• emilyano20 July 2017
    7/10
    Good, not great
    The first thing I want to say about this movie is that the visuals are absolutely insane! It's really a joy to watch, the aliens are extremely well made and the first scene is just gorgeous!

    The story is predictable, but can keep you interested for most of the time. The main problem was the way things are explained, it's like the movie think that the viewers are not intelligent enough, and many times I found myself saying "well that was obvious". There are some scenes that have zero impact on the story, and they give you nothing interesting. I really wanted to know more about this world, about the species, but sadly that didn't happen.

    The dialog is good but nothing exiting, sometimes they say the same stuff over and over and you may find yourself thinking "we get it, move on", and it's really cheesy at some points.

    The acting is very good, the chemistry between Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne is great, and overall all the cast delivers.

    This movie wasn't something amazing as I thought it would be judging by the trailers, but I still enjoyed it very much, the actions scenes were great and the humor was on point most of the time. I won't recommend this for those who look for something clever with breathtaking twists, but for those who enjoy solid acting, nice story and amazing visuals, this movie is definitely recommended.

    Overall 7/10

    Thanks for reading!
  • coledenisen24 July 2017
    2/10
    Great World-building, Horrible Acting
    Warning: Spoilers
    I wanted to like this film. I really did. As a fan of the Fifth Element, I was expecting to find a well-developed plot, kitchy humor, memorable characters, and over-the-top action sequences. It had the action, but no soul. Neither of the two main characters had the acting chops to carry a scene, even the 'witty' banter came of scripted and flat as if Ben Stein had taken a heavy dose of lithium and stumble on set. The story also had several faux pas, including adding characters to advance parts of the story, only to kill them off a few minutes later.

    The characters were flat and shallow. Valerian, the title character and the story's protagonist, was just plain not likable. He warranted no emotional investment. Instead of holding on to my seat in the big action sequences that threatened death and dismemberment, I felt myself not caring whether he lived or died. Part of this was due to the fact that he had the emotional range of a piece of plywood (think Hayden Christensen in Star Wars). I couldn't tell if he was professing his undying love or ordering a burger and fries at McDonalds.

    ----------------*Spoilers*--------------------

    The main bad-guy, who is exactly who you think it is from the get- go, also warrants no emotional investment, especially considering he spends most of the movie is some sort of stasis. The reason to hate him is only revealed near the end of the movie in a flashback sequence, and I never knew enough about his character to even form an opinion about him. When he is finally defeated, you can barely marshal a shrug, because, once again, you just don't know enough about him to care.

    Rihanna's character, who by-the-way had a beautiful introduction sequence, is another example of this shallow character building. Our hero finds himself needing to access an inaccessible area that only Rihanna can provide access to. Naturally he finds himself in a strip-club where he recruits her to help him through this, which she does, only to have her die WITHIN MINUTES of fulfilling her end. Her death sequence, which, judging by the musical score, was intended to be an emotional scene, falls on the side of apathy. We never knew enough about her character to care when/if she died. There was not enough time to build that emotional investment.

    There were many other eye-rolling moments, including a direct rip from The Taken script and an alien who vows unrelenting vengeance only to NEVER SHOW UP IN THE MOVIE AGAIN, but they are much too numerous to list. All-in-all, Valerian was at best a lackluster movie experience that fell in the same trap that many big-budget films do: rely on over-the-top special effects to mask shoddy story telling and flat characters. Save your money for the red-box rental.
  • jwwalk25 July 2017
    3/10
    Eye Candy Only
    I have never written a movie review in my life but I was so outraged after taking my family and some friends to see Valerian I have decided to try and save some other poor soul from falling for the special effects trap. I must admit the beautiful visual effects of this movie drew me in like the blue glow of a bug zapper.

    The visual effects were stunning and the race of people central to the plot were well crafted and engaging. But when the CGI characters deliver more believable and emotional performances than the actors, you know your in trouble.

    Dane Dehaan is terrible. I don't think I have ever seen him before but, he sounds like he is trying to give his best Keanu Reeves impression. If that is his natural voice I feel for him, because it sounds forced and at times comical.

    The two leads do nothing to draw you into the story and not once did I feel there was any chemistry between the two actors. Delevingne comes across as an annoying B and you never find yourself hoping the two leads will work out their differences. I simply did not care about these people.

    Slick visuals and special effects cannot carry a movie alone, you still need dialogue, good actors to project chemistry and emotion that draw you into the story.

    I guess what I learned from this experience is not to be fooled by the special effects and wait for week two or three before spending over $80.

    You can polish a turd all you want, in the end it's still a turd.
  • tony-clifton21 July 2017
    10/10
    Hugely Enjoyable!
    Although I too enjoy super hero movies, action movies blah blah - they are getting tired. Good directors can get the pacing, directing and acting so right that the same-ol story can be told while still be entertaining. Especially in science fiction, it seems there are no original ideas any more.

    Then comes along Valerian - WOW! What a refreshing and imaginative world they've developed and an exciting movie they've created! The trailers truly do not do this movie justice. I watched this movie just for Luc Besson, because the trailer made the movie look like the usual Hollywood drivel. What I got instead was an extremely pleasing and original story that was superbly executed.

    What I love about the movie is that the plot isn't your typical sci-fi plot. It plays like a detective story intermingled with action and amazing visuals, culminating in a very satisfying ending that made me yearn for sequels to learn more about the universe Besson has created.

    Well done! This movie deserves to live on! Watch it in the theaters and be thrilled!
  • yesterdayman200220 July 2017
    8/10
    More fun than the last five Star Wars films
    What if the Star Wars prequels had been handed over to a better director? What if The Force Awakens and Rogue One had aimed at being original and fun science fantasy films rather than just playing on people's nostalgia?

    This is what I found myself seeing as I was watching Valerian. A film that made Space Opera's fun and exciting again.

    I was surprised by the two leads. The trailers made it feel like we'd be seeing a rehash of the two main leads from Ender's Game but I was surprised at how fun and spunky (and flawed) the two characters were to watch. The romance was not there and it did not need to be there because this film is not a romance nor centered around a romance.

    This film is Luc Besson taking what people loved about the Fifth Element and stretching it to the entire movie.

    And yes, it is true, it is visually the prettiest movie since Avatar. The kids I took with me to see this film had their eyes on the screen the whole time, no bathroom break, no water break, just a visually mesmerizing film that never tired its audience.

    My recommendation is to go see it on the bring screen to experience the marvel of it. It's a shame it is not available in IMAX.
  • sfcape-7521112 August 2017
    1/10
    The most disappointing Luc Bresson film
    Warning: Spoilers
    How could a director who was able to so cleverly match over-the-top Chris Tucker with dead-pan, straight arrow Bruce Willis in "The Fifth Element" end up with the two most banal characters ever, Dana DeHaan and Cara Delevingne? Throughout the film the only action you could look forward to was one or both of them being blasted into small bits or eaten by one of the many monsters. When they would open their mouths you wondered if you were on some college campus.Their dialogue was childish, insipid, and totally devoid of the kind of adult emotion that drew you into "Leon:The Professional" or "La Femme Nikita". Besson has no excuse here; he directed and wrote this mess. I love Luc Besson's previous films. However, this was such a disappointment, you have to wonder what the value will be for his upcoming remakes, Lucy 2 and Columbiana 2.
  • IndustriousAngel20 July 2017
    8/10
    Spectacular SciFi pulls no punches
    Warning: Spoilers
    The first thing you'll observe about Luc Besson's Valerian is how gorgeous it looks, how much work went into the perfect realisation of this world. In a time where nearly every blockbuster features tons of CGI, Valerian stands out and highlights how cheaply the effects are done in most of the other ones.

    Next, the sheer inventiveness of designers, artists, set builders, wardrobe and makeup - again, makes us painfully realise how off-the-rack and dull most blockbusters are. Add to that Besson's quirky aesthetics and you're in a world that's nearly overpowering you with its inventiveness, its visual splendour, and also plain fun. I mean, a movie where a Jessica Rabbit cameo doesn't feel forced or out of place, that's just unique.

    In my opinion, the optical fireworks were even a bit overdone, some scenes were plainly set up in a certain way to make them more spectacular but didn't really add to the story - an early on action sequence in a half-virtual market comes to mind that would work nearly equally well in a normal bazaar, just without some gags.

    As to the story-line - lovers of the books (as I am) will recognise a lot of ingredients and species, and the main set-piece, a space city, is obviously taken from "L'Ambassadeurs des Ombres", but the story itself is a new one and revolves around a planet wiped out in a war about 30 years back, and the repercussions thereof. The "secret" someone wants to keep is not that secret to us, in fact about half an hour into the movie you already have a pretty good idea of what's going on, the joy comes from the detours we're taking on the road to the happy ending, not from silly plot twists.

    Now, the characters, Valerian and Laureline: Dane DeHaan looks too young for his part from the comics (where Valerian was the more experienced partner, here he just has a higher degree), Cara Delevingne is perfectly cast, standing her ground with just the right amount of sarcasm and spunk. The team dynamics were as readers know it - Valerian the one who tends to stick to the rules and play by book while Laureline tends to act more impulsively - but both working together really well, be it as a duo or solo. There is a romance angle in the movie that was not taken from the books and feels a bit forced, thankfully it stays marginal and doesn't lessen the overall enjoyment.

    And cheers to the screenwriters (Besson, mostly) for not going full in with the stakes. While there's some serious action here - people die and some more might die if V&L didn't succeed - it's actually a rather smallish plot, with just one single villain, and no worlds or even the universe to be saved, just the lives of some innocent bystanders.

    Big recommendation for all fans of colourful SciFi and optical fireworks!
  • loco_734 September 2017
    Valerian And The City Of...Who Cares?
    Warning: Spoilers
    "Valerian And The City Of... Who Cares..." flopped because it was a jumbled mess. Crummy story, terrible script, badly edited and the so called "stunning visuals" were an incoherent cacophony of sights and sounds, that surely looked pretty at times, but added nothing to the movie, except give audiences whiplash and headaches.

    But perhaps even worse were the two lead actors cast in the main roles, the people supposed to carry this movie. Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne had zero on-screen chemistry. They are terrible sub-par actors, which isn't saying much given the widespread lack of talent of the upcoming generation of artists, people who think that "trending" and being famous is the same as having talent and ability.

    Watching Cara Delevingne trying to act is about as painful as being lobotomized while awake...
  • Radu_A20 July 2017
    8/10
    Watch it - you won't get anything better this year
    The Hollywood line-up this year doesn't provide anything remotely interesting. So don't let a shaky story-line, unnecessary dialogue and slightly hammy acting dissuade you from watching the most stunning visuals since "Avatar".

    Based on 60s French cult comic series "Valerian & Laureline" - mystery to me why didn't they keep that title -, the magnificent opening sequence sets the tone for a more esoteric approach to Sci-Fi than "Star Wars". I won't let on about the story too much so as not to ruin any element of surprise. Let's just say they really should have lost the romantic chitchat. It makes the film drag at inconvenient times. With real writers, this could have become a classic.

    The draw is the eye candy and there's plenty of it. Again I cannot in good conscience divulge any details. Again let's just say that one gets treated to the most creative use of lemons in the history of film. I'll have to watch it again to catch all the pop art references. Aliens were never more beautiful, more sophisticated, more varied. And while the Rihanna scene cannot compete with the opera scene in "5th Element", it's the best use of a performance act in film in years.

    Alas, when one thinks "5th Element", the main weaknesses of "Valerian" stands out clearly: mediocre acting and a terrible script. Bloodless DeHaan is the most dreadfully miscast lead since Tom Hiddleston in "Kong: Skull Island". Why didn't they cast the likes of Theo James with over $200 mil to burn? Cara Delevingne is cool but no Milla Jovovich - Besson loved Jovovich for real and the camera and editing really showed that. Delevingne's Laureline comes across as a run-of-the-mill heroine even though she's doing a solid job. Clive Owen cannot even remotely compare to Gary Oldman's Hitleresque splendor. Strangely enough, the CGI aliens do the best acting and have all the memorable lines. Besson's script-writing has always been shaky but seems to get progressively worse.

    Still, compared to this year's Hollywood fare of sequels, yet another superhero franchise and musicals with thespians who cannot sing, "Valerian" is infinitely more entertaining.
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