Movie Review: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Details: Released in 2017. About two hours and twenty minutes long. Stars Dane DeHaanCara DelevingneClive Owen. Directed by Luc Besson.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets comes from the director of The Fifth Element and obviously so. If you’ve seen The Fifth Element, then you can clearly see the influences in art direction from that film, except updated with the computer effects of today. Also like The Fifth Element, Valerian is a beautiful movie with incredible imagery, but a mostly nonsensical plot.

Valerian takes place a few hundred years in the future. Humanity and an innumerable alien races have joined together to create space station Alpha, a station where all who join can live in peace. The story focuses on two human agents of the government that governs the station as they try to solve a mystery threatening the entire station.

The story is pretty bad. They investigate some mystery and go from place to place talking to different people. It’s mostly nonsense.

The story is really just a vehicle for the visuals, which are the strongest part of the film. The art direction is very reminiscent of The Fifth Element, but better since The Fifth Element came out years ago. While the main plot is lacking, the presentation and fleshing out of this world is exemplary. I almost wish this was made as an open world video game rather than a movie.

Additionally, the opening sequence is worth the price of admission alone. I got choked just watching that.

Overall, not a great movie, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. This is a movie mostly about pleasing the eyes and exploring a fantastic world, not about telling a compelling story. Further, if you want to see Cara Delevingne bouncing around in a small bathing suit and Rihanna doing a striptease, you’ll find that here. Not surprising from the director that sexualized a very underage Natalie Portman.

Score: 6/10

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