Friday, 4 August 2017

Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets Film Review

Today I saw Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, directed by Luc Besson and based on the sci-fi comic created by Pierre Christin. A beautiful and visually stunning movie.

The Space Station welcomed space travellers until eventually it became too big and threatened Earth, so it was allowed to float away into space. Still collecting species from across the Universe it's now grown to be Alpha the City of a Thousand Planets. A tropical planet exists outside Alpha with pearlescent supermodel sized inhabitants. These other worldly beings collect very powerful pearls from their luscious blue sea, and then several times a year their cute little converter animals eat a pearl, and then shake out more pearls, which are then returned to the land. But one day their atmosphere is bombarded with ships from a war many miles away in space. The planet's princess doesn't make it to the abandoned space ship on the beach, and when the planet explodes is gone with a bang. A disturbance in the Universe you might say, and one witnessed by Dane DeHaan's Major Valerian in a dream on board the space ship he shares with his partner, Cara Delevinge's Sergeant Laureline.

Valerian and Laureline are roused from their virtual tropical island for a mission to intercept and retrieve a package being traded in a virtual reality bazaar between two of the pearlescent beings, and a Jabba style character. The item turns out to be one of the convertors. And he's very useful. Eating and then exploding diamonds. Every girl should have one of these!

The space duo fly him to Alpha where they discover that all is not well. A mysterious sort of radioactive black hole is eating away at it's core, and they are assigned to protecting Alpha's Commander Clive Owen. Straightaway they swing into action when the Council meeting he is chairing is attacked, and he is kidnapped by the pearlescent supermodels again. Who have of course taken him to Alphas's radioactive core.

I marvelled at the imagination of Pierre Christin and the talents of the art, production and special effects team in bringing the comic book to film. Along the way we meet Rihanna, superimposed onto a fantastic body I have to say, and herself a shape changing alien called Bubble. I wonder if her Egyptian face and body are what happens to women's skin if we don't apply moisturiser?! At the premiere she left after her scenes. Spoilsport or diva I'm not sure.

Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne have been either praised or criticised for their roles. But I am very fond of Dane, and to be honest Cara will develop as an actor if that's what she wants to do. Costume wise it was very comic style with her in bikini or similar, and she did get to walk a red carpet in a lovely gown. Albeit one where she was also on the menu.

Of course the movie was camp, but sci-fi is. I mean who can forget Flash Gordon? But it was also wonderful and Luc Besson should be praised for his vision and skill as a director. Over the centuries different species have worked together to provide harmony and bring their different skills to Alpha. Currently we cannot even find harmony with two religions on Earth. What hope for a space ship of 1000 species.

Out of interest back in October 2015 there was an open call for Valerian costumes to be created for the film, and the 20 winners won a financial prize and were credited on screen. Some interesting designs so check them out to see if you noticed any in the dazzling scenes.

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