I just saw “Valerian City of a Thousand Planets”

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I just saw “Valerian City of a Thousand Planets”

Post by jayphailey » Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:38 am

I just saw “Valerian City of a Thousand Planets”

7-24-2015 I just saw “Valerian City of a Thousand Planets”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valerian_ ... nd_Planets

Bear with me. I am going to reference another movie here.

The other movie I am going to reference is

“Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spacehunt ... idden_Zone

I think a certain amount of comparison to “The Fifth Element” Is also warranted.



Okay. So. As fans, we’re on a voyage. We’re space tourists. We visit fantastic places and meet interesting people.

There are some places you discuss and almost every Fan-Tourist has been there, too. Like Aliens 1986.


We all remember fighting to escape LV-426 with Ripley

We all remember fighting the Bugs in Starship troopers (1997).


But when you meet fan-tourists who went with Peter Strauss to Terra Nine and picked up Molly Ringwald along the way…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spacehunt ... idden_Zone

Then you know you’re talking to a serious space tourist. This is a person who has, metaphorically, been places.

The Movies vary in quality, but they’re places we’ve been.


These days “The 5th Element” is considered a classic. It was not considered so at the time. It was actually panned. It got better as time progressed.


I liked it right off the bat, but not everyone did. I have an affection for it, but I don’t think it’s like Star Wars (1977) Or Superman: The Movie (1978)

It’s a good place to visit as a space tourist. You can tell a fan-tourist if you say “Mooolti-paaasss” and they grin in recognition.


So Valerian. I think another comparison here is Avatar.


Valerian is a pretty, but empty calories film. There’s not a lot of depth to it.

I last saw Dane Dehaan in Spider-man 2 (2014)

He plays Valerian.

Cara Delevingne Plays Laureline. She’s listed on Wikipedia as a model and an actress. She plays a tough, no nonsense secret agent pretty well.

To me, Dehane and Delevingne both look 12 years old. They’re short, skinny and amazingly symmetrical. Maybe each one weighs 100 pounds or so.

But they’re secret agents. James Bond types. I was strongly reminded of the Family D’Alembert, from EE Doc Smith and Stephen Goldin.


So they’re superhumanly fast, accurate and tough, and all the James Bond stuff.

But before we meet them, we meet the planet Mul. Now, It’s pronounced “Mule” and is spelled with u with an umlat. The two little dots. I never learned how to make those in unicode, so screw it, I am not going to make them in this text document.

Besson does a great job making the people of Mul, later called the “Pearls” attractive and relatable without any dialog.

But their world gets wiped out.

Then 30 years later, we meet Valerian and Laureline and see them on a mission.

We see that Valerian and Laureline are mixing a Rom-Com into their action adventure movie and that’s okay.

We meet Clive Owen, playing their boss. He chews up the scenery. He’s enjoying himself and it shows.

Rhianna stars as Bubble. Interesting role.

Ethan Hawke puts on a funny costume and mother fucking ACTS in a small roll as Jolly the Pimp. For Hawke there are no small roles. He sort of reminds me of Robert Downey Junior’s character in Tropic Thunder.

In any case, there is an action plot here. Our heroes go here and there and there’s lots of violence and chaos.

The setting is interesting. They’re on Alpha. A Space city. The opening montage of the film shows the space station starting out as an international space station around Earth, with nation after nation joining. Then, aliens come by and join the party. The more and more until the station is too big for earth orbit.

So they fire it off into space… where it continues to attract new participants and grows and grows

And this is like the first 5 minutes of the film!

So this is hundreds of years later, and this space city holds an improbable number of people, environments, and places in it.

They mention one estimate of the population, but… c’man. This isn’t Hard SF, this is space fantasy.


In the end Valerian and Laureline fight improbably violent battles (With no blood, it’s all Blasters and CGI, after all, this is a PG-13 film) And come to reaffirm the value of love and question the value of following orders.

The through line is…. well, it’s interesting. What’s really going on was interesting, but the twist wasn’t, like M. Night Shamalyan or anything.

The characters are likable enough.

The game world has DEFINITE promise for me. Lots of good lego pieces for role playing games here.

But the chief value of this film…

It’s pretty. It’s a spectacle. It’s another place we Fan-Tourists will put a sticker of on our metaphorical suitcases.

It worth going to see with some friends, just to say you’ve been there. It’s a spot to check off on your fandom-tourism list.

There is a little bit of subversive content, but it’s so broad that it can easily be dismissed as “Just a story”

The Pearls of Mul bear a certain resemblance to the Naavi of Avatar, but without the ham-fisted analogy and without the bad dialog.

So I’d recommend seeing this thing in the Theater. Just to get the full effect of the visuals.

Don’t go expecting Shakespear, and you’ll be okay.

This film came from a graphic novel and really sort of looks like it came out of the work of Mobius in Heavy Metal Magazine.

I give it a C+ over all. A solid B on the visuals.

I’ll bet someone smarter than me will see deeper things in this film than I saw. But for me, this is a Big Dumb Summer Movie and works well enough in that role.

But if you’re going to try this, and have it turn into a franchise, you need a better story. You need something that grabs people on a deeper level. The Guardians of the Galaxy films did this same sort of thing, better.

The Wachowskis tried this with Jupiter Ascending and took it straight into the ground. They left a crater on their try.

So there is my review. It’s worth a look. Can’t hurt. It added stuff to my subconscious Space-Fantasy landscape.

I’d like to see a sequel, but I find that proposition doubtful. I doubt anyone will be cosplaying it in 10 years.
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