Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets: Gorgeous visuals cant save a boring film.

Posted on 10 August 2017
By Roisin Gordon
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Remember when Luc Besson created classics such as Léon: The Professional and The Fifth Element? Well prepare to be disappointed, because Valerian is nothing like those films.

Based on the French comic book series Valérian and Laureline, the story follows two special operatives living in the 28th Century space, Major Valerian (Dane DeHaan, The Amazing Spider-Man 2) and Sergeant Laureline (Cara Delevingne, Suicide Squad).

They are sent on a mission to Alpha, a metropolis that’s home to species from thousands of different planets where a dark force is set to threaten its peaceful existence, and it’s up to Valerian and Laureline to save it. Even just talking about that, makes it seem clichéd and ridiculous!

It’s a shame that this film doesn’t have much to offer us, after all, Luc Besson previously helmed the campy yet fun 90’s sci-fi classic The Fifth Element and Valerian has been a passion project of his for years. So it showed some promise, considering both films have a pretty wacky premise and some cool visuals.

This film is the complete opposite to the The Fifth Element, there is nothing fun to enjoy and the story just doesn’t have any excitement in it to make it a good film. Even as they are setting up the story, it’ll make you feel bored and you will probably continue to feel that way as the film progresses.

The visuals and production design are pretty much the best thing in this film, with it’s bright and vivid colour palette and use of CG imagery making it look completely beautiful and stylish in a way that Avatar did so well. It creates these amazing different worlds that will draw you in and gives you something nice to look at.

Although this film could be seen as a great example of style over substance, as Besson clearly put more effort into the effects, than he did to create an interesting story or characters.

One of the biggest flaws in the film are the main characters, they just aren’t that interesting or likeable enough for you to root for and what makes it even more of a blunder is that there is hardly any chemistry between them. They are supposed to be love interests and partners, but in the end they still don’t manage to convince you that there are any sparks between them.

It seems like they are trying to make Valerian seem like the hero who is charming ladies man, that eventually manages to win over his reluctant love interest on his mission and saves the day. But here, Dane DeHaan just makes him a clichéd character who isn’t likeable or charming enough for you to root for him.

Although a couple of her snarky comments were humorous, Cara Delevingne just isn’t strong enough as an actress to carry a film especially seeing how DeHaan’s performance was weak.

There just simply wasn’t enough for her to work with to make her character interesting. Rihanna’s appearance in the film might seem like a bit of an unusual choice at first glance, but she surprisingly manages to give a decent performance as the shapeshifting dancer Bubble.

Her performance mostly comes from the different forms she has take and for what she does, it’s a pretty good effort.

Despite its initial promise, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets just doesn’t provide enough to entertain you. This is one film, you can probably skip watching this summer.