Killer Rob Movie Review

'Valerian, and the City of a Thousand Planets’ is another wild, SciFi film from director Luc Besson. The script is derived from the original comic book series titled, ‘Valerian and Laureline’. The movie Valerian begins with a giant man-made space station named Alpha that is propelled into interstellar space to travel and explore the universe. 400 years later, the stage is set on some tropical-looking oasis on some faraway planet in space, with the inhabitants being aliens which resemble the Na’Vi from the movie 'Avatar’ just alittle too much.

Ofcourse, just like Avatar, these aliens are also very peaceful. They harvest pearls that have huge powers inside of them, and again, very similar to the film Avatar, these poor alien creature’s planet is attacked, and then destroyed. Only a few of these aliens are able to escape along with the King and Queen, but their daughter (The Princess) is killed.

We then meet Major Valerian (Dane Dehaan) who has an unexplained occurrence happen to him while relaxing on a holographic beach. He is joined by Sergeant Laureline (Cara Delevingne), whom Valerian has an interest in. She is super hot so you can’t blame him for that. They are both Federal Agents who work missions for the military. They arrive on Planet Kyrian to retrieve a valuble and rare Mül converter which has fallen into the wrong hands.

In this time of the future, beings are able to intertwine with multiple dimensions. What appears as an empty desert on Planet Kyrian in one dimension, is really a crowded marketplace in another. Valerian must use an invisibility cloak to retrieve the converter. He is able to capture the device, along with a mysterious pearl which catches his attention.

The Agents depart to the man-made space city of Alpha, which has turned into the city of a thousand planets. This manmade space station which originated from Earth has evolved into a huge complex with a variety of species that call Alpha home. A strange and dangerous radioactive nucleus has developed in the center of Alpha, killing anything sent to explore the zone. The military speculates that this nucleus will destroy Alpha very soon, so Valerian and Laureline will be sent with a squad led by the shady Commander Filitt (Clive Owen) to try and deactivate the threat.

In their approach, they encounter a huge platoon of the Na’Vi-like aliens who are looking for the lone Mül converter, as well as revenge from the aggressors who destroyed their home planet. A big firefight ensues, and Commander Filitt is taken hostage by the aliens, who evacute on their spacecraft. Valerian boards a spaceship of his own and goes after them in a really cool chase, but fails to stop them, and Laureline loses complete contact with Valerian.

Laureline leaves the military base and boards a submarine with Bob, the drunken captain, in order to capture a special kind of jellyfish that can give her telepathic thoughts as to Valerian's whereabouts. She learns of Valerian's love for her, as well as the clue to his location. Laureline travels to the spot where Valerian crashed, and wakens him from unconsciousness. Valerian and Laureline, as well as various members of the military, begin to learn of Commander Filitt’s misdeeds, although things still aren’t adding up for a motive.

While Valerian is working on his damaged spaceship, Laureline is snatched away by a butterfly lure, and in search of Laureline, Valerian winds up in a strip club. Ethan Hawke plays a crazed and wacky character running the strip/brothel which reminded me of a futuristic Dennis Hopper from ‘Apocalypse Now’. His star dancer is Bubble, played by Rihanna, who gives a helluva pole dance. Although she’s not really just a dancer, she's also a shapeshifter as well. Bubble offers to help Valerian locate Laureline. She also delivers one of the most uninspiring, non-emotional death scenes in cinema history.

Valerian tells Laureline that the alien Princess has been inside him, but can’t quite explain exactly how or why. They locate the center nucleus, which is not radioactive or as deadly as they had been told. The Na’Vi-like aliens have a portal there, and Valerian meets the King and Queen of the alien tribe. They explain that the Princess chose Valerian to be the guardian of her soul. They tell of the attack by humans which destroyed their planet and much of their population.

They eventually migrated into space, and settled on Alpha, the city of a thousand planets. The Navi-like aliens eventually developed the technology to recreate their home planet, but need the coveted Mül converter. The aliens awaken Commander Filitt from his enduced sedation, and he is chastised for destroying a planet and people in order to gain riches. Filitt explains that the aliens are the enemy, but Valerian knocks him out cold with a left hook.

Laureline persuades Valerian to give the Mül converter back to the aliens, and he reluctantly agrees. With the converter and a mystical pearl, the aliens are able to recreate their planet again. Monitoring the situation from the control room, the General orders the destruction of the portal wall. Valerian contacts the General and begs him not to destroy the wall, but Commander Filitt orders complete annihilation. Fighting from all sides begins, but the bomb to destroy the wall portal is disarmed. Valerian and Laureline escape, and Commander Filitt is arrested. To end the movie, Valerian finally proposes to Laureline, and gives her a mystic pearl for her birthday.

A few thoughts on the wild movie, Valerian...Luc Besson has a really awesome mind for SciFi. His film 'The Fifth Element’ is a classic and one of the greatest scifi movies ever made. Besson has a unique way of mixing SciFi with action, and sprinkles the mix with a nice dose of comedy. His movies are fun, wild, and different. With today’s current graphics technology, he is able to take the viewer into an abstract world of the future.

It is hard to watch these kinds of movies and not compare them to other SciFi films. As previously mentioned, the main aliens in the film looked too much like the Na’Vi from Avatar. There were also some Star Wars similarities, with a big, fat Jabba the Hutt-looking creature that has the Mül converter box, and at one point Valerian and Laureline fall into a trash dump, reminding people of the scene from 'A New Hope’.

It is a bit laughable when the movie begins and we have a mega space station base with all sorts of futuristic technology in the year 2031, a mere 130 years away lol. Why do SciFi movies always screw this up? We've only been to the freakin’ moon a handful of times, we still can't even get automated robotic cars to work right, and were supposed to believe we'll have all this super technology a decade from now??!! -give me a break, more like 3031, not 2031!

The Valerian character, played by Dane Dehaan, delivers his dialogue just like Keanu Reeves with that kind of stuffy-nose vernacular, and im guessing he’s Canadian by the way he pronounces the word “sorry“. In the movie, it’s weird how they say they’re “driving” the spaceship instead of “flying”. There’s also some actor in the movie really named Herbie Hancock, which has to be a Chris Farley rib from ‘Tommy Boy’ right? What parent would do that to their kid?!

As for the futuristic mega-city of Alpha, luckily for many of us, English is the dominant language in all of the universe, with all kinds of weird, hairy, slimy, and avatar-looking aliens speaking the language fluently. -oh the irony! The future sure does look mighty confusing to cave people like us living in 2018. The back-and-forth dynamic between Valerian and Laureline is entertaining throughout the movie, but geez Valerian, why not drop to a knee when you propose to Laureline? Is this custom no longer gestured in the future?

The Fifth Element is still the superior film compared to Besson’s new Valerian movie. While the SciFi CGI and Special Effects are amazing in this movie, it lacks a steady direction in plot. The effects and wild action are so well done, you sort of lose the point of the main direction of the mission. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you just want to enjoy some mindless action in a SciFi world, but if you want some steady direction in the story itself, it falls short. With a city of a thousand planets, this movie probably takes multiple viewings to comprehend all of it’s vast array of characters and infinite world.

While it won't replace SciFi action/adventure movies like Star Wars, Avatar, or even Starship Troopers, fans of science fiction will enjoy this wild ride of a movie. Although Valerian is considered a box office bomb, hopefully we are treated to a sequel at some point so we can see how the marriage of Valerian and Laureline is going, and we can explore Alpha, it’s huge population of species, and the thousand planets in greater detail.