Review by Geoff Jenke
Based on the ground-breaking comic book series, VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS is the visually spectacular new adventure film from Luc Besson, legendary director of The Professional, The Fifth Element and Lucy.
In the 28th century, Valerian and Laureline are special operatives charged with maintaining order throughout the universe. Under assignment, the two embark on a mission to the breathtaking city of Alpha – an ever-expanding metropolis where species from all over the universe have converged over centuries to share knowledge, intelligence and culture. But a dark force threatens the peaceful existence of this City of a Thousand Planets. Valerian and Laureline must race against time to identify the threat and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe.
I saw this movie in 3D and the special effects and visuals were mind blowing stunning. The first 30 minutes of the film is extra stunning in 3D but not sure how it would hold an audience in 2D. It is a good sci-fi romp but at 137 minutes, just outstays it welcome. There is a reasonably good story and the acting is also good but it is the special effects that hold the film together.
Dane DeHaan plays the federal agent Valerian and a superb Cara Delevingne plays his (often better) sidekick Laureline. However it is Rihanna’s performance as a shape-shifting, exotic dancer alien that is the film’s highlight. It was a totally unexpected brilliant performance, almost worth the admission price alone. Musician Herbie Hancock also makes an appearance.
The film is geeky fun, full of absurd aliens and with some enjoyable chases throughout. There are many more GCI characters than real actors, buy hey, it is the city of a thousand planets after all. I also found myself looking for and counting “Star Wars” bits.
Once you get through the first 30 minutes and finally work out what is happening, it becomes a good ride but as I said, at 137 minutes it is probably 20 – 30 minutes too long. The love interest between the two main characters just seems to be an afterthought that pops up every now and then throughout the movie.
If you like sci-fi movies definitely go see this movie in 3D and just enjoy the spectacle. Do not miss the opening scenes with David Bowies Space Oddity playing in the background. It will make you want to go out into space. Besides Rihanna’s performance, it is the films highlight.