Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets is the adaptation of French comic book series Valerian and Laureline. Set in space, the movie tells the tale of two intergalactic agents on a quest to solve a mystery dating back decades. So, is it any good?I say yes with caution as Valerian has some significant faults, mostly in the form of its cast. The titular Valerian, played by Dane DeHaan is at the forefront of these issues. He mumbles his way through his lines showing little to no emotion in any scene. Even the tone of his voice is cringe-worthy after 10 minutes. Every single movement and dialogue he performs seem forced and with that, the entire movie suffers. He is just not a believable lead character.
The second main character, whose name is strangely omitted from the title is Laureline, played by Cara Delevigne in her follow up performance to last year’s horrendous Suicide Squad. I give props to Delevigne, she is trying really hard to develop her acting prowess. It shows through her delivery and energy she put into her performance. Unfortunately, she is pulled down by her opposite in every way. The chemistry between her and DeHaan is awkward, due in no part to Delevigne. Cara shows just how much potential she has to be a leading lady in the future during scenes where she is opposite other actors or by herself.
Further, the supporting cast is just as awkward and jarring at times, with rough performances that get far too much screen time. Additionally, Clive Owen and John Goodman are wasted in the film, with both having minimal screen time. Goodman’s Igon Siruss plot thread that was teased at the beginning of the film never even got brought up again after threatening to chase Valerian across the galaxy. Clive Owen who plays a Commander on Alpha, was stuck in a very predictable and uninspiring role. The stand out characters were, in fact, the Dogan Dagus trio, who’s three-way dialogue provided some funny moments, along with Rhianna’s Bubble. Rhianna deserves a mention, not for her actual physical performance but rather her voice acting work. She has a very versatile and warming voice that didn’t feel like it was out of place or dominating the scene. Also can we please lobby for Rhianna as the next Catwoman? You’ll see what I mean when you see the film.
While Valerian may be flawed from an acting perspective, the true allure of the film lies in its sound and visuals. The various planets and cities are cleverly designed, with some stunning visual effects that helped build the world and immerse the viewer. The beach planet Mul looked as close to a real paradise as could imagine, and thriving Metropolises such as the space station Alpha had a variety of different environments that thrived. The special effects did become a bit muddy when moving at a quick pace in a space ship, but when characters interacted with the aliens in these different areas we truly get to appreciate their beauty. The soundtrack followed the likes of movies such as Guardians Of The Galaxy, with a mix of classic rock and some modern twists. The original score is also a great accompaniment, allowing emotion to be built where other components of the scene failed.
Valerian is a movie that has a lot of potential. It, unfortunately, cannot decide whether to take itself seriously or if it is intending to be a fun movie directed toward a younger audience. Think of it kind of like Spy Kids mixed with Star Trek. A few minor tweaks could really improve a sequel, particularly rethinking DeHaan as the lead. Despite its flaws and simplistic story, Valerian has enough going on in its world that people will enjoy what they see. The world is something that could be fantastic to explore, particularly the politics surrounding the Alpha station. Hopefully, this is the beginning of bigger and better things for the comic series turned big screen adaptation.
VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS is in Aussie cinemas tomorrow.
What did you think of Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets? Is it the next epic space opera or another space flop? Let us know what you thought by leaving a comment on our Facebook page.