Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is the latest movie from Sci-Fi director Luc Besson, Who Directed the classic Sci-Fi film The Fifth Element, and 2014’s Lucy. I went into Valerian with relatively high expectations. The trailer made the visuals look unique and interesting, and Luc Besson is a director who knows how to make a unique interesting movies. Another source of hype for me was the fact that the original Valerian graphic novels heavily inspired Star Wars as well as tons of other Sci-Fi, and this fact is clearly on display throughout the movie. The movie did deliver on being unique and interesting but had various issues. As always no movie is without its flaws so let’s get into it.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is about Agents Valerian and Laureline, who are tasked with protecting Alpha A.K.A. The city of a Thousand Planets which is under attack from dark forces. Let me just start off by saying the story structure is messy to say the very least but that doesn’t make it a bad movie. In actuality I found Valerian to be quite enjoyable. But back to the topic at hand the story. I found the story to have more in common with how video games and comics are structured. I’m not saying these structures are bad, they just don’t work with a movie where you have at most three hours to tell your story. Whereas with comic books you have a multitude of issues to flesh out your various side stories. Same with video games, you have thirty to forty hours to explore these side quests as well as the main story. With movies this isn’t the case, you can’t just cut to random characters and stories and then not flesh them out.
The performances have been a big issue among critics and I can see where they’re coming from but It’s also not as bad as they’re making it sound. Dane Dehaan (starred in A Cure for Wellness and The Amazing Spider-Man 2) and Care Delevingne (starred in Suicide Squad) star as Valerian and Laureline. I thought they did a decent job as the leads. They had decent chemistry but could also get very inconsistent at times. Their acting wasn’t movie killing and was actually decent at times, especially during the comedic moments.
The biggest issue I had with the movie was the opening 15 minutes. At first it seemed completely unnecessary and unfocused but later in the movie I found it was actually essential to the plot and forgave it a little bit. Had they put this scene about a half hour into the movie i Feel it would have been quite a bit better.
By far the strongest aspect of the film is its dazzling visuals which in my book where good enough to make up for a lot of its flaws. The visauls coupled with well choreographed actions sequences elevated the movie to be quite enjoyable.
Overall Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is very inconsistent. The story and acting got very uneven but were elevated by jaw dropping visuals and riveting action sequences. If you are a huge Sci-Fi fan like I am I recommend you check it out.
I rate Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets a B+ or 8.7