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

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

Book Review: Around Australia at 80ks by Meredith Schofield

A s someone who has written a travel diary about driving across three states of Australia , and owning a frog van that became very much a character in touring my own state of South Australia at sometimes well below 80ks, I have some affinity for Meredith Schofield's book, Around Australia at 80k's . I'll definitely tip my hat to Meredith and her husband Sean for going way further in a bright yellow, unairconditioned, mid 70's kombi van, than they were ever designed for.  Also kudos to them for traveling with their dog Bandit. My partner and I have also taken our dogs on our holiday adventures and, even though South Australia is likely the most dog friendly state in Australia, it's still a challenge planning a trip where you can all stay together. Particularly, your dog will keep you out of most national parks. Meredith's book is a road trip adventure across five Australian states, NSW, SA, WA, NT, and Victoria (technically four states and one territory I guess)

Skateboarding @50+ Reigniting the Learn Kickflips Battle

My skate coach, Oscar dog. O ne of the things I'd like to do before I get too old to do much more than roll around on a skateboard is relearn kickflips. Not that I ever had them on lock. I maybe landed a flat ground stationary kickflip no more than a handful of times, and I only remember landing one rolling kickflip because I had it on video tape for a second (recording over it because I only had a few Video 8 cassette tapes back in the 90s). I actually had a higher chance of landing a kickflip into a trick, on a curb, than landing just a stationary kickflip. Kickflip to; 50-50, to blunt, backside kickflip to tail, and even kickflipping out of a blunt. None of which I had on lock nor can do currently. Getting back into skateboarding again, after a year's break to let my sore feet heal, I started to try kickflips again and discovered I'm actually closer than ever to landing them. I'm able to commit with both feet staying in the air as the board flips. As opposed to tryin

Porn Site Blackmail Scam - That Time a Scammer Contacted Me and What I Did

Have you received an email with a subject line or content that contains an actual password you use either currently or at some point in time (likely it's one you've been using for a few years)? The email claims that the sender has footage from your webcam of you visiting a porn site for some 'fun' and threatens to release that footage to all your contacts unless you pay a specified amount to a supplied Bitcoin account. It also mentions your password was obtained by installing malware on a porn streaming site that basically gave the sender access to your keystrokes, desktop, and webcam. I've received such an email twice now. I've posted the second below. The first email requested a deposit of US$7000 to said Bitcoin account. This time that number has gone down to $1000 (Rude! are they saying I can't afford $7000? Spoiler, I can't but, rude!). The actual email I received. Password changed just in case I'm still using it on some site I'