In the summer of the solid present-tense Air Force One, Men in Black and The Lost World, Besson’s crazy sci-fi work somehow felt both oddly dated and nosebleed-causing futuristic: find Milla Jovovich’s tangerine bob and barely-there bandage suit for details in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Full Movie.
When the French director Luc Besson revealed The Fifth Element in the summer of 1997, it became the iconic divisive hit in as long as it took Bruce Willis to put on his orange rubber Jean-Paul Gaultier suit. But those with whom it struck a chord haven’t stopped resonating ever since. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Full Movie’s presence and feel were formed in no tiny part by the visionary idea art Besson inspired by the comic-book artist Jean-Claude Mézières, who thought of those ravine-like city view mixed with bobbing lines of flying-cars – think Fritz Lang’s Metropolis gone Looney Tunes, for instance.
Audiences noticed details of Star Wars and Blade Runner 2049 in the crazy mix, but The Fifth Element’s spiritual ancestor was Valérian and Laureline, a comic strip about two intergalactic secret agents Mézières and Pierre Christin had together created in the 1960s. In many ways, Besson’s movie was his deeply 1990s cover version of the duo’s journeys – he’d been an insatiable Valérian reader since he was eight.
All of which is to claim that Besson’s 13th live-action installment – an official adaptation of Valérian and Laureline – places his career in an enchanting Möbius loop. In just the same way as The Fifth Element, it’s blockbuster ride with the lights left on: stealthy, energized and relentlessly innovative, with no intention but to bombard you with bliss.
That it entirely succeeds is credited to Besson’s willingness to mess round with a whole IKEA’s worth of kitchen sinks. One of the most glorious things about Valerian is that there’s just so much of it: its ugly-beautiful mix of colors makes Guardians of the Galaxy seem like I, Daniel Blake, and while it definitely deserves to be seen huge (if possible, in crystalline dual 4K 3D), it also suits for late night Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Full Movie Blu-ray feasts, with the pause and frame advance buttons just around thumb’s reach.
Its generous state is obvious right from the disarming, Space Oddity-strumming introduction, in which the people ling in a space station in Earth’s orbit welcome increasingly foreign visitors aboard with the same friendly handshake.
This outpost snowballs over 400-and-some years into a free-floating metropolis named Alpha – the stunning Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Full Movie, where a nonstop range of alien cultures harmonize in rainbow-light semi-harmony. Clive Owen portrays the crude commander of the station’s governing force, and his temples are the only grey things for miles around.
But a weird cloud of radiation has approached close to Alpha’s core: scanners can’t make it out, while the scouting crews sent to investigate never come back. Extreme measures are needed, which is where Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) step into action: they’re dispatched sent off by Owen, working in an unpleasant alliance with a galactic defense minister (Herbie Hancock), to uncover and neutralize the source of radiation. A glowing hedgehog ends up playing a central role, due to the fact that of course it does.
None would dispute that DeHaan and Delevingne are the new Bogie and Bacall, but the duo completely suit Besson’s purposes here – they’re both young, hot, cunningly enchanting, and willing to crash attractively through whichever alien surroundings the movie throws at them. (There’s an exciting chase scene in which Valerian rushes, tumbles, hopscotches and torpedoes through Alpha’s various habitats in such quick succession that you can barely follow the pace).
DeHaan has shown enough mischievous charisma – in The Place Beyond the Pines (2012), for instance – for his ability to fit in as no surprise. But Delevingne, who’s still better recognized as a fashion model, is a great revelation, especially as her last blockbuster role, as Suicide Squad’s whirling sorceress, was such a total failure in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Full Movie.
The dialogue Besson lobs at them can be stiffed and weird and a bit touch romantically step back. But it’s in pace with Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Full Movie’s corny vibe: I especially loved a strange, funny moment in which Laureline mistakenly sends Valerian flying out of the wrong airlock, only for him to calmly diminishes the nuisance before correcting course. You could also argue with the story, but it’d much likely be wrestling noodles: the only thing it’s made to do is glue together set-pieces, which it does perfectly competently.
Take the extending mid-movie detour that shows Rihanna’s shapeshifting performing queen in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Full Movie, Ethan Hawke’s pimp, a hollow throne room, crowded neon alleyways, and a spectacular visual joke including a gigantic lemon. It gets the plot nowhere, but Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Online is a movie to indulge in, rather than follow, and if you’re anticipated for its extra-terrestrial wavelength, you wouldn’t miss a sec.