Valerian is Cluttered but Visuals are a Masterpiece


Star Wars meets Avatar 

Warning: This review may contain light spoilers 

July is bringing in some interesting movies. While heavy hitters Spider-Man: Homecoming and War for the Planet of the Apes dominated the box officeValerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is coming to theaters today to compete. I had the pleasure of seeing the sci-fi extraordinaire already.

Director Luc Besson brings the psychedelic visual elements of The Fifth Element into the film. The movie’s based on the French comics Valerian and Laureline by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières. The series, which follows the space explorations of space agents Valerian and Laureline, was one of Besson’s favorites as a child.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets puts space general Valerian and his partner Laureline on a dangerous mission to defeat the looming darkness to come. The galactic agents must fix the mistakes their faction made while balancing a workflow of partnership and love.

Dane DeHaan stars in Luc Besson’s “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.” Photo credit: Vikram Gounassegarin
Photo courtesy of STX Entertainment Motion Picture Artwork © 2017 STX Financing, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

I must say, visually…

“Valerian” is the best since James Cameron’s Avatar 

My jaw never left the floor. The landscapes were captivating enough to keep the movie compelling. Rarely is there a sci-fi film with colors so vibrant that you erase the bad qualities. The planet Mül had a remarkable ocean. The beach sands, sky, and plants had awe-striking blues, browns, and greens.

The inhabitants, dubbed “the Pearls,” looked like they were straight from Avatar, but they were gorgeous. Forget earth, the pearls have a better-looking planet. The metropolis, Alpha (the “city” of a thousand plants), is the mainstay for the movie and it’s just as astonishing.

Photo courtesy of STX Eeeeork © 2017 STX Financing, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The settings, visuals, photos, and costumes are the best features of the film. However, the movie is hardly perfect.

Why Valerian is a one-watch movie

Valerian holds down visual pleasures, but the story-telling is too cluttered. First, we’re on the unnamed planet of the pearls. Then, we’re following the main characters on a dangerous mission. Next, they move on to another task. It’s like playing dodge ball and you’re the last one in the game—all the balls are coming at you and you don’t know how to handle it.

While Cara Delevingne (Paper Towns, Suicide Squad) portrayed an excellent Sergeant Laureline, Dane DeHaan’s (The Amazing Spider-Man 2) General Valerian wasn’t as appealing. In the comics, the title character is kind, strong and brave. Here he feels cocky, self-driven, and miscalculated. The character development is also non-existent—it seems like we’re placed in the middle of an already-running movie.

Photo courtesy of STX Films and Europacorp

While the story is convoluted and the characters are fifty fifty, Valerian’s visuals are stunning enough to wash down the bad.

Catch Valerian and the City of a Thouand Planets showing in Theaters today.