Short Attention Span Review: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)
I'm with those who believe the best science fiction out there is the most insightful and thought-provoking. I'm less interested in groundbreaking effects than technological dilemmas or the notion of plumbing metaphysical mysteries through the lens of science. That's why The Fifth Element didn't do a whole lot for me, and that's also why I wasn't all that keen on scoping Luc Besson's new sci-fi extravaganza out. However, despite the absence of any big questions or startling discoveries, I found a lot to enjoy during my time with Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. The plot has been trounced by most critics, but I didn't see it as hollow or illogical. It may not have been complex or wildly original (like the zany effects, which did leave me breathless at times), but it was perfectly serviceable. The visuals were mesmerizing, but much of my captivation stemmed from the creativity with which the effects were employed and not the mere presence of such vivacious eye candy. Besson didn't just populate this picture with incredible creatures and sets, he found some really stirring ways to capture these elements. In my opinion, Cara Delevingne gave the picture its center with an authoritative take on a role that could have emerged as more of a standard damsel in distress in the wrong hands. I also enjoyed Dana DeHaan as Valerian. He faced a bit of a backlash because many seemed to feel that a galactic hero/ladies man should have been played by someone like Idris Elba or The Rock. No offense to those guys, but I found his presence here to be quite refreshing; the world is full of heroes and fellas with serious game, and believe it or not, most of them aren't muscle-bound hulks with classic good looks. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets raced along, exploring brave new worlds and steadily dishing out dope action scenes. By no means would I herald this one as a genuine classic, but it is certainly one cool trip. Blast off with Valerian, and you may not ponder any great mysteries of the mind, but you will most definitely enjoy the ride.
Final Grade: A-
|I don't get the hate for DeHaan in the de facto lead role, but I felt that Cara Delevingne's performance laid the foundation for this mind-boggling odyssey.|