Movie Review: VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS Disappoints
Luc Besson is responsible for writing and directing several great feature films for the past 30 years. Some of my personal favorite films of his include Nikita, Leon: The Professional, and The Fifth Element. This film, Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets, was based off of Luc Besson's favorite childhood comic series Valerian and Laureline.
So it is with great respect that I decline to give Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets a positive review.
The opening sequence of this film was excellent as it displays the true event of the first meeting between US astronauts and Russian cosmonauts, and then proceeds to depict what would happen when Asian, African, and Arab astronauts arrive on the International Space Station. Then this sequence continues depicting the arrival and contribution of alien species from other parts of the universe (spoiler alert: The mechanical-like aliens from The Fifth Element show up). This entire opening is set to David Bowie's "Major Tom" (I love that song). The idea being built up is that the International Space Station will eventually become an enormous space colony.
The overall story line centers around Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) who play the part of space agents assigned to solve whatever crisis the movie throws at them. The movie is visually spectacular. Luc Besson and his creative team put a lot of work into creating a whole new universe to play with. There were all sorts of creatures and visually stunning settings digitally created for this film. I cannot fault the visuals of this film.
The downside to this film were the main actors, and the subsequent complicated plot we were expected to follow. If Dane DeHaan was supposed to play some sort of suave yet arrogant type character, we instead get someone who comes off more like a lewd jerk. From the time we are first introduced to these characters, until the end, we see him constantly fret and rave about how much he wants to hook up with Laureline, while at the same time admitting he's not ready to commit to her. There is also a complete lack of chemistry between these two actors/characters, almost as if they showed up simply to read the lines and move on. These two only excelled when they were put to work in executing the action sequences throughout the subplots. The supporting cast is filled with forgettable roles and do not contribute much to the film.
The overall story follows Valerian and Laureline as they travel to one locale to recover a creature being sold at a black market, followed by solving the mysterious near-genocide of an alien species caused by the human government. It's hard to believe, but I found a way to describe this film in one sentence.
I'm scratching this movie off of my Luc Besson favorite films list.