Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 19, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 19, 2017

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Director: Lus Besson

Screenplay: Luc Besson

Cast: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Rihanna

Strength: Visual effects

Weakness: Plot, Acting

Runtime: 138min

Rating: 3.5/10

PLOT: Set in the 28th century, special operatives Valerian and his partner Laureline is given the task of keeping order and peace in a metropolis named Alpha, which harbors a thousand species. When a dark force threatens the entirety of Alpha, Valerian and Laureline embarks on a journey to safeguard their home. 

REVIEW: Based on the French comic that, in essence, brought sci-fi to life, Valerian starts with a brilliant opening that identifies scientific advancement throughout centuries which gradually build the utopian society named Alpha, where both humans and aliens live together in complete harmony. Besson's adaptation brings forth a visually stunning creation that is both riveting and simplistic, following the characters of Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and his partner Laureline (Cara Delevingne), who are given the task of obliterating any threats to Alpha and its future. Besson draws an excellent paradigm of scenery, where his characters jump from one episodic event to another, resulting in a complete eye candy for viewers. 

However, Besson's adaptation doesn't extend much further than just a visual creation. Him writing his own script has caused a massive rupture in his previous cinematic excellence, as this movie does not have a concrete plot and viewers will be continuously asking what the actual purpose of the characters is. The dialogues lack authenticity and fail to create emotion in the viewers, with no help from the actors themselves. The acting from both the actors is nothing short of disappointing, where their supposed romance is meager in chemistry. Besson ultimately fails at characterization as neither the characters have their personalities fully developed. The aliens seem to be the only ones who can generate feelings of pathos within the viewers, and thus viewers may find themselves more attached to the aliens than the humans. 

Valerian is not a movie for those seeking a philosophical or moral eye-opener, but rather a movie for those who just want to get comfy with popcorn in hand. Besson definitely had a plethora of things that, if altered, would have caused this movie to be a box office phenomenon. However, his creativity and dedication should be appreciated as he is marvelous in creating a utopian community in an utterly dystopian era. 

Reviewed by 

Anindita Hossain Rhine

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