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Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets  : Overdone Sci-Fi
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Are you kidding?
Friday, July 28, 2017
Science fiction adventure
Luc Besson
Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen

When he was ten years old, director Luc Besson discovered the Valerian comic book and knew that he had ‘stumbled upon something magical’. He wanted to be Major Valerian and he fell in love with Sergeant Laureline.


One does wish the ten-year-old had let his fantasies stay within the comic book instead of making a film that doesn’t have the same magic. 


Let’s first look at the convoluted storyline. Like an inter-galactic Noah’s Ark, new city Alpha welcomes species from every planet. Humans are the hosts with a handshake for every friendly alien, some with sticky fingers, some that send out a current. But the existence of Alpha is being seriously threatened by a dark secret.


Major Valerian who has to travel all over the universe to keep the peace, has had a dream about Planet Mul, a world he didn’t know about and has been destroyed. His connection with the planet is a bit of interesting writing that comes towards the end. Mul was a paradise at peace with the elements until human beings in a space war brought doomsday along. The survivors have now gained knowledge and know that their paradise can be regained.      


Meanwhile, warrior and special agent Valerian has had a playlist of girlfriends but he’s ready to pop the question to Sergeant Laureline, his partner.


After meandering through an alien market and two levels of existence, Valerian and Laureline have a pearl and a coveted converter in their possession. They’re precisely what Planet Mul needs to rebuild itself. But for Valerian and Laureline to reach it to them, the route goes through a missing commander, humans who sneer at and destroy alien life, cannibalistic aliens, and even a shape-shifting Rihanna who comes in like an item girl in a Hindi film.


Besson is like a child gone berserk with his gizmos. With far too much happening, it is a dizzy and sometimes messy ride despite the expected proficiency of the technical team. Topped with a preachy dialogue on true love and a message on building a harmonious universe, it ultimately says nothing dynamically unique that’s worth a 180 million dollar budget or a running time of 2 hours and 17 minutes.


Dane DeHaan looks too immature for the part of Major Valerian. Cara Delivingne as Sergeant Laureline is also more teen-fantasy than universe-saver. But that’s perhaps what’ll appeal to a young audience.


For a non-stop space adventure that’ll leave sci-fi junkies breathless, Valerian And A City Of A Thousand Planets gets a 3* rating.


Reviewed by
Bharathi S Pradhan

Senior Journalist & Author



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