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Luc Besson is an expert of cinematic kitsch, a director who can make us wonder in shock one moment and groan in terror the next. Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets full movie (adapted on a French comic strip) is a mash-up in both best and worst of Besson.
This is allegedly the most costly French movie in history and it can’t be accused of sparing on the spectacle. From the Avatar-esque beginning to the Metropolis-style shots on the space station, it boasts astonishing and very innovative and complex visual effects. The storytelling from Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets full movie is a chaos, though, that you half assume Besson was making the movie with the same gigantic jellyfish on his head that we see shortly threatening to mess up the memory of the heroine, Laureline (Cara Delevingne).
Besson’s screenplay is a crazy mix of elements from Star Wars and other sci-fi films. Our first looks at Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline are not very promising. We see them in what at first seems to be a 18-30 beach resort, flirting unconvincingly. Valerian is the Flash Gordon-ish young hero, working overtime to keep the galaxy always peaceful. He’s kind of a womanizer and an insurgent but has a perfect nine years of service behind him. She’s his sidekick and lover, a lovely with an Ivy League education who is just equally as smart and courageous as the guy.
The casting doesn’t seem right. DeHaan (James Dean on screen) is too self-conscious and too inexperienced to be convincing. His relationship with Delevingne is obviously made to reflect that of the warring couples in old-fashioned comedies. The more they bicker each other, the clearer it turns out that they truly are in love. We’re not given much back story on how they became partners or why the Minister Of Defence (Herbie Hancock, the jazz legend) has confided such youngster with protecting the galaxy.
Besson forces Delevingne into dressing in some very outrageous outfits. Her headgear involves not only the gigantic jellyfish but also a major white plate-shaped object on which she holds a delicacy made for the ape-like reign of a hoard of Boulan-Bathors. One moment she’s wearing a bikini, later in galactic fighting suit that makes her seem like a modern Jane Fonda in Barbarella.
Regarding the plot, Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets full movie is confusing. Early on, we witness an ancient and extremely sophisticated civilization forced to leave its planet when a huge spaceship crash down and causes a major tidal wave. Its people become refugees in space. A few light years later, Valerian is ordered by the Minister of Defence to find a Mül converter, a small, piglet-ish creature which appears to produces pearls and has wonderful powers. It takes a long time to make out just how the two absurd events are connected.
The set-pieces are staged with vigor. There’s a very wittily choreographed early scene in which Valerian and Laureline show as tourists visiting the old, dangerous planet of Kirian, where the Mül converter is hidden. Besson adds in loads of chases and some incredibly giddy takes in which characters drop down from buildings and use butterflies as improvised parachutes.
One of Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets full movie‘ highlights is the short cameo of pop star Rihanna as Bubbles, the shape-shifting cabaret artist. She is a type of blue ectoplasm who can fake the identity of nearly anyone she meets. In her mesmerizing one-woman performance for Valerian, she shouts out a show stopping number as if she is Sally Bowles in Cabaret, performs some pole dancing and changes outfits at unreal speed.
Some of Besson’s creatures are also very interesting. There are good aliens with slimy handshakes, armadillo-ish reptiles with magic abilities, and three fast-talking platypus-ish creatures with amazing memories and an incredible ability to haggle.
Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets full movie is perhaps best taken as a 3D fairground ride rather than as a traditional narrative. Its multiple episodes are amazing in themselves but don’t relate at all, pleasingly or coherently. Besson has triumphantly recreated the universe of the Valerian and Laureline from comic books he has read ever since he was young, but he hasn’t found a perfect storyline with which to pave his way through that universe yet.
Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets full movie is filled with meaningless cameos. One moment, Ethan Hawke pops up as hustler Jolly The Pimp. Later, it’s a very honorable Rutger Hauer played President of the World State Foundation. In what is definitely an inside gag, the also shows brief appearances from a collection of Besson’s fellow French film directors. None of the minor characters here, either heroes or villains, have any intention at all. Even Clive Owen’s Darth Vader-esque Commander is quite clumsily drawn. And when our heroes start uttering dialogues like “love is more powerful than anything else”, it’s an obvious sign that Besson is completely lost in space.