Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

By Angie Raphael

3 stars 

With a poor film title and a woeful performance at the US box office, I was apprehensive about seeing Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, but I was pleasantly surprised. The film is a visual feast and the action sequences are great. The story definitely needed some improvement, but I do not understand why the film flopped so badly. Far worse films have done better. Based on the comic book series Valerian and Laureline, which partly inspired Star Wars and has some obvious similarities, this is an ambitious film by French writer/director Luc Besson. When a dark force threatens the diverse metropolis of Alpha, special operatives Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Deleveingne) go on a mission to save the city of a thousand planets. Unfortunately, DeHaan is hardly believable as the lovable rogue he portrays, but he does have decent chemistry with Delevingne. Clive Owen is a fantastic actor but his evil character was one-dimensional and it is a waste of his talent. Rihanna and Ethan Hawke are also very random additions to the film. Valerian and the City of a Thousands Planets will probably attract a cult following and the special effects are memorable, even if aspects of the tale and dialogue are weak.