Movie Review: Valerian is all looks and no substance
This science fiction adventure is destined for mixed reactions.
Many may say it is a rip-off of Star Wars, Blade Runner and even Avatar.
Luc Besson's source material is French comic book series Valerian And Laureline by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mezieres. The graphic novels, first published in 1967, were also inspirations for both George Lucas and Ridley Scott.
It has been Besson's dream to bring the story of the two space adventurers onto the big screen ever since the books got him hooked onto sci-fi as a child.
His first foray into sci-fi, 1997's The Fifth Element, was a visual and sensory treat.
Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets is an even bigger ambition.
The French auteur does not hold back in this self-financed passion project, and you can see how the US$180 million (S$246 million) budget was spent.
The visuals are spectacular and trippy in a very Besson manner. Sadly, the effects are the only plus points.
The story is a mess, starting with the Avatar-style prologue.
The main problem is the lack of chemistry between the leads.
Dane DeHaan, who plays Valerian, and Cara Delevingne, who plays Laureline, have no connection and appear wooden.
It does not help that their dialogue is so bad.
If only Besson had remained faithful to the book in terms of casting, as the original Valerian is a strong man of action.
DeHaan is a great dramatic actor, as proven in Kill Your Darlings (2013) and Life (2015).
But his closest brush with action was playing Harry Osborn in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014), and he is unconvincing as a hero of a thousand planets.
Even the ever-reliable Clive Owen comes across one-note, and Ethan Hawke and Rihanna's segments are out of place.
The film is pretty, but it is sorely lacking in substance.
MOVIE: Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets
STARRING: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Ethan Hawke, Rihanna
DIRECTOR: Luc Besson
THE SKINNY: Valerian (DeHaan) and Laureline (Delevingne) are 28th-century space cops investigating a conspiracy that threatens the safety of Alpha, the space metropolis.
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