Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets – review

Super successful space soldier Valerian (Dane Dehaan) and his equally as talented partner Laureline (Cara Delevingne) solve space problems and stop crime, this time it involves aliens in trouble and aliens trying to kill people, well, there is probably some sort of story at work but I am struggling to put it into a sentence.

This movie cost a whopping $180 million, making it the most expensive non-American and independent film ever made and bombed hard at the box office. But does Valerian deserve a second chance for your attention?

Based on a French comic book, with 50 years of published work to use as inspiration, this movie has a lot of background and the world building here is very strong, complex worlds with histories, technologies and different species are all established.

The full on colourful, kinetic alien worlds are very reminiscent of  Valerians director Luc Bessons previous movie The Fifth Element and *whisper* it Jupiter Ascending. It also shares some of the same problems as Jupiter Ascending, being somewhat incoherent. But what Valerian  lacks in plot and dialogue it makes up for spectacle, cgi, alien design and sheer visual overload. And that is what makes Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets worth your time.

Take for example, the first big action sequence set in a tourist filled bazaar, that takes places in multiple dimensions at the same time. Okay so I probably need to watch it again to actually describe what is going on but there are giant sunglasses, arms stuck in inter-dimensional boxes, alien crime standoffs and general action scene fun. Or when Valerian has to run through multiple alien environments in quick succession.

But the really truly terrible thing about Valerian is the casting, DeHaan is not a square jawed, strong, ladykiller, super soldier type, at all, which is what he character is supposed to be. He just looks small and so, so in need of a good nap. And does he normally speak like that? Like a deeper than expected voice that is a bit early Keanu sounding? It was a odd. Delevingne tries really had to act, she just isn’t very good. The scene at the end when they kiss, is so awkward it is like brother and sister kissing. It really says something when Rihanna is the scene stealer.

In short Valerian would be a lot better with a different choice of lead actors but it is worth a watch for the creative, full on visuals.

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