Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Director: Luc Besson
Writer: Luc Besson
Based on: Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières‘s comic Valérian and Laureline
Cast: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, Herbie Hancock, Kris Wu, Sam Spruell, Alain Chabat, Rutger Hauer, Peter Hudson, Xavier Giannoli, Louis Leterrier, Eric Rochant, Benoît Jacquot, Olivier Megaton, Elizabeth Debicki, Mathieu Kassovitz, John Goodman
Seen on: 31.7.2017
Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Care Delevingne) are operatives, charged with maintaining peace across the universe. A new mission brings them into possession of a converter, the last creature of its kind. But they can’t expect to be the only ones who want that converter. Their mission brings them to Alpha, a city made for all kinds of species that harbors a secret in its heart.
The fact that this film thought that it would be the right move to take the comic Valerian and Laureline and transform it into Valerian alone, is already pretty indicative of the decision making in the entire film: it might look cool at first glance, but it’s short-sighted, stupid and offensive.
I didn’t expect the film to be perfect, but I was hoping for a return to Fifth Element heights for Besson. No such luck. The best thing, if not to say the only good thing, about the film are its visuals and even there, it falls way behind Fifth Element.
Other than that there is really nothing that speaks for the film. Dane DeHaan was absolutely miscast and I couldn’t buy his charming-womanizer-routine for a second. Delevingne may have worked in the role (although I’m very tired of this particular team dynamic: the loose gun guy and the serious woman who keeps him in check), if she had a director who actually worked with her.
But most of all, the film was so incredibly stupid it was pretty much unbearable, starting with the fact that apparently they haven’t heard yet that space is a vacuum to the understanding of diplomacy (we can’t do that, it would spell diplomatic trouble. So let’s do this that is like 1000 times worse). It’s inconsistent (dammit, the physics of that market), panders blatantly to the Chinese market in the worst way (although at least that meant that there was one person of color who was actually allowed to be a person of color and not a CGI fest) and is filled with offensive elements and jokes (the orientalist market, transmisia, sexism, and people are constantly dying and nobody fucking cares at all).
It’s a charm-free waste of pretty much every bit of effort that went into the film. Especially Rihanna drew the short stick here, reduced to a role that is marred by the male gaze and generally latently racist. I really couldn’t stand a second of this film.
Summarizing: When it isn’t bad, it’s stupid, but most of the time, it’s both.