This sci-fi epic, in essence, can make for a great show on the Syfy channel in a serialised format.
It could’ve been a cool interstellar buddy-cop series following Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and his partner Laureline (Cara Delevingne), as they venture throughout the City of a Thousand Planets - Alpha.
Instead, we have a half-baked plot with twists you can see coming a mile away and moustache twirling villains with heroes who are never fully developed.
Director Luc Besson’s second go at science fiction film is very disappointing and the casting choices are very strange. For example, Rihanna is featured heavily in the promotion material, while only being the film for 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes!
Furthermore, as much as I love our Bajan Princess, she, like Beyonce, is no actress and all her lines are as flat as Kylie Jenner’s old bottom.
Casting Delevingne as one of the leads also boggles my mind. This is her third time as a lead in a major film and still, she is unable to emote or even deliver any line convincingly.
DeHaan also can’t seem to catch a break. This is the second film where he is surrounded by cartoonish acting and for some strange reason, Besson made him speak in a weird raspy voice à la Jasmine Master. The dialogue itself is also cringeworthy and, apparently, you can fix anything through the power of love.
The lack of practical effects also makes the film look and feel fake. Besson should have taken some that $180 million production budget and at least had a few of the characters physically be there. Unfortunately, this causes the world to never be fully immersive and, unlike Star Wars, it all feels like a video game cut-scene.
Valerian as a character is also never fully developed. The characters never indicate why he is so special and, in the final battle, he beats up a whole battalion of android soldiers without breaking a sweat. Before this, there is no indication whatsoever that he is this super agent.
This film is also way too long. If you are going to have a runtime of more than two hours, then the pacing has to be on point. This movie could’ve easily been cut down to 90 minutes and it would have fixed a lot of issues.
Luc Besson should stay away from sci-fi for a while and leave it to the directors who know what they are doing.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets lacks emotion, good acting and is set to be one of biggest box office failures this year.