Valerian and The City of 1000 Planets

UPDATED: Thursday, August 31, 2017 04:31
VIEWED: 2558
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Sunday, July 23, 2017 3:07 PM


I am still absorbing this film as I write this, so many mixed emotions about Valerian and the City of 1000 Planets.

Here's why I went to see it: Luc Besson and his track record of films, daring and innovative films that capture the imagination. Add this to his collection, but with some reservations:

It is, above all else, a stunning piece of filmmaking with visuals that thrill the imagination, a virtual visual feast so different and new that it has to be experienced in 3D or better, there is so much to see. I was mesmerized. Any movie that starts out with David Bowie's A Space Oddity gives you goosebumps, a virtual marriage of sound and image that induces hope for the rest of the film. I thought, "Here we go!" and then we get a beautiful and wonderous set up of the story to unfold before us. Aliens from a far off galaxy living peaceably in harmony with the surrounding nature and contributing to it's well being. A truly remarkable sequence and, as I said, visually stunning. Think of the harmonious existence of the natives of the Avatar movie, but these aliens are far more convincing. I would like to know if Besson used actors with motion capture, because these guys were so good in their portrayal of a lost tribe.

But that beautiful peace and harmony is disturbed by an unknown force and that where our story takes a turn and where it begins in earnest. We are introduced to our heroes, and we are given the rules of this universe in furtherance of the film's plot. I was hoping against hope that the film would continue along this rather interesting journey, and it did, too bad that the two leads had absolutely no chemistry. Oh they tried, and tried and tried....but, seriously NO. Besson couldn't inject them with a love potion (like in Fifth Element, at least Willis showed us emotion and comic banter, and when he looked at LeeLoo you knew he was enthralled by her) that would come across on the screen, but no matter, let's move onto the storyline. It sort of jumped around with rescue missions and seeming plot development, and there was some. But we had forced comedic relief, with emphasis on forced, particularly between the two leads. Come on, I said, let's see more of this world you've created wish was granted.

Then we had more banter..."I love you"....."really" "yes, marry me" - not good or believable. Who cast these two. I must admit I liked Cara Delevigne more than Dane DeHaan. He had no credibility as Major Valerian (I thought he acted more like a private, IMHO). Where she was forceful and decisive, he was loopy and weak minded.
Was it the script, the actors or the director. My money is on the actors. Still I had those stunning visuals. Back to the story...there is a secret device that will return peace and harmony to the galaxy, or at least to our lost aliens. Valerian and Laureline must find it, mix in a subplot of an evil force, there is a moment when Valerian meets an alien in a nightclub (played by Rihanna, who does a credible job) and that's thrown in there, think Diva Plavalaguna from the Fifth Element (not very well developed within the script, IMHO) and they must retrieve it to save the galaxy, I think!

So you get the gist of what I'm saying. Valerian is great, no fantastic to look at and experience in a theater - particularly in 3D or even IMAX, a stunning achievement by Besson, but the story needed a bit more work and the casting, especially of DeHaan, was way off. I truly wanted to know more about the aliens and their world than of our two heroes shenanigans. See the dilemma? I loved many parts of Valerian, but I wish they picked two different actors for the leads and that Luc took more time in serving the story's overall plot. If you truly are a sci-fi geek, go see it in the theater and enjoy, especially 3D. But later you'll feel that feeling after eating hour later, you're hungry again.



Friday, July 28, 2017 12:47 PM


The leads are played by children. Not my cup of tea.


Thursday, August 31, 2017 4:31 AM


Luc Besson had great success with a young child actor in the past with the release of Leon: The Professional.

(I have the director's cut and it's excellent. There is a scene, not included in the American release due to uptight moral standards here in the US, that showcases the supreme talent of Natalie Portman. She did not play it as a child would and....well, you just have to see it. She's excellent portraying a woman in love - but in the body of a 13 year old. It is a scene in a restaurant and a scene in the apartment that had me mesmerized.
I could see what Besson saw in Portman, she was a revelation).

I often wonder about her role as Princess Amidala in the Star Wars prequels.
Those were a fluke and I wonder too about how a director like Kirschner (TESB) would have gotten out of her. Aronofsky drew her out in Black Swan, so I often wonder if it's the actor, director or writing that determines the depth of an actor's talent showing up on screen.

Anyway, Besson was unable to encourage these two particular actors into decent portrayals and have it show up on screen. I did like the girl better than the guy though.

I was sorely disappointed in Besson with the overall adaptation, although it was beautiful to look at.



Originally posted by THGRRI:
The leads are played by children. Not my cup of tea.






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