Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)
Critic Consensus: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets uses sheer kinetic energy and visual thrills to overcome narrative obstacles and offer a viewing experience whose surreal pleasures often outweigh its flaws.
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Critic Reviews for Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
You don't watch The Fifth Element for its storytelling, you watch it for its joyous, ridiculous sense of place and style, and that's doubly true for Valerian -- a movie that isn't nearly as memorable, but that works just fine as a tribute.
You come away admiring the effort while lamenting the execution, but swinging and missing is always better than not swinging at all.
A ripe visual adventure of limitless imagination hamstrung by an undercooked plot propelled by lackluster heroes.
Utterly unreal space story from Luc Besson (he of The Fifth Element fame), who seems to have watched James Cameron's Avatar and decided he could make it sillier, more scattered, and less emotionally engaging.
If nothing else, those who lament Hollywood's over-reliance on special effects have a shiny new example of such excess by way of Europe, situated in a faraway galaxy that mostly makes one yearn to escape into the sunlight of planet Earth.
Audience Reviews for Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
I used to wonder while growing up how it is that obviously well done films were ignored by the audiences of their time, and perhaps this work provides at least one clue: it cribs, unfortunately, from lots of other big and well known films, shamelessly, and the film goer of today is more than likely to be all too aware of that fact. Which is to say that, however well made, most will pass this for being, errr, derivative. Given time though, a generation perhaps, and this will be rediscovered for the mindblowing sci-fi adventure romp that it is: secret agents in space. Who woulda thunk it?
Luc Besson goes style over substance in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Blasting in well over 2 hours, the film meanders around from start to finish. Feeling a little scattered at times, the plot details avoid explanation for elements that scream attention or exploration, while explaining things that don't need much explanation to begin with. With that said, it's difficult to get lost and there is enough story to keep things together. The opening scenes alone are visually stunning and the eye candy continues throughout. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets definitely has meat on the bone, but with such heavy reliance on CG, there isn't enough to keep up with the visuals. Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne display good chemistry together, but both lack the extra charisma to explode off the screen. The rest of the cast fall into the background or lack sufficient screen time to stand out. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets excels in some departments while holding back in others. All in all, there's enough for a trek through the city.
The first five minutes of this Sci-Fi adventure are genius,establishing the setting we are taken to for over two hours. After that, things get pretty trippy. You can tell Besson was already responsible for The 5th Element, there are story elements (heh) from it here as well, the production design is similar at times, but infinitely bigger here. There are so many creatures to see, it's awe-inspiring, although some look more convincing than others. Overall, this is a fun adventure, although the two main characters are a bit too stubborn and arrogant to relate to them immediately. The story turns out to be decent enough and you have to admire how many ideas went into this imaginative ride. Worth seeing on the big screen.
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