Review in Brief: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)

Luc Besson has never been short on ideas, and what a story to carry those ideas, the one that inspired much of the aesthetic of both THE FIFTH ELEMENT and STAR WARS. VALERIAN opens with a hypnotic and feel-good montage of human/alien peace and love set to David Bowie. Sadly, this sequence is all we see of most of these imaginatively designed extraterrestrials, and the stunning production design throughout the film is all-too-often passes by in a blur. Other than a scene-stealing Rhianna, the characters leave a lot to be desired, with Dane DeHaan horribly inconsistent as Valerian and Cara Delevingne valiantly making the best of not a lot as Laureline. If the screenplay was given focus and we were given more time to pause and take everything in, to really absorb this bizarre fireworks display of a universe, Valerian could have been on par with Fifth Element. What we actually have is something that transfixes and frustrates in equal measure. SSP

About Sam Sewell-Peterson

I'm not paid to write about film - I do it because I love it. Favourites include Sam Mendes, Guillermo del Toro, Bong Joon-ho, Steven Spielberg, Danny Boyle, Edgar Wright, Taika Waititi and the Coen Brothers. All reviews and articles are original works owned by me. They represent one man's opinion, and I'm more than happy to engage in civilised debate if you disagree.
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