Starring: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, Herbie Hancock
Directed by: Luc Besson
Written by: Luc Besson
Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 2 hr 17 min.
On this trip to the movies I was joined by fellow science fiction aficionados, Steve and Craig. None of us had read the source material, and we were cautiously optimistic about the movie.
To put it bluntly, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is a beautiful light show with very little heart. It’s gorgeous, imaginative, clever in parts, yet lacks characters and goals you can root for. It lands in our theaters as a forgettable jumble of pretty elements with nothing to bind them together.
Seriously, imagine sitting through a firework show for over two hours. Could you do it, and still be oohing and aahing after the umpteenth colorful explosion? I think not.
Luc Besson has wanted to make Valerian ever since he entertained us with, The Fifth Element, back in 1997. Remember that one? It shares some similarities with Valerian, but is a far superior film in many ways. At its core is a set of great characters we can care about, and the production bounces along at a playful toe-tapping pace. Where The Fifth Element sashays, Valerian stumbles around on two left feet.
The Fifth Element also properly introduces its protagonists, Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis) and Leeloo (Milla Jovovich) before putting them together. Valerian on the other hand assumes a relationship already exists and expects the audience to care about a “will she, won’t she” answer to a marriage proposal. I mean, come on, really? I had to keep reminding myself that Valerian was an actual character in this film.
The way this movie is constructed, it felt like I had arrived at the theater late and missed all the important introductions. What I did see was beautifully rendered, but after ninety minutes in, I was bored.
Keep your expectations low for this one. If you’re hoping for more Fifth Element fun, get ready to be disappointed.
The inter-dimensional shopping mall was the highlight of the film for me.