Valerian And The City of A Thousand Planets (2017) Review

Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets (2017)
French: Valérian et la Cité des mille planètes

Directed by Luc Besson

Based on Valérian and Laureline
by Pierre Christin & Jean-Claude Mézières

Starring: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, Herbie Hancock, Kris Wu, Rutger Hauer

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
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.

My Opinion:

I liked this. I didn’t really expect to. I do think I should just go into every movie with low expectations as I often end up far less disappointed that way. I went into this with low expectations as it looked like it could be a disaster. It’s a fun film.

Believe me, this movie is far from perfect. But if you like Besson’s The Fifth Element, I can’t see why you wouldn’t get some enjoyment out of this one as well. It’s visually impressive and I especially liked the gorgeous planet & alien race at the beginning of the film. I’m not sure if it’s really accurate to compare it to Avatar but I couldn’t help comparing them in my mind & I personally enjoyed this “science fiction movie with funny-looking aliens that some people won’t take seriously” film more than that one. The story itself & the look of the whole thing & even the comic relief all worked just fine for me. As I said, it’s a fun film & it kept me entertained throughout its rather long running time. I actually didn’t think it felt overlong, whereas I did feel that way about the film I watched before this one, Spider-Man: Homecoming.

The only thing I can really fault about this film is its casting. Specifically its main stars: Dane DeHaan & Cara Delevingne as Valérian and Laureline. It’s a shame, as I think the lack of true leading character star power hurts the film. I know nothing whatsoever about the source material but they seem like two pretty cool characters and I imagine that they don’t really do them justice in this film. The surprising thing is I think DeHaan was almost weaker than Delevingne (who I really don’t like), although I’ve thought he was pretty good in the past in things such as The Place Beyond The Pines. Even more surprising is that Rihanna was pretty good in a small role but also as one of the better characters in the film overall. I liked her dance routine, which was pretty unique (but a little saucy if you bring your kids to the movie). Well, it’s no more saucy than her videos. But I may be the only one in my cinema who kept picturing the girl from Home every time she talked (my kid really likes that movie so I’ve seen it several times).

So. Where were we? A fun movie with weak stars that let the film down a little but lovely to look at and filled with wacky characters & some comic relief that you’ll either love or hate. The film is definitely not going to be for everyone but, hey – if you’ve seen The Fifth Element, you should know what to expect. If you like this genre (it’s my favorite) and if you’re happy to just enjoy a movie without overthinking things & being too judge-y, you may like this one just fine.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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16 thoughts on “Valerian And The City of A Thousand Planets (2017) Review

  1. I’d probably rate it a little lower but agree, the main two lead roles weren’t cast very well. There was no chemistry between them and Valerian in particular had no cheeky charm like I would expect him to. That aspect felt forced, not natural. I don’t know who I would have cast, but it wouldn’t have been these two. I love the Fifth Element. I liked the story in Valerian but the villain kind of came out of left field for me, even though I probably should have guessed, but it surprised me in a “wait, what?” moment and not really in a good way.

  2. That’s about where I stand on the movie. I was a little more let down on the overall plot too, but it’s a gorgeous and fascinating world that I’d love to see more of.

  3. I probably won’t see this one until after it is no longer in the theaters. The reason I’m not more excited is as mentioned above, the total lack of chemistry between the lead actors. The both of them seemed lack-luster in the trailer. If their performance it the ‘good’ bits that go into the trailer is so blah then they probably are not that great in the rest of hte movie.

  4. You definitely liked it more than I did. For me it was a slog. And while it looked good I thought some of the dialogue was atrocious. And we do agree on DeHaan. I’m not sure what he was channeling (Keanu from Point Break) but it didn’t work for me at all.

    • DeHaan shouldn’t do this kind of blockbusters, or at least play some weirdos…. His face is just totally unsuitable for it. Because he can actually act pretty good, that’s the most surprising thing.

  5. The casting of this movie was monstrously bad. What the hell was Herbie Hancock doing in there. I firmly believe that if we didn’t change a damn thing but the actors Valerian would have not just been good but been great. Although Cara is starting to grow on me.

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