This was the first real blockbuster to arrive from Luc Besson in sometime if memory serves. Given a lot of the trailer showed an amazing world akin to that of the Fifth Element, a film which at the time wasn’t overly well recieved, did become a cult hit years later, where now,you can’t help but find people who will sing its praises to high heaven.
That’s even including Chris Tucker’s over the top and potentially ear-raping performance as the host who hangs around with Bruce Willis when stuff goes down. Even Gary Oldman’s accent which went all over the place at times, you came to love (I am dis-a-point-ed!). The world created and shown was boombastic, very creative and will leave you with some good memories if nothing else.
So, no pressure for this one then, eh?
So Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. The title just rolls off the tongue like a roll. Which fell off something. Rolled off….something….
Anyway, the plot revolves around a dynamic duo of Valerian (played by a frankly f**king annoying Dane Dehaan) and Laureline (played by a not quite as annoying Cara Delevingne). They are an elite government team who is charged with stealing some stuff and then they shoot people. Oh and they attempt humour and emotions at times. That’s about it campers. There’s your chracterisation for the film. Be very afraid.
Yet Valerian wants to marry Laureline while having no actual chemistry to speak of. So I guess they become even more dull than they already were apart?
Anyway, what the story I think is about, is a space station that grew too big that Rutger Hauer decided to say a couple of sentences to say it’s being sent off into space, and then I guess collect his paycheck? Seriously, it’s a blink and you miss him moment.
One day some fish people who live in paradise get destroyed, and then we see our two heroes with help from a crack team of Star Trek Red Shirts (they may as well f**king be considering how long they live) steal a small pet from John Goodman (as some alien dude) which when fed stuff sh*ts out more of the same sh*t.
They then fly to the space station which now is huge, and has a multitude of species living and working together. This makes for one of the best ever settings I’ve ever seen and it’s almost bad that we don’t really get to see more of life on the station with these difference beings. It’s colourful, again very creative and even more impressive than what we saw in the Fifth Element. Huge shout out to the artists and the CGI people who got this together.
But doh, we’ve got that annoying story and cast to deal with, as Clive Owen shows up being a typical Military a**hole and hold on, he’s got one of the fish people tied up….. Methinks there’s treachery afoot.
Well to be honest, if you don’t see who the actual bad guys of the piece is at this point, then you must have fallen asleep. Which come to think of it, might have been a better call.
It’s hard to not feel a level of disdain against all that were involved with this, as honestly, I can only describe this whole film as a hugely missed opportunity. They had so many ways they could have explored this world, shown more of the people in it, rather than the tiny amounts we had as it was. Instead we have to stick with Beavis and Butt-Headress. Seriously, who cast these two to be the heroes?
I was taken so aback by Dane Dehaan’s monotoned voice that I was hoping he would end up getting killed. Rihanna shows up for what I can only presume to be an attempt to do the same thing in the Fifth Element where that opera alien starts singing, but damn if she doesn’t feel entirely pointless. Isn’t it particularly bad when some of the CGI aliens out-act the actual actors? It all leads to a dull boredom which then impacts on everything else you see on screen.
In fact it was hard to find a standout performance from anyone, save John Goodman’s brief voice acting. It wasn’t from the sound department either as during fight sequences they may as may been shouting pew pew when firing weapons for all the good it did.
So maybe the story would save the film? Err…..possibly ish….if you’re being kind? There are times you really will need to not question any plot holes which come along at all, because if you do, it all falls apart quickly.
Ok, you ready?
Like how do the fish people survive in a wreak which had no power and so many hull breaches when it smashed into their planet? Wouldn’t the oxygen have escaped, let alone the fact the shock wave from the smashed ship destroyed everything?
Just a small plot hole you might agree? Oh and don’t get me started on the reason why the bad guy hid what he had done…. Seriously? The f**king economy?
So what we have is an amazing cinematic world with wonderful creativity gone to waste with a crap story, and a cast which could be out-emoted by a cardboard box. Hell there were times that I was bored, so when there were supposed to be epic moments, I just shrugged.
I’m on the fence as to say whether or not you should see it. At best, you see it for the sheer wonderful world and effects work which have gone into the film, but at worst, you stay the hell away and hope they never make another one with the same writers and cast because honestly, I couldn’t sit through something else with them all in again.
Overall, go watch the Fifth Element again, it won’t leave you wanting to punch the living s*it out of the main actors, all the while screaming “For god’s sake, act like a human!!!! F**k it, just act a little!!! Act anything!!!”