Remember The Fifth Element? Then make sure to watch this spectacle; another Luc Besson creation based upon the French comic books Valerian and Laureline. Valerian and the city of a thousand planets is the introductory tale of hopefully more films to come.
An explosive start is anticipated by the silent showing of the various production companies, but it takes a while before disaster strikes the planet Mül. After a short introduction of the people of Mül there is a flash forward towards Valerian and Laureline. Experienced viewers already know what is going to come up. Valerian somehow has to save the people of Mül despite there planet having been destroyed decades ago. Conspiracy and cover-ups are discovered as in any good detective novel, and Valerian receives the help from the most unlikely of sources in order to solve this mystery.
With a couple in the lead there’s always the question if the actors work well together. Thankfully, there’s good chemistry between the two lead actors Dane DeHaan (Valerian) and Cara Delevingne (Laureline). At first it is hard to establish the nature of their relationship, while clearly there is a personal relationship in existence next to their professional relation as a team of agents the extent to which this reaches does not become clear until the very end. Their bickering seems natural and is fun to watch.
It is clear where Luc Besson’s interests lie and with Valerian he once again shows his curiosity towards the future, different races, and exotic worlds. The latter is done incredibly well in the film. While it is all based upon comics, it certainly is a feat to actually bring to life these worlds and all in one world as the title so aptly shows, because Alpha actually does exist of a thousand planets.
Are there no negatives then? Of course there are. The plot itself is rather dull if you look at it without the setting, and unlike recent blockbusters there is a bit of a lack of a recognizable score throughout the film. Although, this could also be seen as refreshing by letting the music just be supportive rather than letting it rule the film. These are both not reasons to go and watch the film, but these reasons don’t win it from the colourful, humoristic approach to the story. The dialogues are cleverly written and those outsiders that turn up to help Valerian and Laureline (among which none other than Rihanna), are well-written and an addition to the story.
The build-up of the film is not refreshing or unexpected. In fact the whole storyline is predictable, but it is important to look passed that and enjoy the magical world that is being created. A look into a possible future where peoples of different worlds and galaxies live peacefully together. A colourful world in which 3D effects finally have a chance to come to live again. Valerian is good entertainment, and personally I am looking forward to a possible sequel.