Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Review

Valerian

I don’t know how many people have heard of the Velerian and Laureline comic series before the trailer of this movie started popping up everywhere. I certainly haven’t, but if you don’t know it’s a french sci-fi comic series that was allegedly an inspiration for Star Wars and other Sci-fi franchises. The trailer looked pretty cool so I figured I’d check it out on $5 Tuesday. Is this the next Star Wars or is it going to pull a John Carter?

Likes:

  1. The production design on this movie was top notch. There was a bit of Star Wars, Star Trek, Mass Effect that was really cool but ended up having unique designs that stood out from other franchises. The world and characters were truly realized and you can tell that this was what the filmmakers was hoping to do. It was a truly visual splendor to watch.

Dislikes:

  1. While the movie looked pretty, it was boring and directionless for most of the movie. My friend fell asleep near the beginning and I didn’t feel the need to wake him until he started snoring. The set pieces were exciting by themselves, but failed to push the overall plot forward. Which only lead to me asking “When are we getting back to the plot?!” several times during the second act. It really felt more like a video game that required you to complete several side quests before advancing the main story. Works great in a video game but not in a movie. The movie really needed structure that would allow the scenes to push the plot forward. Much like BvS, this movie is nothing more than trailerbait, with cool looking scenes but we could care less because they don’t drive the movie forward.
  2. The actors weren’t too bad but the writing for these characters wasn’t thought through. Valerian is made out to be a womanizing loose cannon that is full of himself but also very effective. He then only flirts with Laureline, whom he professes to love exclusively. Goes out of character to object to disobeying orders near the end of the movie. This is one of the many examples of characters acting out of character for plot convenience.
  3. It’s full of annoying cliches that keep popping up. Was the preachy message of the noble savage from Avatar too annoying for you? It’s here in this movie too. Hated the “love conquers all” from Interstellar? There’s a bit of that here too. Hate it when difficult decisions made in the heat of battle are turned into a simple “Because I’m war-mongering imperialist pig.” There’s that too. This is all in one scene by the way.

Awkward Walk-In Meter: 2/5

There’s one scene where Valerian has to make a detour in the red-light district to find a shape-shifting working girl. The dance she does is impressive on a technical and visual level, but also rather suggestive. I don’t remember any strong language and the violence is PG-13 level.

Overall:

It’s pretty apparent that I didn’t like this movie that much. It’s a real shame because there was some clever and unique set pieces in the movie. But the story and plot didn’t hold it together at all and makes it difficult for you to care about what’s going on. Had they hacked a bunch of scenes, rewritten it to make a cohesive plot and fixed the character problems this would have been a fun sci-fi adventure. But you can skip on this one, which I don’t think needs to be said since the movie bombed over opening weekend. No one saw it, so I guess this is the new John Carter.

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