Distracting Bright Lights
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is going to be a movie you either love or you hate. There's no lack of dour, dystopian sci-fi films out there, and Valerian rejects all of that. It's a colorful, fun, exciting adventure with some serious flaws that a lot of people are going to find hard to overlook.
The plot follows agents Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) as they are sent on a mission to retrieve a one-of-a-kind object that belongs to a long-dead civilization. This object, however, is part of a more vast mystery of a deadly, growing threat within the super space station Alpha, where millions of species trade and share their knowledge. Valerian and Laureline have to find what threatens Alpha and stop it.
I'm not going to sugarcoat this; you're going to be able to guess the entire plot from maybe the first 30 minutes. Also, you're going to notice that DeHaan and Delevingne have some very questionable chemistry. These two things will be what kills this movie for you if anything will.
Are you still with me? Because what's great about this movie is the pure adventure of it. This movie is the best parts of Star Wars and Mass Effect and Guardians of the Galaxy. Countless alien species, seedy underworlds, sinister governments, spaceship chase scenes, and endless bright lights and colors. The weak plot and acting aren't the point of this movie. It's entertainment, and this movie is entertaining.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets stands out for being focused on spectacle more than anything. It's fun from beginning to end, even with a simple plot and fairly flat acting. If you're willing to put those things aside, you're in for a good time.
Baseline Assessment: 6/10
Bonuses: +1 non-stop action from beginning to end
Penalties: -1 comic book plot with comic book acting
Nerd Coefficient: 6/10 (still enjoyable, but the flaws are hard to ignore)
POSTED BY: brian, sci-fi/fantasy/video game dork and contributor since 2014
Reference: Besson, Luc (director). Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets [STX Entertainment, 2017]