WARNING: The following review contains spoilers, I’m telling you now so you don’t pretend to be outraged later.
I just spent 2 hours and 20 minutes watching Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and I still can’t explain to you what the hell I just watched. When I first saw the trailer for this movie, I made the call that this would be the biggest bomb of the summer, at the time of this review, we don’t know if I’m right, but considering this film is the most expensive indie film in history with a $210 million dollar budget which doesn’t even include marketing, they will have to do Marvel numbers to make that money back. Luc Besson, who wrote, directed, and produced this garbage is solely to blame so let’s try to explain what the hell happened with this movie because they as didn’t explain anything themselves.
So as far as I understand, in the year 2020, humans began creating a space colony outside of earth. After 5 minutes of handshakes, the humans begin to allow alien creatures from all over the galaxy into their massive colony as well. Fast forward to the year 2150 or somewhere past that date, over 1,000 different species have come together Kumbaya style and everyone lives in a perfect utopian reality where there is no conflict whatsoever, so of course, humans would be the first ones to fuck things up. Valerian and Laureline’s commander Arün (Clive Owen) blows up a planet Dragonball Z style with a bunch of aliens on it and spends the next 30 years covering up his fuck up. Meanwhile, you have a couple of space cops played by Cara Delevingne and Dane DeHaan, who have a mission to do something I guess, but they discover that their boss is evil or something, then Rihanna shows up and something about a bomb and the movie ends. Trust me, that is as good of a description as you are going to get.
All the problems with this film revolve around the story because it makes no sense. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is a sci-fi film that doesn’t even bother to explain the rules of its own universe. I know this film is based on a book series called Valerian and Laureline, so I guess Besson just assumed that the audience is already familiar with this universe and how it works so why bother doing the work yourself. The first hour of the film involves important plot points and set pieces that aren’t explained with any context so if you are wondering how someone can steal an item in between dimensions and take damage from a universe his physical body isn’t in…oh well.
The things that aren’t explained make no sense and the things that are explained have no substance. You have a ‘love story’ that is supposed to be the glue of this film, but there is no reason to feel anything for this couple because they are about as believable as a 3 legged unicorn. You have the main actress who has the acting ability of a foot and is only half as likable, but her very first line of dialogue is her explaining how smart she is with her Ivy League background. You have the main actor who sounds like Keanu Reeves from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure with a punchable face. Together they push the idea that they are in love when the characters show absolutely no chemistry with each other at all until a cheap kiss right before the end credits. I have more chemistry with my PlayStation but how can I expect any emotion out of an actress who I am 80% sure, they dubbed over her voice AGAIN because she is such a terrible actress.
The humor falls flat about 8/10 times because the actors have no comedic timing or line delivery. The story is written by someone who has ADD and got distracted by his own writing. The film has at least two side missions that have absolutely fuck all to do with the central story besides trying to make you believe these potatoes love each other. The 200 million dollar CGI attempts to recreate what the director did with The Fifth Element, but who cares about the visuals when every aspect of your storytelling is trash. One note, I had to laugh at and it wasn’t intentional. Rihanna shows at one point as a stripper/hooker creäture thing who has the power to shape shift into anyone she chooses. While pleading her case to be freed, she mentions that she is an illegal immigrant and I died laughing. You are trying to tell me that in the 28th century after building this massive space utopia where beings have come from all over the universe to bring peace and share their technology…that we STILL haven’t fixed the border problem? We have Space Illegals??? Does ICE not exist in this universe? Is there a wall we need to build? How do we build a space wall? Is there a Space Mexico to pay it?
This movie might as well be sponsored by Waste Management because it is straight trash. 141 minutes and there was only one cool chase scene that lasted 1 minute. The film is nonsensical, poorly acted, and the worst sin of all, it’s boring. Utterly dull. If you have the option of choosing to either watch Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets or be waterboarded, choose waterboarding. Because at least with that, when your will to live gives up it’s over, with this film you still have 2 more hours to go.