I mentioned in some review I did last year that 2016 was the year of unwanted and unnecessary sequels. Well I finally figured out what 2017 is: the year of poorly executed, condescending movies.
There are so many confusing and convoluted things about Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, and any elements that weren’t confusing and convoluted were so spelled out for you that the dialogue is practically bashing you over the head with its agenda.
I would say that this is “the most condescending movie I’ve seen all year”, but every time I have said that this year, I go and watch another movie that’s just as bad or worse. Good Lord, this movie was incomprehensibly frustrating.
Dane DeHaan continues his streak of poorly chosen roles as protagonist Valerian, and if you thought his character was uneven and unlikable in A Cure for Wellness, his character in this movie was even more so. This is paired up with the fact that the script basically leaves no room for actual chemistry between him and Cara Delevingne. The romance between the two is completely contrived and inconsequential. There is literally no part in this movie that made me think, “Wow, these two really love each other”, except for the moments of dialogue where they have to spell it out for the audience that they’re in love.
The beginning of the film paints Valerian as a playboy who has hordes of women that he has on his “playlist”, but this trait is literally never mentioned again, and it doesn’t characterize Valerian as a decision maker in any sense at all. Laureline (Delevingne) starts off as this irritable woman who’s not falling for Valerian’s muses, and then she falls for them sometimes… at random moments that the movie completely fails to attach any sort of organic feeling to them.
Rihanna‘s character might have been the most likable person in the film if the movie actually had any use for her. <Spoiler incoming> Instead, Valerian finds her when he has a need for her, and I kid you not, she dies as soon as the plot no longer has any use for her whatsoever. The whole time she was in the film, I kept thinking “Why does her character feel so tacked on?” Well, that’s because her sole purpose is to fulfill one plot point and then die a “dramatic” death, a death that I honestly had a hard time not laughing at. </Spoiler incoming>
The film utilizes some pretty interesting and unique technology from the start. The longer the film goes on, however, the less they focus on the technology and the more they focused on the actual story. Oddly enough, the more they focused on the actual story, the worse the overall movie got.
The script is incredibly abysmal. It is hard to recall just how many times I rolled my eyes or chuckled at how cliche, expository, cheesy, or even blatantly ripped off the dialogue was.
I’m not even joking, they completely ripped a line from Taken. TAKEN!
“I will find you and I will kill you.”
It’s very interesting that the director of this movie, Luc Besson, wrote the script for Taken. It’s as if he was stroking himself to his only acclaimed work of art as almost all of his other writing and directing credits that I’ve seen were to terrible or bland movies.
By the time the movie finally got to the climax of its plot, its own agenda was so brazenly obvious that I was laughing the whole time it was executed. The parallels that the movie makes to political and social views it tried to emulate were so on-the-nose that I was baffled at how stupid the entire spectacle became. It was like a grunting caveman going “America… bad… ruins… other… countries… for… economic gain…”.
The rest of the elements of this movie are so confusing because there is barely any substance to them. I know the phrase “style-over-substance” is overused, but this movie is a perfect example of it. The film is so focused on stylizing their movie that they forgot to try to have it make any sense whatsoever.
The movie is as pretty to look at as Cara Delevingne was throughout the entire film. Aside from that, there is no reason to see this film unless you want to be bafflingly confused. I am very upset that this movie wasn’t any good because unlike pretty much everyone else, I was ignoring the warning signs from the trailers and hoped that everyone else was wrong. They were not wrong; Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is a waste of time.