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Entries in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets [2017] (1)

Tuesday
Jul252017

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)

Luc Besson’s lifelong love for the cutting-edge Valerian and Laureline comics series is evident throughout his interstellar political intrigue fantasy, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. The first fifteen minutes may be the most poignant and beautifully rendered I’ve seen all year, chronicling the construction of the titular hub of universal cultures and then dropping in on a wondrous beach world populated by fish-like humanoids. Unfortunately, the main character shows up and throws everything off balance. Dane DeHaan flubs his space cop role, going for ridiculously skeevy instead of roguishly sexy—a real problem that makes all his scenes (and the side-plots they serve) feel twice as long. Even Cara Delevingne, who fares much better as Valerian’s put-upon (and hit-upon) partner, gets steamrolled by the film’s two-and-a-quarter-hour muchness. Design-wise, Valerian is unabashed cinematic joy; narratively, it’s a bit like trying to cram a graphic novel into the Sunday Funnies.

Listen to Kicking the Seat Podcast #243 to hear Ian get into Valerian's orbit with Peter Sobczynski of RogerEbert.com!