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Dane DeHaan – Major Valerian
Cara Delevingne – Sergeant Laureline
Clive Owen – Arün Fillitt
Rihanna – Bubble
Ethan Hawke – Jolly the Pimp
Herbie Hancock – Defence Minister
Kris Wu – Sergeant Neza
Rutger Hauer – President of the World State Federation
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is like a film director swallowed a copy of Guardians of the Galaxy and Avatar, and then vomited them all over the screen. This movie is messy – and I mean in every sense. The story leaps from one character to the other, from one scene to the other, the screen is filled with huge vehicles and space crafts most of the time.. it’s a mess. But on a positive, it’s every sci-fi fan’s dream.
So, the good stuff:
DeHaan and Delevingne spend a good 70% of this movie running around like the perfect pairing you’d find in a Nickelodeon kids TV show. They have the looks: DeHaan has the perfect moody look and milky skin so taut you’d think the kid had plastic surgery a few days before filming. But it works, he makes a great mini-hero. Delevingne holds a powerful stance as his female sidekick and puts the likes of Lara Croft and other Hollywood heroines to shame with her strutting about set and blasting bad guys. She’s a bitch. But she’s a useful bitch you’d want to stick around in a sticky situation. The actress does an effortless job of bringing Laureline to life.
The opening scene is rather special boasting CGI which brings the movie’s characters to light with great clarity. I cannot fault the animation used to portray planet Mül, Alpha and Big Market at all. It’s bright. It’s colourful. It does the job. The tools and space crafts used to help Valerian and Laureline hop from one place to another are highly imaginative and lend a hand to the overall robotic atmosphere. The visuals used in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets are second to none. Although this movie was a bit OTT for me at certain points, I just cannot fault the clarity of animation used.
This is definitely one for the children as massive intergallactic buildings are ventured in to, aircrafts whoosh around the screen, brightly-coloured lasers penetrate the air, Valerian himself hops between invisible platforms whilst shooting at enemies, and the supporting cast get up to various antics.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is overall one of the shittest pieces of cinema I’ve ever sat through. The screen is rammed full at certain points; relevant – and irrelevant – characters wandering around clogging up space whilst the titular character bounds from one place to another. It’s tedious stuff, but there will obviously be people out there who will revel in this on-screen shit smash.
The story between Valerian himself and Laureline seems to get quickly lost amongst the action. One minute the man is announcing his undying adoration for his female associate – even offers a marriage proposal, the next both of them are pegging it round an alien spaceship as if none of this seriously romantic stuff had even happened.
When I saw this movie was from the hands of the director of Lucy, I thought I was in for a treat. But Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets turned out to be vastly different in terms of production. It was a step up in animation I suppose, but became more of a dumbed-down Lord of The Rings set on a different planet. And by the end of what I’d seen, I felt like I’d just sat through an hour or so of children’s television. You know those sorts of kids TV shows whereby a guy or girl bravely explores a cave full of bizarre half-human, half-monster creatures. And like a computer game humanised, this movie takes a handful of energetic actors, slaps costumes of all shapes and sizes on them, projects platforms on to the screen and lets the actors run riot.
Disappointing stuff. But it might be hailed by the little’uns.
And there you have it.
Great for kids, piss-boring for most of us adults who need a little bit more.