So in just a couple of hours after having a couple of tickets reserved, a friend of mine told me not to go watch this movie as it was badly written and that he already felt like leaving after the break. Well, I already had the tickets, so I lowered my expectations and went to see it anyway to get my own opinion. There’s been a lot of advertisement for this movie, for more than half a year and its producer had decent movies in its career like Lucy and the acclaimed Fifth Element. It can’t be that much of a fiasco, right? And it wasn’t… just barely.
This film begins with a great introduction to its universe, the creation of the ISS (International Space Station) where different ships were added together by different nationalities on Earth’s orbit and where the first aliens made contact with the human race. As time went by and as more aliens appeared, the ISS grew so much that it was affecting Earth’s movement around the Sun. As such, the ever-growing station (now probably named the city of a thousand planets) began a journey across the stars to get to another galaxy, thus being living proof of the unity of hundreds of species working together.
We’re then introduced to Valerian and Laureline, two agents at the service of the force that governs the city, whom clearly have feelings for each other but they’re still holding themselves back because of their line of work and a troubled life with the ladies by Valerian’s part.
Valerian has a dream of a peaceful race who had its planet destroyed and once he wakes up, both of the agents arrive on a planet barely in time for their next mission. This is advanced science fiction now. The great market was a walled deserted area only accessible to those with special visors. The buyers’ holograms would then project them in the real market which was located in another part of the Universe. Their objective was to retrieve a special creature said to be the last of its kind and they did so with a bonus, a very special pearl. They intervened in a negotiation by phasing their arms through a special box that would allow them to basically be at two places at the same time. This part was awesome! Later they managed to escape the compound with success, but they left a team of soldiers behind, presumably KIA.
Once at the city of a thousand planets, the agents show what they retrieved, but they did not deliver the creature since they are then briefed of their next assignment. Which was to protect the commander during a reunion of the council where they would discuss their next step to deal with a radioactive zone within an inner zone of the city.
Then there’s an attack at the area of the reunion and the commander is kidnapped by the intruders, who are the same beings who had their planet destroyed in Valerian’s dream. Valerian goes after them while Laureline protects the creature and from this point on I already deducted the whole story of the movie where some more races and action scenes are then employed throughout the film, where the villain earns the award for the antagonist with most sleeping time through a piece of the seventh art. And also one of the most anti climatic endings I have ever seen. It even seemed that the production team was out of money past the first half of the movie.
Valerian captivated me within the first half of the movie. How the plot began, how the city came to be, the various races that inhabit it, the different kinds of environments… All of them were great. Then the flow changes completely especially when the agents reach the radiation zone. I liked Rihanna’s role to be honest, besides being provocative, she also managed to be cute and emotional.
The villain was poorly written and somewhat predictable. I found it funny that Laureline punched him more than five times in the face and when he appears captured afterward, his face is completely undamaged… The ending was a total disappointment when comparing it to the beginning of the movie.
What really saves this movie from being a total bust was the originality of the concept and its special effects. And of course, Cara Delevingne who’s a complete charmer to me, but then again, that is a biased opinion of mine.
Overall not good, but also not that bad. It kinda gives the sensation that something changed in the production team midway of the process, thus leaving us with an average movie with the potential to be so much more. There’s little hope for a sequel…