Thanks to Studio Canal, we had the chance to see ‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets’ before its national release. This is our review of the movie, but as usual, no matter what we say, we still recommend you to go and see it at your local cinema because there is no better critic than yourself!
Based on the French science fiction series “Valerian and Laureline” from the 1970s, Valerian and a Thousand Plants is the next Space Opera to hit the big screen, aiming to cash in on the success of the Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Wars franchises.
The film focusses on two Space agents Major Valerian (Dane Dehaan) and Sargent Laureline (Cara Delevingne). These two space agents are on a secret mission to find a rare “converter” for Commander Flitt (Clive Owen) to save the planet Alpha. After having suspicions about the Commander, the pair decide to go off on their own to uncover the secrets of the planet.
The films psychedelic and immersive visuals cannot make up for the lack of storyline and plot. The film falls flat, lacking the situational humour, character banter and fun, catchy soundtrack of Guardians of the Galaxy. The two leads attempts at comic banter also fall flat. Not only do the duo lack chemistry but the film is unable to elevate the characters from their two-dimensional comic book personas. The characters aside quips (Delevingne complaining about ripping her dress and Dehaan claiming he’s a ladies’ man) all fall short.
The film takes itself too seriously, and instead of using a fun soundtrack (aside from the opening song) opts for an orchestral score (mirroring Star Wars). It just feels out of place. The film is overstuffed with universes and visuals and undercooked with storyline and originality.
Valerian and a Thousand Planets has some enjoyable moments and Rhianna’s short appearance in the film (although out of place) is one of the highlights! For fans of the “Space Opera Genre” Valerian is an enjoyable ride but will soon be lost in space.