Movie Reviews

Published on July 20th, 2017 | by Angele Colageo

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Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets

Alpha, the inter-universal coalition of a thousand planets that has evolved to support millions of life forms, is under attack. Valerian and his partner, Laureline are assigned to find the culprits and destroy them.  Based on the main characters in the 1967 French comic book series Valerian and Laureline. Luc Besson sends us out into the vastness of the universe and shows us how wondrous it can be.

The director of The Fifth Element has been working on this film for about ten years. Besson has mentioned he had wanted to work on this project for years and it would not have been made before the technology used in James Cameron’s Avatar. The film is a eye-gasming  smorgasbord of star systems, planets and five hundred different alien species. The story itself does not hold many surprises. Heroes looking for villains, lasers pew-pewing across time and space. Goal to save the world as they know.  

Valerian (Dane DeHann) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) have a cool/electric repartee of partners who know each other well and are working to combat the underlying…tensions. We learn that Valerian, quite confident  in his abilities does not work as well without  Laureline by him. Not as the sidekick, but equal. Throughout the film, we see the humor in their relationship with the push and push of their personalities trying to gain the upper hand. The film has some visual and physical comedic moments that tip the hat to screwball, buddy comedies.

The movie is such an incredible visually dazzling event throughout, there’s so much going on that at times I wondered what I could have been missing . The characters are striking: Rhianna’s performance as  Bubble was an ocular delight. The costuming and makeup were fanciful, artistic and offbeat. All the CG work in this movie truly makes me wonder what it is like to live in Luc Besson’s mind. I can see the inspiration taken from the comic books which give us the characters and storyline, but the imagination that illustrates Valerian and Laureline’s universe on the big screen is absolutely mind-blowing.

If you are a fan of the Fifth Element, you will enjoy this film. However, you don’t need to be a fan to enjoy this  adventure. I highly recommend that you view this in 3D, it enhances the vision created by Besson.

4 Stars out of 5

 

Second Review by

Christopher Daniels

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets falls short of expectations, but you’ll want to see it anyway.

One of the year’s most anticipated films brings iconic director Luc Besson (of Fifth Element fame) back to the big screen with the movie he always wanted to make. Reportedly, the image technology of the ’90s hadn’t come far enough to build the graphically rich and beautiful world from its comic source, so Besson made The Fifth Element instead.

The film opens with a clever story about the International Space Station, looking into one possible future for humanity.

We are introduced to a young man named Major Valerian (Dane DeHaan), along with his work partner and lover, Sergeant Laureline (Cara Delevigne). Valerian is essentially a futuristic version of James Bond. A military man, he has swagger, gadgets, his own ship, and a solo attitude. He claims to be in love with Laureline, but she remains doubtful about their arrangement. This tension gives way to a love story within an action film.

There is trouble at the heart of Alpha (the city of a thousand planets). A mysterious zone draws attention when those who go to inspect it never return. Valerian and Laureline are on the case; they become an integral part of the plot that unfolds, and face a danger that threatens everyone.

This movie is graphically beautiful, and the camera work is excellent. I give lots of credit to the special effects people, for they have done top-notch work.

That said, I was disappointed by the acting; specifically, the performance of the two main characters. They showed almost no emotional growth, and never gave me a reason to care about their struggles, their desires, or really anything. The film’s creators could have cast better actors, or maybe written the parts better. The humor they attempted fell flat. As a huge fan of The Fifth Element, I expected great action and lots of laughter, but those moments never arrived. Toward the end, the main character’s lines felt forced and campy. There was no pivotal break-through moment for them to grow and push-forward with renewed conviction.

The story, graphics, and intent was all there, but the execution never came together. Whatever magic mojo made The Fifth Element great just didn’t work for Valerian. The movie was entertaining, and worth watching, but don’t go into it with high expectations.

I think my friend, whom I took with me, had the best statement: “the most entertaining part of this movie is Rhianna getting hit in the face, and saying ‘yea I deserved that’ “.

2.5 Out of 5 Stars

 

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