Valerian and the City of Thousand Planets – does it deserve this much bad review?
Luc Besson grand vision – Valerian and the city of Thousand Planets arrived in India with a few weeks delay. A delay that was enough to spoil the movie, concerning how bad critics reviews it has been getting. The movie which looked quite promising in the trailers, seems to have fallen flat worldwide. We at Men of Comics decided to watch the movie ourselves and find out what’s the reason.
The movie starts off quite well establishing the two characters – Agents Valerian and Lauraline who are called off to undertake a retrieval mission from another planet. Once they return we are introduced to Alpha – which had started off as a space station but has now become a Space city housing hundreds of alien species who exchange knowledge with each other and live in peace on it. They have a mission to fulfill here – one that required them to come across various species, their different environments, and a detective chase ensues.
Starting with the Pros – the best part about the movie are its visuals which are at par or even better than that of Avatar, and a world building that goes toe to toe with Star Wars in terms of different planets, complicated politics and so on. It really shows how much effort Luc Besson has put in creating each of their background and given us such a fresh looking view at a sci-fi space opera. The movie is in true terms a spectacle, a feast for senses.
Then comes the art design, with extensively crafted props, costumes and sets – it gives the movie so much believable look in whatever mood the script desires it to be. Suiting to different alien environments, the themes change continually – sometimes its full techno space age, sometime retro steampunk and sometimes the beach.
Now moving onto the cons – definitely the script, which kind of falls weak in establishing any major sense of urgency or challenge that the characters would face. Serious moments are immediately followed by comic ones and seems to give a very jerky pace to the story line. After a while the viewer is left enjoying the visuals and the alien worlds, but not caring much for the storyline. Acting can be called a weakness but not that much, as the leads do have a solid chemistry between each other to establish the love story that’s going between them, but share little or no sympathy towards whats happening around them. Clive Owen has a good screen presence, being on the top of performance in whatever scenes he is, which is unfortunately very less. The movie although, does have some excellent minor characters who keep the story interesting and even would be excellent in a spin-off movie of their own. Ethan Hawke’s cameo is short but a good one. Rihanna’s role is also small but she manages to capture most attention due to her amazing performance, costumes and excellent backstory.
All in all, I would definitely recommend catching this one in the theatres as the magic of its visuals is the real draw here. Acting or storyline might be a bit weak, but the movie surely does not deserve all the bad reviews/ratings it is getting.
A Business Analyst by profession, but more a traveller who is trying to analyse millennia of history, culture and stories across the world more than often.
I like to collect things – coins, stamps, books, autographs, and most of all action figures. Comics and pop culture has been an active influence to shape my life goals. In my free time (which I have very rarely) I like to do pencil sketching.
Secret wish – to visit every (real/inspired) place Tintin visited.