The 'Not-So-Critical' Critic:
on VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS (2017, 137 minutes, PG-13)
The Quick of It -
Not to waste your time, I’ll cut to the chase… the word of the day is ‘boring’. If you wish to continue diving into why I proclaim such a disheartening word, I will elaborate further below.
I’m a huge fan of Luc Besson. You may know him from a few small projects he is responsible for… LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL, the TRANSPORTER series, the TAKEN series, THE FIFTH ELEMENT, KISS THE DRAGON, UNLEASHED. You can see why he is considered a prolific writer and director, and why I bat my eyes at the thought of him releasing a new film. A giddy schoolgirl, I tell you. He knows how to bring a vision to life as a master craftsman.
Despite what you may think, this is no FIFTH ELEMENT. And don’t be sold on the thought this will become a cult classic. Not happening.
The story is about two government agents tasked to find out who is behind the growing threat to Alpha, the home to a thousand different alien species. Valerian, played by Dane DeHaan (of CHRONICLE, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, A CURE FOR WELLNESS, LAWLESS), delivers a bland performance. His lines come off stilted, the same gripe people had with Keanu Reeves back in the day. And, he sounded just like the younger version of Keanu through the whole damn film. His partner Laureline, the lovely Cara Delevingne (of PAPER TOWNS and SUICIDE SQUAD), brings more heart and energy than most who participated in this travesty of a “hey, I got this long-time coming comic-to-film project”.
I want to say it is a French ‘thing’, the filming process they teach and practice may not be close enough to American expectations. But, that would be misguided. The truth lies in that the visual extravagance was made to be the true star and centerpiece to the film. With that many people on the station, they probably could have chosen a better storyline and came out ahead. The only reason to make the trip to the theater is to see it as large as life. But I would also advise you to grab a large soda cause you may fall asleep from the boredom you will experience, even during the action scenes.
P.S. The platypus winged-monkeys had the right idea, milk everyone of their money and call it a day. Kinda like this movie.