Hello, fellow moviegoers!
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is directed by Luke Bassan, and it stars Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevigne. When Valerian, an agent for an intergalactic government, has a mysterious vision, he and his partner conduct an investigation into the mysterious disappearance of an alien species. On their quest, they visit tons of other alien species and frequently find themselves in less-than-desirable situations. We don’t get very many straight-up sci-fi movies anymore. Is Valerian the one to make them popular again?
While Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets does have a lot of issues, issues that prevent it from being a great movie, at the end of the day I had fun with it. Is this one of those movies that the more you think about it, the less sense it makes? Yes, definitely. However, it’s still an enjoyable enough experience that I wouldn’t be opposed to casually watching this movie on TV or Netflix one day.
The biggest problem with this film is undoubtedly the script. There’s no sugar-coating it, it’s a bad script. When the dialogue isn’t being extremely cheesy, it’s too poorly written to be even remotely believable. Pair that awful dialogue with mediocre-at-best performances from the whole cast, and you do not get good results. In addition to the dialogue, the script in general often makes no sense. The characters seem to be stuck in an endless loop of side quests that add very little to the overall story. They spend most of the movie doing these little tasks for people or searching for something on their own, and it barely adds anything to the main plot of the movie. The story of the film is basically introduced at the beginning, touched upon briefly throughout the film, then they use it as a conclusion.
I’ve never really been a big fan of either Dane DeHaan or Cara Delevigne. The only thing I’ve ever actually liked DeHaan in was his breakout role in Chronicle. As for Delevigne, I suppose she was alright in Paper Towns (I guess?), then I’m assuming most of you saw her as the Enchantress in Suicide Squad, so that’s that. Needless to say, the two of them together did not make me look forward to this movie any more than I already was, which was very little. While I will say that Delevigne actually gave a decent performance in her role, DeHaan did not. Although, I will admit that it might not be entirely his fault. This is a blatant case of miscasting. DeHaan’s character is supposed to be this smooth-talking playboy type. In case you haven’t noticed, that’s not really Dane DeHaan. He’s not a very charismatic guy. Why they cast him in this role baffles me. DeHaan and Delevigne together didn’t make anything better. They had absolutely no chemistry together, and it became really obvious that they were just actors reciting lines.
Sci-fi heavy films like this are tricky because you want to give the audience an idea of what the universe is like, but you don’t want to drown them in exposition. It’s a fine line to walk, and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets refuses to walk it. A vast majority of the world building in this film is done through poorly written exposition. They might as well have looked into the camera and told the audience directly because it was really obvious that was what the point of many scenes in this movie was. In addition to that, the film is way too long for its own good. It feels like it should’ve been about half an hour shorter. Had it been shorter, I feel many useless scenes could’ve been cut and the main plot could’ve been more focused. Instead, they decided to let this movie have a runtime of almost two hours and twenty minutes.
Despite all of these negative things I’ve said about Valerian so far, I can’t lie, I had fun with this movie. When this movie is going full-on sci-fi with its action sequences, they are actually extremely enjoyable. Granted, they probably would’ve been even more so if we cared about the characters, but what can you do? The action sequences were quite thrilling. They were more intense than I was expecting, and they were actually really unique. They utilized some things in their action sequences that I’ve never seen done before. So for that, good job Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.
Overall, Valerian wasn’t a very good movie. It had a bad script, less-than-stellar performances, Dane DeHaan was completely miscast in the lead role, and it’s too long with way too much exposition. Despite all of that, I actually walked out of the theater having enjoyed the film, and I would recommend it if you're just looking for a fun sci-fi movie to watch. That’s because the film’s action sequences and big sci-fi scenes were very enjoyable and even thrilling at times. I’m not going to go out of my way to see Valerian again, but maybe one day.
So what did you think of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets? Who would you have cast instead of Dane DeHaan? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this review, share it on Facebook and Twitter. It really helps! Don’t forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and other miscellaneous movie thoughts!
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