Skip to main content

Movie Review: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017) *Spoiler Free*

I was excited to see Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets for the sole reason that, based on the trailers, it was writer/director, Luc Besson's return to his visionary best since The Fifth Element (1997). Beyond that I'm not familiar with the comic series, Valerian and Laureline, that the movie is based upon.

The comparison to The Fifth Element is very easy to make as the visual style of Valerian is very similar. So much so that it could easily be another story set in a different part of the same universe.



The story its self isn't nearly as visionary, Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne), are two special space operatives, working for the government, set out to retrieve an item of extreme importance that could determine the fate of the City of a Thousand Planets. Things go don't quite go to plan, chaos ensues.

Though the plot is pretty standard, get the item give it the right person/people/alien before everything goes to crap, it's really the journey, the gorgeous visuals, and ideas that will keep you engaged for the majority of the film.

I've read other reviews where the general consensus is that this movie has a great first half then falls away towards the end. I tend to agree with those reviews, though it isn't a failure by any means and the end isn't unsatisfying at all. Generally it's a solid film. I feel the first half seems stronger simply because you're presented with so many new and cool ideas, whilst the second half is focussed on bringing the story together into its final act.

I do feel Cara Delevingne is short changed some what by the movie's title which puts the focus on Dane's character, Valerian. The two of them pretty much get equal screen time and are both very capable characters, saving each other and both doing kick-ass things all through out the movie. I guess 'Valerian and Laureline' (as per the comic title) would've made this sound like too much of a romance picture - even though the two are more than just friends right from the start.

Speaking of Dane, I'm not a big fan of his work. He was absolutely fantastic for Chronicle (2012) but doesn't quite work for me here. Possibly because he looks too young and sounds too 'emo' to be the capable, special operative he's supposed to be. He never feels threatening to me. He also doesn't have quite the comic timing  and charm needed to sell some of the dialogue as natural (in the way, Bruce Willis does in The Fifth Element).

That aside, he's fine in the role of Valerian but maybe the movie should've been called 'Laureline and the City of a Thousand Planets' because Cara does a better job of selling the idea she's a capable special operative.

Beyond that I can't really highlight too many other issues I had without spoiling the story - other than to say one character's fate seems a convenience to save on the special effects budget rather than a necessity of the story - it's not terrible but it's obvious keeping the character around would be problematic.

As I said earlier, this movie is all about the journey, the visuals, and the ideas. Watching how the City of a Thousand Planets evolved at the start of the film is pretty engaging in itself (all to David Bowie's song, Space Oddity), even if it isn't actually essential to the story other than to understand why the city is so varied in every way.

If you are a fan of The Fifth Element, Valerian is going to be right up your alley. The story and its twists and turns are not nearly as well crafted as that film but the visuals and world of the movie certainly are (in some cases they're even superior - as they should be for a film made 20 years later).

Overall I did enjoy the film. I thought the two hour and seventeen minute runtime was going to be an issue but by the end it really didn't seem that long.

Well worth seeing on a big screen.

Comments

Buy Gifts and Apparel featuring art by TET.

Popular posts from this blog

How to Transfer Any Line Art to Your Griptape - Easy Skateboard Griptape Art Tutorial

Dog Star Griptape Art by TET Griptape art is once again gaining popularity amongst modern skateboarders. For those of us who have tried to create our own griptape art, using paint pens, you'll know reproducing your design onto the grip, without making any mistakes is incredibly challenging. Mostly because you just have to go for it and draw the design freehand, with paint pens, directly onto the griptape. You can make the odd mistake here or there but if you get the proportions of the design completely wrong, it can be very difficult to fix. Often you just have to live with the mistake. To address the problem I've come up with an easy way anyone can transfer a line art design to their griptape, removing almost all the anxiety of getting the proportions wrong. In fact, you could do this with any line art design, even if you have no drawing skill at all. Watch the video below to see my technique in action and/or skip past the video where I highlight the basic steps to get your de

Skateboard Trick Tips: Two Ways to Ollie North (Ollie One foot)

You have to be quick to see my Ollie Norths! Ollie One Foots, otherwise known as the Ollie North, is one of those skateboard tricks you learn and then tend not to do very much as more interesting trick challenges grab your attention. However it does look really cool if you learn how to kick your front foot well past the nose of your skateboard. Still shot from Braille Skateboarding's Ollie North tutorial. I was inspired to make my video below, showing two different techniques to achieve a successful Ollie One Foot, when I not only saw that Braille Skateboarding's Tutorial used a different method to the one I had learned but also, when I looked at various other video tutorials, I discovered yet another technique, with no one using the method I had originally learned. Braille's method is to simply Ollie and drag your front foot past the front of your board. The second method I came across in several video tutorials is to Ollie, drag your front foot and tap your

Are Ion Thrusters the Future of Flying Cars? Spoiler - Probably Not But... Hover Boards... Maybe?

Undefined Technologies Ion Propulsion Drone prototype 3D concept image. You may have heard of Ion engines or, more likely, Ion thrusters. NASA uses them on their spacecraft to help maintain a craft's position or to propel them through space.  Upon hearing that you might think they're big, powerful engines, but actually they are not. They work well in the vacuum of space but, once any kind of atmosphere and gravity is involved they'd be hard pressed to launch you off the ground if you strapped four of them to your lawn chair and yelled "up, up, and away!" I am no expert on Ion thrusters - they're basically magic that science has an explanation for. If you want to know the details, The Space Techie website has a layman's explanation .  Build Your Own Ion Thruster Earth based Ion Thrusters work a bit different to their  space based cousins by Ionizing the same air that we breathe to create thrust (an effect known as Ionic-wind ).  While they sound highly soph

Book Review: Brand It Purple by Ashley Knoote-Parke

Ashley Knoote-Parke. Image: Facebook It seems almost redundant to review  Brand It Purple  given you probably won't find a hard copy edition without digging into the second hand market. The book's author and publisher, Ashley Knoote-Parke, seemingly, disappeared off the face of the Earth around about 2015. Which is a story in itself. However, the book is still a very informative guide and, while not specifically targeted at women, many may relate more to a book written by an experienced female entrepreneur. Brand It Purple is a personal marketing and branding guide released in 2009 by then, star on the rise author, Ashley Knoote-Parke, an English born, South African expatriate, who made Adelaide, South Australia her home. There she started her own publishing company releasing a photographic, coffee table book of South Australian sights, along with books showcasing female, then male, entrepreneurs. As well she published 'Brand It Purple'. I came across the b

I'm Joining the Illuminati Brotherhood By Personal Invitation of Hiltom Rothschild... Wait, What?

How special am I to have finally come of age (53 years young) and am now eligible to participate in building the world alongside other members of the Illuminati Brotherhood... Yes I've received the call by way of an email, which I'm sure is real because I had to translate it from the Dutch language and it was personally written by Hiltom Rothschild, one of the non-existent members of the Rothschild family (or perhaps deep undercover because Google has never heard of them?). A Transcript of the email below: To: etourist From: Illuminati Brotherhood  Subject: Illuminati Broederschap (Illuminati Brotherhood) I am Hiltom Rothschild, a member of the Rothschild family, one of the 13 families of the Illuminati brotherhood. I'm here to let you know that you've come of age and are eligible to participate in building the 🌎 world. It is a calling and a privilege to honor him with pride and gratitude as not everyone will ever be chosen by the LIGHT, many are called but few are ch

Robot Uprising Update: Robot Waiter, Fasta Pasta, South Terrace, Adelaide CBD, South Australia

On the second evening of my partner, Enigma, and I's weekend stay in Adelaide we decided to have dinner at Fasta Pasta . Strangely enough our hotel staff, at the Alba, had not mentioned Fasta Pasta as an option for an evening meal while their restaurant is closed for refurbishment, even though it is literally next door on the corner of South Terrace and Pultney Street. You may be aware that Fasta Pasta is an upmarket Italian restaurant franchise with its beginnings in Adelaide. Currently they have 19 restaurants Australia wide (with the majority in South Australia - we even have one in Gawler, our home town). I've never had bad food at a Fasta Pasta, and their food never looks like a franchise meal. You always feel you're at a restaurant that's a little bit more quality than your typical hotel/motel meal. Maybe it's because you don't see as much pasta based meals on an Aussie pub menu. Despite the name, it's not all pasta. I went with a basic plate of fish a

Movie Opinion: The Michael Keaton Batman Trilogy - Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992), The Flash (2023)

The Michael Keaton Batman Trilogy on DVD. Despite its questionable CGI, troubled star, and the turmoil surrounding the DCEU's future when it was released, 2023's, The Flash does give us a new, and probably final, installment in Michael Keaton's run as Bruce Wayne/Batman. With that in mind, this holiday season, I had a real itch to spend a day binge watching what is now The Michael Keaton, Batman Trilogy .  To give you some context, I own every Batman movie (except Pattinson's The Batman ) on DVD, and every DCEU movie up to The Flash. The ones I don't own are only missing because I haven't gotten around to buying them, and they're likely still available on a streaming service I'm subscribed to. I've had Keaton's first two Batman movies in my collection for the best part of two decades but I can count on one hand how many times I've watched each. The last time was more than a decade ago.  Before I watched them recently, if you'd have asked