Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
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In the 28th century, Valerian and Laureline are special operatives charged with keeping order throughout the human territories. On assignment from the Minister of Defense, the two undertake a mission to Alpha, an ever-expanding metropolis where species from across the universe have converged over centuries to share knowledge, intelligence, and cultures. At the center of Alpha is a mysterious dark force which threatens the peaceful existence of the City of a Thousand Planets, and Valerian and Laureline must race to identify the menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe.

Release Date:July 20, 2017
Runtime:
Genres:Adventure, Science Fiction, Action
Production Company:Belga Films, River Road Entertainment, TF1 Films Production, Grive Productions, EuropaCorp, Universum Film (UFA), Fundamental Films, Orange Studio, Gulf Film, Novo Pictures, BNP Paribas
Production Countries:Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America
Director:Luc Besson, Elise Cresson, Emmanuelle Fourault, Stéphane Gluck, Grégoire Jeudy, Louise Molière, Abigail L.S. Yardley, Jawahine Zentar, Charles Jodoin-Keaton, Marie Gennesseaux
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Plot Keywords:shapeshifting, future, utopia, space travel, diversity, based on comic, alien, alien planet, independent film, energy, alien abduction, genocide, parallel world, political intrigue , pacifist, space opera, military, government agent, marketplace, trapped in space, federal government, unity, cosmopolis
  • Watch it - you won't get anything better this year
    July 20, 2017

    The Hollywood line-up this year doesn't provide anything remotely interesting. So don't let a shaky story-line, unnecessary dialogue and slightly hammy acting dissuade you from watching the most stunning visuals since "Avatar".

    Based on 60s French cult comic series "Valerian & Laureline" - mystery to me why didn't they keep that title -, the magnificent opening sequence sets the tone for a more esoteric approach to Sci-Fi than "Star Wars". I won't let on about the story too much so as not to ruin any element of surprise. Let's just say they really should have lost the romantic chitchat. It makes the film drag at inconvenient times. With real writers, this could have become a classic.

    The draw is the eye candy and there's plenty of it. Again I cannot in good conscience divulge any details. Again let's just say that one gets treated to the most creative use of lemons in the history of film. I'll have to watch it again to catch all the pop art references. Aliens were never more beautiful, more sophisticated, more varied. And while the Rihanna scene cannot compete with the opera scene in "5th Element", it's the best use of a performance act in film in years.

    Alas, when one thinks "5th Element", the main weaknesses of "Valerian" stands out clearly: mediocre acting and a terrible script. Bloodless DeHaan is the most dreadfully miscast lead since Tom Hiddleston in "Kong: Skull Island". Why didn't they cast the likes of Theo James with over $200 mil to burn? Cara Delevingne is cool but no Milla Jovovich - Besson loved Jovovich for real and the camera and editing really showed that. Delevingne's Laureline comes across as a run-of-the-mill heroine even though she's doing a solid job. Clive Owen cannot even remotely compare to Gary Oldman's Hitleresque splendor. Strangely enough, the CGI aliens do the best acting and have all the memorable lines. Besson's script-writing has always been shaky but seems to get progressively worse.

    Still, compared to this year's Hollywood fare of sequels, yet another superhero franchise and musicals with thespians who cannot sing, "Valerian" is infinitely more entertaining.