Director Luc Besson delivers a visually mesmerizing project in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. I say this with a firm emphasis on “visually” because what I witnessed in all its shimmery IMAX glory was orgasmic to the eye… But that’s where it stops. The story is decent, but you can tell from the start that its based on a book. There is no explanation for about 90% of the happenings in this film. Where’d the planets get their names? What’s the backstory on the two main characters? How did things get to where they are now? None of that. They literally took The 5th Element, put it in a blender with Avatar, and put sprinkles of Starship Troopers to finish it off.
Some folks have been comparing it in its entirety to The 5th Element and that is absolutely ridiculous. 5th Element was not only funny, it set the tone for a lot of the current sci-fi films of today. Not to mention it had actual stars in it like Bruce Willis and Chris Tucker (both of whom were in their prime). The biggest names in Valerian are Herbie Hancock, Ethan Hawke, and Clive Owen. To be compared to The 5th Element you’d need the equivalent of Jason Statham and Kevin Hart (modern day comparisons to Willis and Tucker).
But I digress, special agents Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara DeLevingne) are put a special mission to identify the mysterious presence that landed on their home Alpha. Alpha is home to various walks of life from over a thousand planets (hence the title of the film) and the fact they can’t identify this mysterious presence throws their military into a frenzy.
The comedy is sparse and Cara DeLevingne pretty much carries the film. She looks good, uses tact, she’s far more patient than Valerian, she’s a hard worker, and she can fight. Valerian is pretty much an interstellar f*** boy.
I saw it in IMAX and it was a gorgeous experience. The acting, however, was subpar. But Rihanna shows her face and played one heckuva stripper. She actually had some lines too. Once you hear her story, you actually begin to feel for her. I was like “Wow, I’m feeling Rihanna’s character… What does this mean?” But before I got too comfortable she was killed. (*Spoiler Alert*). A rollercoaster of emotions all for nothing.
I can easily give this cornball movie a 7 out of 10. Teens and avocado millennials are more than likely going to give this the push that it needs to stay at the top of the charts. The best I can say about this is it’s pretty. Oh, and following my review of Planet of the Apes, we here again find ourselves in the exact same disaster scenario: ‘There’s something new white people haven’t seen before, white people, therefore, deem it dangerous, it must be destroyed.’ Because hey, if it ain’t broke…