Review: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)

Hello! So here’s what I’ve been doing with my life. I went on an overseas trip which was tiring and anxiety inducing, but a wonderful experience. During which I was able to watch Valerian and the City of a Thousand City Planets (2017) on the plane ride going there, and on the way back home, half of Isle of Dogs (2018). I wasn’t able to finish Wes Anderson’s lovely tale of doggos because I was half dead during the first part of the flight but I loved what I saw so far and will most definitely seek out a copy to finish it and hopefully will review it here soon. Now back to Valerian…

Valerian_and_the_City_of_a_Thousand_Planets

Look I’ve heard a lot of bad things about this film. So I kind of pushed this movie way down my “to watch” pile despite the fact that I am part of the Dane DeHaan fan club of two (shout out to Angus!). So I found this movie on the plane aaaand I thought it wasn’t as bad as they say it is. Well okay, I saw this whilst breathing airplane air, so there’s that.

But I don’t know, I was kind of okay with it. The movie does verge on the campy and kooky side of things, but I liked the amount of campiness and kookiness that it had. Although I do realize the movie really does have plenty of faults to go around. The biggest would be character development. I never read the Valerian and Laureline comic books (to be specific, a French science fiction comic book series called Valérian and Laureline, written by Pierre Christin and illustrated by Jean-Claude Mézières) from which this movie is adapted from so I don’t know their back story. The movie should’ve delved into that, at least enough of it for the audience to feel some sympathy for the two protagonists. But Luc Besson failed on that account. He just throws us into this bickering, I-love-you-or-I-don’t, not-quite-a-couple-but-maybe-they-are, kind of dynamic. It’s strangely like a punchline with no context. And I guess this is why the movie feels ineffective. Which made me sad because it is a visually stunning creation from Luc Besson, and the world of Valerian and Laureline itself is such an awe-inspiring piece of imagination.

But when you don’t feel anything for the protagonists, when you don’t really get what they’re after, when you hardly understand why the heck they seem to have this weird relationship, it makes everything a little lackluster. And I don’t blame Dane DeHaan or Cara Delevinge. I don’t think they did, as some people said, bad acting. I mean nobody sets out to do bad acting. Had character development been given more thought, they would’ve shined, I feel like. So yeah. Oh, one more thing, Rihanna killed it here. I mean she was mostly this CGI alien creature thingy, but she killed it! She has a weird dancing sequence that was just fantastic.

I don’t know if there will be a second installment considering how much this movie bombed but seeing how wonderful the world of Valerian and Laureline is, I hope they won’t close their doors in this.

Rating:
3.5/5 Stars

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