Title: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Directed by: Luc Besson
Screenplay: Luc Besson
Music: Alexandre Desplat
Cinematography: Thierry Arbogast
Edited by: Julien Rey
Production Companies: EuropaCorp, Fundamental Films, BNP Paribas Fortis Film Finance, Universum Film, Gulf Film, River Road Entertainment, and Belga Films
Genre: Science Fiction, Action, Adventure
Producers: Luc Besson, and Virginie Besson-Silla
Distributed by: STX Entertainment, EuropaCorp
Rating: Rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action, suggestive material and brief language.
Release Date: July 21, 2017
Running Time: 117 minutes
Source: Tickets purchased from Cineplex Canada.
Synopsis: A dark force threatens Alpha, a vast metropolis and home to species from a thousand planets. Special operatives Valerian and Laureline must race to identify the marauding menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe.
– TRAILER –
– MY REVIEW –
I will start off by saying that I have been very excited about this film since I saw the very first trailer (either early this year, or late last year). The reason why my rating isn’t the highest may also be because my expectations were too high, or that I had formed an idea of what the film would be like, and was proven wrong.
What I did enjoy about Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets was the visuals. You can tell that a lot of time and money went into making the colours pop, into creating and illustrating all over the various alien species, etc. etc. My eyes feasted! The worlds, costumes, and creatures looked amazing!
I also really liked how Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne looked together, because they both have very interesting, and striking faces. I also really like that Rihanna was cast in this movie, and also Kris Wu (formerly part of the kpop group EXO, and also my bias while he was in that group). I did not expect to see Kris in this movie because I have not been following his activities for some time, and I was surprised and please that he got as many lines as he did. So, that was a treat!
Character-wise I also did enjoy Kris’s character (Sergeant Neza), Rihanna’s (Bubble), and Delevingne’s (Sergeant Laureline), visually, as well as personality wise. Sergeant Neza didn’t show too much emotion, but I’m justifying that by deciding that it’s simply his soldier training keeping him calm in tense situations. Or maybe I’m still biased. I will not say anything about Bubble so as to avoid spoilers, and as for Sergeant Laureline…I liked that she had fire, motivation, was very determined, loyal, feminist, and just an overall badass.
The character who had his name featured in the title of the film, on the other hand, was not as enjoyable for me. He had his moments, yes, but otherwise, he felt a little flat to me. I really wanted to like him, but when he didn’t feel flat, his choices, as well as his actions mostly bothered me. I will say that he is quite brave though, and that he does develop as a character, so I will give him that. I also really really like his name, despite its overuse in the script. I was actually unable to immerse myself in the film a few times because it bothered me how many times “Valerian” was sad in succession. We know his name. The movie is named after him. Stop. There were also other parts of the script which could have used some editing, that didn’t bother me quite as much, but were still noticeable for me.
Some of the acting also was not up to par, and I will not mention which characters were involved in this, since readers will notice and judge this for themselves. This could also have been due to the style of the movie? I don’t really know enough about film criticism to pin-point exactly what happened here. The plot on the other hand did have some mystery to it, and managed to hold my attention throughout. It was nothing revolutionary, but it was enjoyable, full of action, and very well-paced! There was more comedy, and I did enjoy the occasional laughs. A hint of feminism also permeated it all, but I did find that males were the most dominant in the end (and in the title, as you’ll notice). And while I did notice that the overall cast was quite diverse, the two main actors, as well as those in power (those with more screen time, anyway) were exclusively white. I did, however, appreciate that one of the alien races was quite androgynous!
Music-wise, this film did not stand out to me. The trailer made me expect this to be one of the top 2017 films music-wise, but I barely remember any of the auditory components. Listening to the soundtrack post-film, I can recall when most of the songs were played in the film, and while mostly enjoyable, I will not likely be adding any of the songs to my regular playlist.
Overall, I would like to say that I will be watching this film again just because the visuals and plot were very entertaining. I also find myself missing the world (now) some days after having viewed the film, which means something. And I do hope that there will be more films in this series, but that they perhaps put more focus on the script and quality of acting. I recommend this film to those who enjoy science fiction (it’s really a must-see for you!), those who want to be entertained without having to decipher anything or think too hard about the plot, and those who enjoy a hint of romance in their films.