We could not wait to see Luc Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets which is based on the popular graphic novel series Valerian. Whilst his last film Lucy was also SyFy, this was big budget fare more like his classic The Fifth Element.
The film opens with a montage of first encounters to take us to the 28th Century and Space Station Alpha (known as the City of a Thousand Planets)
Alpha has special agents, 2 of which are Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and his partner Laureline (Cara Delevingne)
We first meet Valerian, having a dream in which we see a small planet where its community fish for pearls and they have these epic creatures called Converters, kind of like, Space Alien Chihuahuas so it’s no wonder we loved them. In his dream, however, he sees the entire planet destroyed, killing all but a few escapees.
Then his next mission is to retrieve the last remaining converter (known as Melo in the posters) from a black market dealer. The converter is highly valuable as it can digest anything and replicate it so the community that breeds them use them to replicate the pearls they find.
This involves them going to an incredible space market, which really has to be seen to believed, it is here where they retrieve the converter and one of the pearls in spectacular style. Besson fans will also love the fact that the aliens quote part of the famous Liam Neeson phone call from his hugely popular Taken series.
Upon return they are then told by Commander Filitt (Clive Owen) who tells them Alpha has been infected by a rapidly spreading toxic that is killing all those that have been sent to look to what it is.
The surviving people from the planet of the pearls then arrive and appear to kidnap Filitt and the special agents are on a mission to find him, and they will learn that everything is not what it seems.
This will see them come across a whole array of non human characters (last year we did a top 10 of our favourites from films and if did this year, Valerian could easily get all 10, Melo will definitely be number one!)
This film was a visual treat and whilst the story is no different to most in this genre, boy and girl have to save the world, boy and girl fall in love etc, for a science fiction film it is incredibly colourful.
Sadly, like all blockbuster movies of this nature (John Carter and Jupiter Ascending being 2 recent examples) it is just far too long, coming in at 2 hours and 17 minutes.
Some of the scenes could have been trimmed, Rihanna turns up to help Valerian rescue Laureline from some aliens, including an incredibly funny fashion designer whose face when finding his prisoner a dress to wear is hilarious, yet Rihanna’s scenes as alien called bubble involve a dance number, in a scene which already seemed long to fit in a fun role for Ethan Hawke.
Length can not take away from what a lot of fun this film is, we really enjoyed it and it felt original not being a sequel, we think its well worth a watch if you love Science Fiction films or just want a change from Superhero movies or the numerous sequels/remake/reboots that are being churned out on a speedy basis.
You can view the trailer at the film website here:
Now we’re off to try and find some Melo merchandise =)
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