Sunday, July 23, 2017


Movie Name: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Year of Release: 2017
Director: Luc Besson
Stars: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Herbie Hancock, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, Kris Wu, Sam Spruell, Alain Chabat, Rutger Hauer, Peter Hudson, Louis Leterrier, Eric Rochant
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Score out of ten: 4
View Trailer

Luc Besson and his production machine is back, this time touting a huge blockbuster he wrote and directed himself, an adaptation of the comic book series "Valerian and Laureline". The film follows the story of Major Valerian and Sergeant Laureline  who in the 28th century, comprise a team of special operatives charged with maintaining order, at least where human presence is felt (the two are also supposedly involved in some sort of quasi romantic relationship). The two embark on a mission that is focused on the immense city of Alpha-an ever-expanding space metropolis where species from all over the universe have converged. There is a mystery at the center of Alpha, something that threatens the peaceful existence of the City. It's up to Valerian and Laureline to identify that menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe.
Luc Besson who created a name for himself in the 80s and 90s, as one of the few French directors to produce and direct films that were immensely popular both in his native country but also outside (namely with "Le Grand Bleu", "Nikita" and "Leon"), has in the meantime become a powerhouse with his production company EuropaCorp, who has been responsible for the release of mid budgeted action films that are immensely popular (such as the "Transporter" and "Taken" series). His latest directorial effort was the surprise hit "Lucy", which has enabled him to tackle this dream project of his. "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets" is very much like "The Fifth Element", a digest of a lot of pop references, from the screwball romantic comedy elements that are associated with the banter between the two lead characters, to the galaxy in peril style which is an instant ode to the universe of "Star Wars". This attempt at marrying all these elements ends up being its main downfall: the banter between the lead characters never really catches on, while the film introduces some subplots that appear out of nowhere to be quickly discarded with little to no consideration (not to mention the villain character or entity is never really quite flushed out). The casting is also a huge issue in the film, since both leads - Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne - don't really work at all in their roles - they both look too young, and their actions feel inconsequential and without any sense of urgency or peril, considering what is at stake (not to mention they have no chemistry). It's a film that lives mostly from the fantastic visual effects and concept design that it presents, and for that alone it manages to be sufficiently entertaining, but in the end it feels like a lot of noise for nothing. A quickly forgettable film.