Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets


Viewed – 19 December 2017  online-rental

I suppose we’re beginning to take for granted that pretty much anything is possible in the world of visual effects, only limited to a director or screenwriter’s imagination, and seeing such incredible worlds displayed on the biggest screens we can find, is becoming the norm.  So that is perhaps one reason why this incredible spectacle of boundless imagination and wonder didn’t fair all that well both with critics and the box office.  Oh, and the lack of a big name star probably didn’t help.

Valerian

In the far flung future, two special agents Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) maintain order throughout the galaxy.  When the minister of defence (Clive Owen) sends them on a mission to floating, over-crowded metropolis … the discovery of a dark force lurking at the city’s core sets into motion a race against time to solve a mystery.

This is a visually spectacular and stylish experience from beginning to end, part Avatar and part director Luc Besson’s own earlier foray into sci-fi, The Fifth Element.  It retains that movies’ bonkers tone that’s decidedly French-European with a little far-east for good measure and well it gives everything a quirky infectiously-entertaining vibe that’s hard to ignore.  However it’s also a great deal to hang on the shoulders of two young leads who aren’t exactly Hollywood A-List or all that charismatic despite best intentions and well, a Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence type-combination would have worked wonders.  That being said, Besson can certainly direct action, understands his source material (a series of graphic novels) and is clearly having a blast introducing us to a rich, diverse and fascinating world, packed with endless possibilities.  The story although engaging fails to deliver on such potential, and like I said performances are serviceable, but as an example of true escapist entertainment … this did it’s job.

Verdict:  4 /5

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