Coming to theaters this Friday from director Luc Besson and STX Entertainment from the comic book by Jean-Claude Mezieres is “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.”
There once was a planet of alien beings that lived peacefully taking care of one another and giving back to the planet that provided for them. A little creature on their planet provides pearls that are important to their existence and powerful. Their idyllic life comes to an apocalyptic end when ships crash on their planet taking the life of a Limai Princess.
It is the 28th century and a city known as Alpha floats in space. Filled with thousands of cultures and thousands of languages, they must all work together for the survival of the ship and its crew. Commander Arun Filitt (Clive Owen) is doing what ever he needs to ensure that it all works.
Major Valerian (Dan DeHaan) and Sgt. Laureline (Cara Delevingne) are sent on a secret mission. The assignment from the Minister of Defense is to retrieve a one-of-a-kind creature that is sought after by unknown forces. Once Valerian and Laureline find it, they also have to fight there way back to Alpha city with it.
Back on duty, the two soldiers are set to protect Command Filitt but it all goes wrong when they are attacked and he is taken. General Okto Bar (Sam Spruell) takes over and isn’t happy when Valerian takes it upon himself to go after the ship with the Command inside. Laureline does what she can to track him but Valerian is lost in the Dead Zone. It is a zone where anyone that goes in does not come back.
But Laureline won’t take no for an answer and finds a way to Valerian. Immediately captured by alien creatures, Laureline now needs rescuing herself. He meets Bubble (Rihanna) who has the ability to shape shift which is a neat skill especially when it may be the only way to rescue Laureline.
General Bar begins to believe what Valerian told him about the alien beings on the lost planet beginning to investigate. What he finds will not stop what the Commander has planned all along but it may be the destruction of Valerian, Laureline and a race thought to be extinct!
DeHaan as Valerian plays a straightforward action hero who has a past with the women but wants a future with his partner. Always looking for answers, the Major isn’t going to let anyone or anything stop him from discovering the truth. DeHaan jumps right in action wise yet his character finds a moment here and there to remind Laureline that she’s the one.
Delevingne as Laureline, oh gawd I know I’m going to get it for this, just drove me absolutely nuts. I wish I had a clicker to count how many times she said ‘Valerian’ per scene. I know one scene that’s all she said and when the camera cut away I couldn’t have been happier about it. I’m sure her character is meant to be an example of female empowerment but I didn’t see it. Instead I saw a girl trying to be standoffish yet always felt the need to rescue someone who isn’t her man that she wants as her man but pretends she doesn’t want her man. Yea, that’s about how I felt.
Spruell as General Bar doesn’t care for his commander very much so it’s not surprising that he’s willing to listen to Valerian and not make extremely hasty decisions. Owen as Commander Filitt gets a chance to be secretive and down right devilish. It’s an interesting look for him even if his role is sporadic.
Director Luc Besson is responsible for some of the most memorable films such as “The Big Blue” and my family’s favorite “The Fifth Element.” There are several things in this film that remind me of “The Fifth Element,” which means “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” will probably end up being a cult classic.
Other cast include Haban Limai (Elizabeth Debicki), Jolly the Pimp (Ethan Hawke), Aymeline Valade as Haban-Limai, Kris Wu as Sgt. Neza, Diva Cam as Maatri, Alexander Willaume as Captain Kris and Rihanna as Bubbles.
“Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” is an interesting sci-fi film with special effects for days. Besson brings bright colors, crazy aliens, space ships and special effects like an oven on broil. There is so much to visually take it that it’s almost a story within itself.
The film takes an air of predictability with a few things I am calling out. So, I felt like I was watching a bit of other sci-fi films over the years and a bit of “The Fifth Element” mixed with characters that are changed up. When seeing the film tell me that you see Jessica Rabbit because I swear I did.
That’s probably the part of the film that I liked the most — the special effects and characters that were created. Of course I’m probably a little bias since I think most ‘human’ roles are overplayed and overly spent acted. Bring on the colorful aliens!
If anything it is certainly a film about loyalty and accountability no matter what species you associate with. There’s nothing wrong with that at all.
In the end — a universe without boundaries needs heroes without limits!