Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Long before I saw this movie, I was annoyed with its title. The trailer gave the impression of a crime-fighting intergalactic duo, and yet for some reason only the boy seemed to get credit. It’s based on the graphic novel Valerian and Laureline, which means the author himself thought of them as equal partners, it’s only Hollywood that’s decided to downgrade the woman’s presence while also prancing her about in a bikini at every opportunity.

Having seen it, I see there are way bigger problems. The casting, for instance, made no thumbnail_25961sense at all. Supposedly, Valerian and Laureline are capable, dependable galaxy-savers, but nothing about either of these two gives the impression of a even the remotest shred of competency. I wouldn’t trust them to house sit for me; if they were in charge of saving my world, I’d be biting down on my cyanide tooth. But this movie wants me to believe that not only are they upstanding employees, but ready for marriage, even though they look like perhaps they’re only just now discovering the growth of hair over various private body parts.

Cara Delevingne has only ever managed to be convincing as an underwear model, which is what she was before stumbling into “acting.” When a director casts her in a movie, it’s like they are putting a disclaimer on their movie “Yeah that’s right, this is going to suck. Style over substance!” Her acting technique consists of walking into a room eyebrows-first and saying the line, usually in the direction of the camera. She has the emotional range of a robot but none of a robot’s grace or fluidity. Dane DeHaan, on the other hand, looks like he should be bagging groceries at the Piggly Wiggly. Put these two chuckleheads together and what do you get? Just two dumb rocks in a potato sack. Or, in the case of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, two dumb rocks in a tin can (aka, space ship). If that wasn’t enough to convince me of its utter superficiality, I guess the sight of Rihanna pole dancing would have pushed me over the edge. Though to be fair, I would have gladly watched her dance for a thousand days rather than see Ethan Hawke play a pimp with a nose ring.

The whole thing was so uncharismatic, the movie almost killed me of boredom. I was so numb I could barely follow the “plot” which, like too much sci-fi fare, consisted of: something’s in danger, someone has to save it, fight, fight, fight, special effects, special effects, the end.

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24 thoughts on “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

  1. Mr. Bobinsky

    Total trash. I really don’t get how one can spend such a pile of money for this without ever noticing the problem with the cast.

    Either Besson was paid to cast her, or he’s taking drugs. Maybe he got menaced.

    I’m glad you didn’t mention Owen in your review.

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  2. Birgit

    This review is so funny and it is totally what i thought it would be. I also laughed at your final point about sci fi films. The bikini part reminded me of the 2 star wars prequel..whatever, with Natalie Portman. She is in a ring with Ewan McGregor and whats his face having to fight these weird animals. One of the animals strikes at Portman just enough to showcase her midriff and make her look sexy…in a beaten up kind of way

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  3. Katrina Morrison

    Too bad this sci-fi movie was a “walk on, walk off” humdrum movie plot. Sci-fi is meant to be the cutting edge of multiple creativites and fantasy. I think I will skip this disappoint, thanks Jay. I love your candor in your reviews.

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  4. EclecticMusicLover

    Terrific review Jay! You had me laughing out loud. I especially love the line “I wouldn’t trust them to house sit for me; if they were in charge of saving my world, I’d be biting down on my cyanide tooth.”

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  5. Jason

    I was so looking forward to seeing this (the trailers made it look awesome). However, while the visual and concept designs were good, the film was disappointing.

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  6. Liz A.

    I like sci fi, but this something about this is making me flash back to Jupiter Rising. Not sure why. But that’s going to be enough to keep me away.

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  7. Jeff the Chef

    Lovely review. The one thing about the two of them is that they’re nice to look at, but the movie seemed even to not get that quite right. The lack of chemistry between them plus the inelegant writing made their relationship unbelievable. I could’ve watched Rihanna dance forever, but once the dancing stopped, the writers had no idea what to do with her. Interesting ideas all over the place, but a very forgettable movie.

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  8. J.

    I was thinking “this sounds dreadful” until I read ‘something’s in danger, someone has to save it, fight, fight, fight, special effects, special effects, the end’. At that point I thought “sounds like Pacific Rim”. Of course, this sounds nothing like Pacific Rim. Cause Pacific Rim is the best.

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