Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – Movie Review | + 2018 FIFA World Cup™ Special Series farewell

Info

Original Title: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Country: France
Director: Luc Besson
Release: 2017
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
IMDb | Rotten Tomatoes
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Valerian.12

Good Bye, World Cup Special Series

After a long series for the FIFA World Cup™, it’s time to get back to normal, but first I’ll just give my last comments about the topic.

By now, the FIFA tournament had many surprises: the early elimination of Germany, Argentina, Portugal and Spain, the hosts Russia reaching Quarter-Finals, and the great Croatia performance.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the two best players from this century are both out, but we still have the young Kylian Mbappé, topscorer Harry Kane and the interesting Belgium team.

neymar diving is a cheat

Neymar’s ridiculous diving and bad acting, so far, is the negative highlight of the tournament. Maybe is even sadder the fact that Brazil’s coach said in 2012 Neymar’s diving was a bad example for the kids, but now he is conniving and defends Neymar’s diving.

I got to say, either Tite is a gigantic hypocrite and the antics only apply when against him, or he threw his morals in the trash can from 2012 to now.

Despite that, I’m really enjoying this year’s competition and hope to watch many more matches full of goals and emotion, in the same way as the group stage and Round of 16.

I will keep watching the World Cup with attention and expectation, but it won’t be doing any more reviews related to it here (I think). So, let’s get back to business as usual.

Prelude

An unknown race of humanoids kidnaps Commander Arun Filitt (Clive Owen), so Major Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Sargent Laureline (Cara Delevingne) must venture to the depths of the

“Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” was directed by Luc Besson, an experienced French director and writer responsible for movies such as “Léon, The Professional”, “The Fifth Element”, “Lucy” and the masterpiece “Arthur and the Minimoys”.

The comics “Valérian and Laureline” wrote by Pierre Christin and illustrated by Jean-Claude Mézières inspired Luc Besson through his career, something especially noticeable in “The Fifth Element”.

Major Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Sargent Laureline (Cara Delevingne)
Major Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Sargent Laureline (Cara Delevingne)

In 2017, the adaptation of the comics finally came to life, with a respectable budget of around 180 million American dollars, allowing the casting of some big names like Clive Owen, Rutger Hauer, Ethan Hawke and the Pop Star Rihanna.

Most of the time we might lie to ourselves and say movies are just art and should be treated as such, but in reality, movies are part of an industry and must bring profit to the production company.

We can say “Valerian” brought profit to the company, but it wasn’t enough. According to the website Box Office Mojo, “Valerian” made 225 million dollars worldwide, but the movie should gross at least 400 million dollars.

writing-work-pen-office-brand-cash-finance-account-valerian-box office

Usually, I don’t like the website Looper, I think it’s a little silly or uninteresting, but a list titled “The real reason why Valerian flopped at the box office” from them was quite relevant.

One of the reasons pointed by Looper was “The reviews weren’t good enough”, and it’s for a good reason, because the movie is pretty mediocre, sadly. So, let’s get more in-depth.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

The first thing I must say is: I am not familiar with the source material and for this reason, my opinion will be based only in the movie, not guessing about a comic a never read.

The movie opens with one of the most amazing openings I remember.

Beginning in 2020, a space station in Earth’s gravity, receiving people from many nations, and later many races from across the galaxies. That was the foundation of Alpha, the city of a thousand planets.

Alpha officials welcoming some newcomers alien species races immigration valerian
Alpha officials welcoming some newcomers

Alpha detach from Earth’s gravity traveling to unknown regions of the universe with their many races working together and exchanging knowledge.

After this opening, we have another amazing introduction. Now we are in the gorgeous planet Mül (not related to the Doom Metal band, I guess), following the steps of Princess Lïhio-Minaa (Sasha Luss), just chilling in the beach and multiplying pearls with a cute animal friend.

The opening and Mül parts go for about 12 amazing minutes, hinting at a great, beautiful movie ahead of us. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, the amazingness ends after these 12 minutes.

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Princess Lïhio-Minaa (Sasha Luss) and her friendly friend

From then on, we watch Major Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Sergeant Laureline (Cara Delevingne) in an adventure that, obviously ties to what happened in Mül (it’s not a spoiler).

I will summarize the objectives of our heroes because the movie is very convoluted. After a mission full of ups and downs, comings and goings, the duo gets back to Alpha.

During their presence in Alpha, we met Commander Arun Filitt (Clive Owen), Valerian and Laureline’s superior, and it’s clear from the beginning that he is a big piece of shit of human being.

Laureline (Cara Delevingne), Valerian (Dane DeHaan), Arun Filitt (Clive Owen) and some Seargent (Claire Tran)
Laureline (Cara Delevingne), Valerian (Dane DeHaan), Arun Filitt (Clive Owen) and some Seargent (Claire Tran)

For some reason yet unknown reason, the peaceful people of Mül attack Alpha and kidnap Commander Arun Filitt. Do we care? Well, I didn’t, he probably did something to deserve it.

However, Valerian and Laureline have to rescue the Commander in a forbidden area of the Alpha, and there we have our main adventure also all over the place. At least they meet Rihanna there.

Valerian.11
Rihanna and her absurd beauty as Bubble

The movie is mostly bad. It is not confusing, but too full and never stops to breathe. If you’ve watched “The Last Jedi”, imagine a movie made of many Finn-and-Rose side missions and nothing else.

In addition to that, the results are absurdly predictable, I can’t remember any moment where I was left surprised by some revelation.

Even thinking the movie is bad, I cannot say the acting is bad like I saw some people saying. It seems like, if a girl is or was a supermodel, she’s automatically bad at acting. I’m not saying Cara Delevingne is an Oscar contender, but she is no Miles Heizer as well.

I watched only three movies with Dane DeHaan: “Kill Your Darlings”, “Valerian” and “The Place Beyond the Pines”. I’m very excited to watch “A Cure for Wellness”, but still didn’t have the opportunity, I think he’s a very good actor.

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Valerian (Dane DeHaan)

By far, the best aspect of the film is the astonishing visuals. It doesn’t matter if is CGI if is beautiful CGI. Almost every place in the movie is beautiful or at least present the intended feeling.

Even after saying that the movie has a bad story, I really want a sequel and even a long franchise, because there is so much undeveloped potential. So many worlds and alien races to explore.

It’s said that Luc Besson wrote detailed descriptions of all the alien species from this universe, and we only saw some of them in this movie, and most without much detail. Imagine going deeper into this Universe.

I know there are the comics to go deeper, but it’s not the same thing as the cinematic spectacle, especially with the ever-growing technology we have today, making it possible what in the past was unimaginable.

Pearls of Mül sea beach
Mül

The first movie in a possible franchise sometimes is the most difficult to be made. It has to establish a notion of a universe, it’s characters and in the same time have a compelling enough plot to attract viewers.

“Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” is the first of a possible franchise, and I think it should have more installments to see what it can do without the burden of a first installment, especially when the source material is not well known.

I will give it 7 Moons because even though the plot was not really good, the universe and the beauty left me entertained and excited to go deeper into this new (to me) universe.

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Author: Marlon Santos

Random guy who loves movies and series, among other things.

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