Reviews: Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets
Pure spectacle and nothing else
There's a lot to see in this movie but very little to say. The plot is very basic, but every plot point takes 20 minutes to get through because some convoluted excuse to go through an extra chase scene and a dozen CGI environments. Everything is only for show and exists to pad out the running time, nothing is ever revisited or has any importance beyond its immediate introduction. Infodumps are clumsy while being unnecessary. For example, for some reason, Valerian wants to know the history of the station where his home base is at the beginning of the film. It's just so obvious and clunky. The acting is crappy too. I can't like any of the characters, the obvious intended relationship isn't believable, the plot is simple yet unnecessarily weighed down with pointless diversions. Normally i love a movie with lots of worldbuilding. But this is probably the most inelegant worldbuilding I've seen. The clumsiness makes it less engaging than reading an encyclopedia.
No cliche left unused.
What happened here? There is enough of the original source material that I know someone was working from a copy. There is also enough dross layered over the top that I suspect that someone took the first draft from the hands of that person and "fixed" it. There are some amazing scenes such as the opening or "the major tom montage" and big market, but most of what we see is awkward and clunky. And cliche. This film really feels like a refugee from the 60s (and I know that the comic IS from the 60s, but a lot of the problems AREN'T in the comic), with the stock "inflexible career woman and cowboy male partner" opening (nevermind that they swap characterizations for the final act), the noble savages who lack even mathematics before exposure to human (and mostly white) culture. Good grief the pearls even dress in a way almost carbon copied from the traditional dress of part of africa. Oh, and the countdown unironically stops at 1 second. Its pretty and that opening montage is a jewel of a short film in its own right, but otherwise this is not worth your time.
A dazzling science-fiction funhouse - where only the title character is having fun.
I love this movie for what I expected it to be - the movie Luc Besson *wanted* to make when he made The Fifth Element - a Sci-Fi Kitchen Sink filled with weird and wonderful alien places and people. Unfortunately, Dane DeHaan is the only non-CGI character who is embracing the Ham and Cheese setting - being the hypercompetent ethical womanizer that Agent Valerian is supposed to be AKA Han Solo-with-a-badge. Every other human is pretending this is some kind of Tom Clancy-style military thriller Recycled IN SPACE! AKA Syfy's The Expanse. Still, anyone who enjoys any of Luc Besson's movies in general - and "The Fifth Element" in particular - should watch this. *Especially* in 3D.