Review of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
By: Jason Bechard

Hey, I Watched This!

Reviewing a Movie I've watched recently.

This month's review is a Blockbuster. I know I said I'd be reviewing lesser known flicks, but this one one does count, in my mind, since no one saw it!

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, written and directed by Luc Besson. Based on a popular French comic book series, "Valerian and Laureline", this is Besson's passion project, and his return to the Sci-fi epic genre that he hasn't visited since The Fifth Element.

Fans of The Fifth Element, will no doubt see the correlations between these flicks. Breathtaking visual effects with amazingly bright colour palettes. Besson brings an artistic style thats stands alone. He has created a universe in such fantastic detail, with something like 200 distinct alien races, which even in the brief runtime of the film, you can really feel each race's distinct cultures. Stunning work.

Dane DeHaan(From Chronicle) and Cara Delevingne(from Suicide Squad) bring "Major Valerian and Sergeant Laureline" to life, and I have to say, the dynamic they brought was surprising and fun. Besson knows how to write "badass" lead characters.(Check out another underrated Besson flick, Lockout, starring Guy Pearce. BADASS!) Solid work from both leads. Rihanna's "Bubble" character is introduced in a very memorable scene, again thanks to Besson's amazing artstyle. Ethan Hawke has a small cameo as a "kooky" pimp, which was nice to see him have some fun with a role. And Clive Owen as the "Commander", well, he played the role well, for me, 'cuz I hated him.

Story wise, this film does play a bit formulaic, but there is enough quirkiness, to keep your interest. Sure, you can kinda predict how things will play out, but there are a few surprises, and being wrapped in such a "pretty package" helps.

The only thing that kinda bugged me about this movie, was the disconnect I felt. From the first moment we are introduced to Valerian and Laureline, it is clear there is a history. They are partners in a military task force, and have been for some time. Given how their relationship changes in this film, I felt like I'd missed too much of their story. It almost feels like this is a sequel to a film that was never made?

I don't understand why this movie bombed. $177 million estimated budget, with a WORLDWIDE gross of $225 million, only $40 million in North America, it baffles me. This is truly a visual spectacle, on par with the likes of AVATAR! With fun characters, and a good story too! And don't try to tell me it's "over-saturation of the comic book" genre, 'cuz thats BALONEY! My guess is, it's an UNKNOWN property,(outside of France). It's the new kid in school, and no one wants to be his friend. But, if you give him a chance, you might like him.

Valerian's a pretty cool kid, you should hang out some time.

I give Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, 4 stars!