust English and French LPCM Mono and an expansive Dolby Atmos track.

  • Extra
    97
  • Barbarella's 4K release packs a rich, detailed audio experience and a treasure trove of special features, ensuring a deep dive into its legacy and production nuances.

  • Movie
    86
  • Barbarella blends '60s psychedelic style with Jane Fonda's iconic performance in a campy, erotic sci-fi adventure, influential for its visual flair and playful critique of gender norms.

    Video: 95

    Arrow Video's release of "Barbarella" on 4K UHD Blu-ray realizes the film's visual potential with an outstanding restoration effort that caters both to enthusiasts of the original and newcomers interested in experiencing this psychedelic sci-fi spectacle in unprecedented quality. The film is presented with a 2160p HEVC/H.265 encoding, maintaining its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The restoration process involved scanning the original 35mm camera negative and sections of a 35mm interpositive in 4K 16 bit at Fotokem, Burbank, with Silver Salt Restoration, London overseeing the restoration and grading in 4K SDR, HDR10, and Dolby Vision. This meticulous effort results in a visual feast that pops with vibrant colors and displays a pleasingly organic grain structure despite some moments of heavy grain due to the film’s aged optical effects.

    Technical specifics aside, the new 4K restoration brings a notable improvement in detail and texture clarity, particularly evident in costume fabrics and environmental decorations. The HDR and Dolby Vision grading illuminate the film's colorful palette, from the rich hues of alien landscapes to the dynamic contrasts in dark and light areas, ensuring deep blacks and crisp highlights. This version not only faithfully respects, but enhances the original photochemical finish and Technicolor brilliance expected from a film shot by cinematographer Claude Renoir using Panavision cameras with anamorphic lenses. It preserves the film's organic integrity while breathing new life into its wide array of colors and special effects, despite the latter's inherent limitations.

    Arrow has indeed delivered a definitive version of "Barbarella" on optical disc, providing both die-hard fans and newcomers with an enriching visual experience. The inclusion of original mono English and French audio tracks and new English 5.1 and Atmos presentations complement this visually stunning release. With a bitrate often exceeding 100Mbps and no apparent digital noise reduction, the presentation stays true to its source material, offering a clean, vibrant image that highlights this cult classic’s unique aesthetic. Arrow Video’s commitment to quality is evident in every aspect of this release, making it a must-have for any collector or enthusiast eager to experience "Barbarella" in all its campy, colorful glory.

    Audio: 95

    The audio presentation of "Barbarella" on 4K UHD Blu-ray showcases an impressive array of options that cater to a variety of preferences, ensuring a highly adaptable auditory experience. The inclusion of English and French 1.0 LPCM tracks, alongside the more immersive English Dolby Atmos option (which is 7.1 Dolby TrueHD compatible), offers an encompassing dive into the film's unique soundscape. The Atmos track, in particular, does not attempt to reinvent the audio but expands on the original mono to fill the listening space more effectively. In doing so, it subtly enhances mid-range and bass frequencies in certain effects, providing an enveloping experience without overstepping the source material's authenticity. Notably, the English track presents a surprisingly robust experience even in its mono form, especially with regards to the score and sound effects.

    The fidelity across all tracks is commendable, with dialogue, effects, and score being presented clearly without any noticeable issues. The separation and clarity within the front channels are particularly praiseworthy for enhancing the reproduction of sound effects and the orchestrated elements of the music, thus maintaining a balanced and front-oriented soundscape. While the Atmos offerings may not boast an overwhelming level of verticality, they do secure an immersive atmosphere with occasional bursts of extra emphasis in effects sequences, subtly bolstering the overall auditory experience. Optional English subtitles add to the accessibility of this release.

    Moreover, the French LPCM Mono track merits attention for featuring Jane Fonda's own dubbing, adding an authentic touch for Francophone audiences despite its somewhat narrower soundscape and occasional sibilance. The technical proficiency in handling these diverse audio options is evident, as even the mono tracks provide a full-bodied experience, testament to the careful restoration and translation of the film's sound design. The source material's condition is excellent, with no significant damage impacting any of the tracks, ensuring that "Barbarella's" auditory experience remains pristine and engaging across its varied audio presentations. This audio restoration not only respects but also revitalizes the original sonic intentions of "Barbarella," affording both purists and those seeking an enhanced audio experience ample satisfaction.

    Extra: 97

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Barbarella" not only dazzles with its visual restoration but also shines through its comprehensive and meticulously curated array of extra features. Arrow Films has outdone themselves, ensuring a blend of original and remixed audio tracks including the stunning Dolby Atmos mix that breathes new life into the film's iconic soundscape. The restoration of the original mono tracks and the detailed work in sound mixing, as observed in top-notch production facilities, underline the dedication to preserving and enhancing the film's auditory legacy. The package is further enriched with an array of insightful extras on a separate Blu-ray disc, including critical appreciations, behind-the-scenes featurettes, and extensive interviews that delve into every aspect of "Barbarella’s" creation, impact, and legacy. The inclusion of alternative opening and closing credits in 4K with Dolby Vision, alongside the isolated score track, not to forget the unique artifacts like the reversible sleeve and fold-out poster, makes this edition a treasure trove for collectors and enthusiasts alike.

    Extras included in this disc:

    4K UHD Disc

    • Audio Commentary by Tim Lucas: Insightful exploration of "Barbarella" by the film critic.
    • Isolated Score Track: Presented in LPCM Mono.
    • Alternative Opening Credits: Restored in 4K with Dolby Vision (2:21).
    • Alternative Closing Credits: Restored in 4K with Dolby Vision (1:16).

    Blu-ray Disc

    • Another Girl, Another Planet: An appreciation by film critic Glenn Kenny (HD 23:03).
    • Barbarella Forever!: Behind-the-scenes featurette shot by Paul Joyce in 1967 (HD 14:54).
    • Love: Tim Lucas and Steve Bissette discuss "Barbarella" (HD 113:20).
    • Dress to Kill: Elizabeth Castaldo Lunden on Jacques Fontenay's costume designs (HD 31:30).
    • Framing for Claude: Interview with camera operator Roberto Girometti (HD 17:12).
    • Tognazzi on Tognazzi: Ricky Tognazzi talks about his father, Ugo Tognazzi (HD 21:56).
    • An Angel’s Body Double: Fabio Testi recounts his experience on "Barbarella" (HD 24:26).
    • Dino and Barbarella: A video essay by Eugenio Ercolani (HD 14:27).
    • Trailer: (HD 3:21).
    • US TV Spot: (HD 0:55).
    • US Radio Spots: (HD 2:55).
    • Image Gallery: A collection of visual treasures from the film.

    Movie: 86

    In the visually stunning and erotically charged space adventure "Barbarella," directed by Roger Vadim, the film navigates the galaxy of 1960s psychedelic sensibility with a distinct sense of both style and substance. Starring Jane Fonda as the titular heroine, the movie delves into a futuristic narrative where Barbarella is tasked by the President of Earth to locate the renegade scientist Durand Durand, whose invention threatens universal peace. Amidst a landscape rich with lava-lamp aesthetics, courtesy of design legends Mario Garbuglia, Jacques Fonteray, and Paco Rabanne, "Barbarella" becomes an emblematic journey through eras of changing sexual politics and cinematic experimentation. Its narrative may play second fiddle to its spectacle, but the feature remains memorable for its daring blend of camp, humor, and a light-hearted approach to its rather explicit themes.

    At the heart of "Barbarella's" enduring appeal is Fonda’s performance, which radiates both the innocence and sexual freedom of its era. The film, being a product of its time yet undeniably ahead of it, offers a narrative seasoned with tongue-in-cheek dialogue and scenarios that are as engaging as they are ludicrous. The production design stands out for encapsulating the zenith of '60s futurism, contrasting sharply with contemporaneous cinematic achievements by Kubrick and others. Not merely content with visual flair, the soundtrack by Bob Crewe and Charles Fox adds an aural layer to the film’s appeal, further enhancing its space-opera antics. Despite its occasional dips into silliness, "Barbarella" crucially pioneers in adapting comic narratives to screen, a precursor to the modern blockbuster mindset.

    Fascinatingly, "Barbarella" oscillates between being a visionary piece of science fiction and a reflection of the social and sexual revolutions of the '60s. Its reception—a mix of bewilderment and adoration—underscores its role as both a mirror and a maverick piece challenging conventional storytelling. By combining high camp with speculative fiction, Vadim's work does not merely parody; it innovates, making "Barbarella" as much a commentary on the era’s shifting paradigms as a celebratory romp through outer space. The movie's distinctive blend of sex, satire, and space adventure thus secures its position not only as a cult classic but as a significant, if unconventional, milestone in cinematic history.

    Total: 95

    Arrow Video's release of "Barbarella" on 4K UHD Blu-ray is a testament to the film's enduring charm and visual spectacle, encapsulating the whimsical and eccentric spirit of the 1960s. The set not only offers fans a visually stunning restoration of this cult classic, enhanced with Dolby Vision HDR for an unparalleled viewing experience, but also boasts an impressive Dolby Atmos track that revitalizes its audacious soundscape. Accompanying the film is a plethora of special features, including insightful interviews and a vast image gallery, making it an essential addition for collectors and enthusiasts alike.

    Diving into the extras, Arrow ensures aficionados are given a comprehensive behind-the-scenes look at the making of "Barbarella". Highlights include "Dress to Kill," which explores the impact of costume design on the film's iconic style, and "Framing for Claude," offering a glimpse into the cinematographic genius behind its visual allure. The package is rounded out with contributions from those who worked closest with the film, providing a deep dive into its production and legacy. Whether you're intrigued by the film's fashion, special effects, or its place in sci-fi history, there's something here for everyone.

    In conclusion, Arrow Video's 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Barbarella" stands as a definitive edition that not only pays homage to its source material with technical finesse but enriches the viewing experience with an unprecedented level of detail and clarity. For collectors and fans of this quintessentially quirky space adventure, this release is an unmissable treasure trove of cinematic history, presented in an unparalleled format that honors its legacy while propelling it into the future. A must-have for your collection, Arrow's release confirms "Barbarella" as more than just a nostalgic trip; it's a visually arresting journey that's been beautifully resurrected for contemporary audiences to discover and longtime fans to cherish.