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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets: Luc Besson’s Passion Project is Really Fun and Very Weird

July 25, 2017

If you are looking for a very expensive science fiction film that is bursting with life and isn’t afraid to get weird you will love Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. The film is based on a 1967 comic book named Valerian and Laureline and plays like a YA adaptation of director Luc Besson’s other science fiction film The Fifth Element. What I love is The Fifth Element was actually inspired by Valerian and now everyone is saying that The Fifth Element is a much better film (Think John Carter). Putting all comparisons aside I really enjoyed Valerian because of its 1990s-esque dialogue, insane interludes, and total earnestness.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is an absolute passion project that cost $225 million and probably should have been reigned in a bit. They say you should never go grocery shopping when you are hungry because you will end up buying a lot more than you need. Think of this movie as a very hungry director being given lots of money and allowed to use every cinematic trick he wants. Luc Besson was allowed to run wild and because of that, we get inter-dimensional gun battles, loads of CGI and Cara Delevingne sticking her head into a jellyfish’s butt so she can track her partner’s whereabouts.

Valerian tells the very simple story of agents Valerian (Dane Dehaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) traveling to a massive space station that is home to thousands of species from all around the universe (and beyond). The station’s core is beset with radiation and it is up to the two good looking people to save the day. Their journey sees them battling dubious generals, decapitating fisherman and arguing about whether or not they should get married.

I love that the two leads go against most casting. It’s weird but works.

If you can roll with the earnestness and bombast you will see a never-ending barrage of loud noises, beautiful images, and creative aliens. The films packs in 50 years worth of backstory into a 137-minute film and it somehow stays coherent. I can’t say that it is always good or groundbreaking, but if you are able to bury your cynicism the movie will make you smile.

Watch Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Enjoy the alien murder. Appreciate Luc Besson’s mad experiment.

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