Valerian & The City of a Thousand Planets


D: Luc Besson

EuropaCorp/TF1/Fundamental/BNP Paribas/Orange Studio/Novo/River Road/Belga (Virginie Besson-Silla)

France 2017

137 mins

Science Fiction/Fantasy

W: Luc Besson [based on the comic book series "Valerian & Laureline" created by Pierre Christin & Jean-Claude Mézières]

DP: Thierry Arbogast

Ed: Julien Rey

Mus: Alexandre Desplat

Dane DeHaan (Valerian), Cara Delevingne (Laureline), Clive Owen (Arün Filitt), Rihanna (Bubble), Ethan Hawke (Jolly), Herbie Hancock (Defence Minister), Rutger Hauer (World State Federation President)

Luc Besson's space opera, based on a series of French comic books, certainly had the potential to be an exciting and memorable slice of science fiction fantasy, but unfortunately it's let down by a number of factors and possibly collapses under the weight of its own ambitions.

The film begins with the introduction of various alien species onto a space station orbiting the Earth, but when the population subsequently becomes too big, it is sent out into the vastness of space and an uncertain future.

A swift cut to 200 years later and one of the alien species are attacked and have their planet wiped from the galaxy. Major Valerian and his companion/love interest Laureline carry out a mission which uncovers corruption amongst the federation which rules over the planets and investigate further, of course, this only happens in-between some eye-rollingly tedious scenes in which they argue over whether or not they should get married. 

Though the visuals are spectacular throughout, with fine CGI, character design, sets and costumes, the story becomes increasingly silly as the film progresses, which would be fine if it played as camp (like Flash Gordon or Buckaroo Banzai, as an example), rather than attempting to be a more serious film. Of course, this isn't helped by the performances of the two leads, which are nothing more than abysmal. Cara Delevingne may have the looks, but she simply cannot emote convincingly and just goes through the entire movie with a supermodel's pout. Still, her acting on display is head and shoulders above Dane DeHaan, who simply does not have the charisma for this lead role. The script certainly had its flaws, but this would have been less obvious had the cast been better selected.


Valerian & The City of a Thousand Planets
Valerian & The City of a Thousand Planets