Major Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Sergeant Laureline (Cara Delevingne) are young government agents at the top of their game and in love. When a mysterious group of aliens is discovered on Alpha, an ancient gigantic space station home to hundreds of species, Valerian and Laureline discover a dark secret about the human conquest of space.
We say, “You’ve seen it all before, just never before like Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.”
TAYLOR: I had never heard of the french Valerian comic book character until I saw the trailer for this film. I have since read about how these stories influenced people like George Lucas, but I think you could notice these things in Valerian anyway. There were elements of Star Wars, but also I noticed Avatar, Men in Black, even Total Recall. I wasn’t bothered by already having seen many of the elements in this story — it is still original, interesting and fun to watch.
HOWE: Yet for some reason I felt that there was something missing. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the movie, but after seeing the last two Star Wars movies this felt a little too cute. It gave me a feeling of deja vu. Back in the day we had A New Hope, which is fantastic, after that came Battlestar Galactica and it felt a little blah. Valerian gave me that same feeling.
TAYLOR: There were times where I felt a stimulation overload — too many spaceships whizzing around in three dimensions during bombastic battle scenes and too much noise, even though I expected as much. The film could have been a little tidier. There are scenes where we no longer know what is going on and there is dialogue that seems stupid, but for the most part, I enjoyed myself. It didn’t make my bum sore.
HOWE: Valerian looked fantastic: the vivid colours reminded me of The Fifth Element and Avatar. Even the main aliens looked like they were from the latter film. The 3D was put to somewhat good use even if it did get a little crazy and messy in some of the battle scenes. The last point I do want to touch on is the acting: DeHaan is a good actor and this just felt a little cheesy for him. Towards the end, some of his lines made me cringe.
Howe gives Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets 3 magical creatures out of 5.
Taylor gives it 3.5 guest star appearances out of 5.
— Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers based in Vernon. Their column, Reel Reviews, appears every Friday.