Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets
Directed By: Luc Besson
Starring: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevenge, Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke
Valerian is a busy, confusing, hectic mess in which the main characters stumble across bits plot while chasing after each other in attempt to rescue the other from a string of life-threatening situations. The movie is based on the French graphic novel series “Valérian and Laureline”.
Neither DeHaan nor Delevenge has a charm or star power to anchor such an ambitious movie, and the fact that the actors look so young makes it seem as though they’re teenagers cosplaying with friends in someone’s basement, and the more seasoned actors (Owen and Hawke) seem to be confused and/or embarrassed as to what they’re there.
Valerian (DeHaan) is supposed to be an intergalactic fuckboy with a list of conquests large enough to paper the hulls of his ship, unfortunately, the actor isn’t Hollywood-attractive enough to pull off playing such a character. Laureline (Delevenge) isn’t given much to do other than be the occasional damsel-in-distress and arch her eyebrows at Valerian’s antics. There’s an entire section of the movie dedicated to Rihanna’s character Bubble, a shape-shifting exotic dancer who’s mostly a plot device and is probably meant to instill a sense of sympathy for the non-human characters in the film, but it isn’t necessary, and her inclusion seems to mostly be a way to get the singer/actress on screen in a series of skimpy fetish outfits for her introductory scene.
By the time the movie actually gets the plot, a.k.a., the reason Valerian and Laureline are on Alpha, the City of a Thousand Planets from the title, which was lovingly introduced in the beginning of the movie with David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity,’ the viewer likely won’t care enough to be invested in the outcome since, as stated before, the actual plot is spread so thinly across the entire movie you’ve likely forgotten about it by the next time they mention it.
That’s not to say that the movie is entirely without merit. The visuals are interesting to look at, especially the scenes on Mül (pronounced mule) and the sequence when they’re introducing Alpha and showing the various habitats. However, that’s not enough to make this something to watch when you’re not bored or too busy to care about the plot of what’s on.
Valerian is currently free to stream with Amazon Prime membership.