Saturday, July 29, 2017

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets review

There are movies when I watch them that make me ask myself, "Am I high?" Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is such a film. So many scenes were hallucinatory. While watching this movie, I wondered if it would be more enjoyable smoking a joint. Okay, I'm joking about the marijuana stuff. But wow, when you see this film, you will be asking 'What the hell is going on?"

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets takes place in the 28th century. Mankind has sent a gigantic space station into space and it being prime real estate attracts thousands of aliens to build upon it and live there. Then Vladimir Putin uses some of the buildings to launder stolen cash. Okay, the last part about Putin is not right.

An androgynous species lives in harmony with nature on the planet called "Mu", or was it "Mule?" They cultivate energy pearls. These pearls are created by space hamsters which sh%t them out. I am not kidding about the space hamsters. All right, maybe the space hamsters aren't sh%tting out the pearls but it seems that way or else they're really constipated. Anyway, a huge space ship crashes and destroys the planet.

Flash forward? Major Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) are agents of a human police force. They are given a mission by the defense minister (jazz pianist Herbie Hancock?!) to secure one of those space hamsters at a multi-dimensional market. Anyway, it seems other aliens want that space hamster because he's just so cute and he sh%ts energy pearls. All right maybe the cuteness isn't a factor.

Director and writer Luc Besson (The Fifth Element) has taken a French comic and with today's CGI created visually stunning science fiction universe. These are strange new worlds with new life and civilizations. Besson boldly goes where no director has gone before... um, sorry about that. But really, Star Trek could use a little of Valerian in the new life and worlds part. Anyway, Besson milks every bit or should I say byte of the computers of the special effects teams to create dozens of alien species, ships and future technologies.

But it's Besson's "particular set of skills" as a filmmaker that blind him. Yeah, he can create beautiful worlds, exciting action and even write some good jokes. However, he forgets to make a coherent movie. Confusion occurs often due to a lack of exposition and indulgence. During one part of the movie Laureline is forced to wear a dress by hostile aliens. Why? Don't know. Was it necessary to have a market in another dimension so that you had to wear special gear to shop in it? Let me explain this confusing concept further. Valerian is walking around in one reality while his projection or avatar is actually in another.

Besson also likes space divas in his movies. Remember the blue singer in The Fifth Element? This time he has a shapeshifter named Bubble. She's played by Rihanna. Yep, she sings here. What next? Are you going to tell be that fomer model Cara Delevingne is a singer also?


After seeing Rihanna's bad acting and ridiculous character in Battleship, there should be a cinematic rule. No Rihanna. For the most part, Besson does a good job writing Bubble and controlling Rihanna's performance. But then there is Bubble's death scene. I know that may be a mild spoiler but Besson kind of wrote himself in a corner because the movie is about Valerian and Laureline. This ain't the Three Musketeers. Anyway, it's never explained how she received her fatal blow. Did a space sword pop her bubble? Don't know. We just see an emotional Valerian comfort her as Rihanna badly acts her way out of the movie.

So, what is the grade? Hold on. In the cast is the goddess Elizabeth Debicki. The grade is going up... must refrain from giving this crazy mess a high grade. Must remember space hamsters pooping pearls . Movie could be a future Mystery Science Theater 3000 project. But the stunning visuals and humor make it a guilty pleasure. The grade for Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is B minus.

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