I’m ashamed to admit that I have never read Valérian and Laureline, writer Pierre Christin and artist Jean-Claude Mézières’ space-based comic book series. So, as I type out this review of director Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, my thoughts are from a completely different perspective.
In the opening sequence, we see how Earth built the Alpha space station as a place for beings from different worlds to congregate in peace and it eventually moved out of Earth’s orbit to its own area. 400 years later, the peaceful inhabitants of Mül are disturbed by crashing spacecraft that causes their planets to collapse. The Mül princess sends out her consciousness and it collides with the happy go-lucky Major Valerian (Dane DeHaan) of the United Human Federation special police division.
Valerian is in love with his partner, no-nonsense Sergeant Laureline (Cara Delevingne). They are sent to a mission to a trans-dimensional marketplace to retrieve a Mül converter, a lizard-like being that replicates whatever it eats. Soon after, Mül agents arrive and kidnap Commander Arün Filitt (Clive Owen) whom they think took the converter.
Valerian and Laureline are dispatched to the ‘red zone,’ a growing area within Alpha that they are told has become uninhabitable. Unbeknownst to them, Flitt has an army of dangerous robotic troops being prepared to launch an invasion in order to procure the converter at any cost.
I want to reiterate that I have never read the comics, so I can only speak as a movie watcher. I found this sci-fi flick had stunning visuals, an excellent concept, and it was well-crafted. Cara Delevingne and Dane DeHaan were excellent in their perspective roles. They were highly believable in the parts they played and they had some good on-screen chemistry.
That being said, the main plot of the movie doesn’t start until almost an hour in. The first act is one gigantic build-up to the climax, so much so that it almost felt like I was watching two movies instead of one. Aside from that, there were so many sub-plots and twists, at times I felt like the main plot took a backseat at times. The director also slipped in some very obvious far left tropes: help the environment, corrupt soldiers are the heart of all the galaxy’s woes, sex is a spectrum, and on and on and on. They were few, but still annoying and added nothing to the plot.
From what I’ve read, you either loved it or you hated it. I’ve heard fans of the comic book series seemed to appreciate it enough that Luc Besson wants to do a sequel. Perhaps that would be necessary to help tell the story of these two intergalactic agents in a less sporadic plot.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Foul language, action violence, thematic elements
FAVORITE QUOTE: Bring on the beach!
Check out the movie trailer below:
That is my review. What did you think? Let me know in the comments below and tell me if there’s a movie you’d like me to review. Check out my thoughts on Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece Dunkirk. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.