One of the inspirations behind Star Wars finally has a live-action adaptation.
Directed by Luc Besson (The Fifth Element and Leon: The Professional), this movie is based from the French sci-fi comic book Valerian and Laureline. Considering that this is one of the inspirations behind classic sci-fi films such as Star Wars and The Fifth Element, it is a wonder how this movie only got made now.
In the 28th century, Major Valerian (Dane Dehaan) and his partner Sergeant Laureline (Cara Delevingne) are agents of the police force of Alpha, a super space station inhabited by humans and alien species. After dreaming about a low-tech civilization, Valerian, along with his partner, goes on a mission to retrieve a stolen rare animal, the Converter, from an alien black arms dealer. After the successful mission, they were soon informed that a huge chunk of the Alpha is considered highly toxic, and an emergency meeting was called because of this. The two are assigned to protect Commander Filitt (Clive Owen), the highest ranking human officer in Alpha. Suddenly, an alien squad, that looks similar to the ones in Valerian’s dream, kidnapped the commander. Valerian and Laureline chase the alien squad to rescue their officer…but in the process learns something more sinister.
The obvious… The visuals in this movie is very colorful and amazing. The set designs look cool. My favorite one is definitely the market. It looks so sci-fi, and we learned so much about the technology of the universe in just that area.
Whether or not they are CGIs or prosthetics, I like the alien designs. The costume designs were also good looking. I’m not sure if it was intentional, but the soldier design is very reminiscent of the Stormtroopers (or is it the other way around? I don’t know. I did not read the original comics).
And that’s pretty much it…
First of all, for a movie with two leads with a romantic sub-plot, there was absolutely no chemistry between Dehaan and Delevingne. For me, they would work better if they were siblings…. OR BETTER YET… just partners!
Also, the movie could have cut itself 20 or so minutes because Bubble’s (Rihanna) part was YES YES YES unnecessary! It was an unnecessary sub-narrative! and…
I have to feel bad and sympathetic that her character died? There was no build up to her character, and the way her death was presented seems like she is a big character. No! Remove that entire “Laureline gets kidnapped” sub-plot, and the movie could have been better in terms of pacing.
Also, I’m a huge antagonist guy. For me, the villains are a huge chunk of the movie. So seeing how Commander Filitt was presented is such a downer for me. First of all, obvious bad guy is obvious. They could have at least present his dialogue in a more mysterious way. The moment he spoke, you know he is the bad guy. Also, the big series of revelations at the end (and the short one in the middle) should have felt much more impactful if there was a mystery of the identity of the big bad.
There were also scenes that were obviously cut. That or the filmmakers never bothered to stitch them all together. Like a lot!
I don’t know… But Dehaan and director Besson seem to be in a slump today. Director Besson made Leon: The Professional and The Fifth Element, two of the best 90s films. Now, he has Lucy and this movie. Meanwhile, Dehaan suffers from “He’s great in Chronicle!” syndrome… After watching his movies like Amazing Spiderman 2 and A Cure for Wellness, I still have hope for him because…….he was great in Chronicle!
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is a visual spectacle…that’s for sure. But the problems with its pacing, plot, and characters makes this movie…