Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
a population ripe for revolution
mysterious “wise” men who discreetly pull the strings of society from behind the scenes
What does the Bible say about intelligent life on other planets? Answer
Are we alone in the universe? Answer
Does Scripture refer to life in space? Answer
questions and answers about the origin of life
|Featuring:|| Dane DeHaan … Major Valerian
Cara Delevingne … Sergeant Laureline
Clive Owen … Commander Arün Filitt
Ethan Hawke … Jolly the Pimp
John Goodman … (voice)
Rihanna … Bubble
Rutger Hauer … President of the World State Federation
Herbie Hancock … Defence Minister
Elizabeth Debicki … Emperor Haban-Limaï (voice)
Kris Wu … Sergeant Neza
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|Director:||Luc Besson—“The Fifth Element” (1997), “Léon: The Professional” (1994), “Taken 2” (2012)|
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Major Valerian and Sergeant Laureline are partners whose roles are to maintain peace and order throughout many galaxies. More specifically, Valerian and Laureline work for the human federation that is part of the larger intergalactic community.
During one of their assignments, Laureline and Valerian are instructed by the Commander (Clive Owen) to retrieve, from an invisible world (that can only be seen with special glasses), a strange creature known only as a Converter—a small creature that can swallow anything and, eh, produce copies of the object (such as diamonds), as well as a rare pearl from an extinct planet called Planet Mül. The events behind the planet’s extinction are at this point unknown.
After successfully retrieving both items, Laureline and Valerian make their way to the city, Alpha. Alpha, you see, is home to millions of creatures from a variety of different planets and galaxies that coexist peacefully with one another. While guarding the Commander during a meeting with the Grand Council (consisting of representatives from each of the races that live in the city), the briefing room is attacked by survivors from the extinct Planet Mül (who somehow have been able to keep themselves hidden in the city of Alpha). The Commander is kidnapped. It’s up to Laureline and Valerian to find the him and protect the galaxy—all while unraveling the mystery of the incident that led to Planet Mül’s destruction.
“Valerian…” tries to be a lot of things—an action, drama and romance film, all is one. As such, I found myself getting frustrated as I tried to follow the plot. Yes, the special effects are incredible, and the performances are pretty good (except for Rhianna’s performance—I really wasn’t impressed). But, as I’ve stated in past reviews, a film with a plot that is either confusing or too thin, irregardless of its use of effects—apparently over 2700 special effects were used—will likely leave the viewer wanting more and elicit heavy criticism from both movie critics and viewers alike. Granted, there are times when you can go to a film and simply go immerse in the special effects and CGI (e.g., the “Transformers” movies), but then there are also times when you go to the theater wanting something more.
Nudity and Sexual Content: One scene involves prostitution, and many prostitutes are seen in “Paradise Alley.” The couple converses with a pimp (Ethan Hawke). There is an uncomfortable, unnecessary scene, where Valerian enters a strip club and watches an exotic dancer alien-creature, known as Bubbles (who shape shifts into a human female), pole dances and morphs in and out of other sexually-suggestive outfits. The Pearls (male and female) wear very little more than loincloths, and their clothing is very revealing. Laureline wears revealing outfits for most of the film, including a bikini. The design of her armored suit emphasizes her breasts. Valerian frequently flirts with Laureline, and they kiss at various times. A computer monitor displays pictures of Valerian’s many past sexual partners. There are many sexual references and comments.
Violence: Very Heavy—pushing the limits for a PG-13 film. Most of the violence consists of Laureline and Valerian shooting aliens and robots. Soldiers are shot and killed in extensive action sequences throughout the film (one at the film’s end has an especially high body count, and the audience sees numerous dead bodies). Another scene involves a Pearl being tortured by the Commander during an interrogation (we don’t see the torture take place, just the resulting marks on the Pearl). There are also some lengthy space battles, one that leads to the destruction of an entire planet.
Language: Moderate—h*ll (3), d*mn, a** (2), sh*t, pr*ck, a** (2)
I walked into the theater full of optimism about “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.” Sadly, it wasn’t the film I thought it would be. As I said, it lacked something, whether it was a coherent and well-structured plot or perhaps a need for some improved performances. I can’t say for sure. What I can say is that the film is NOT for kids, but probably relatively safe for teens and adults (please use discernment). Due to the content concerns, and general filmmaking quality, this film does not warrant my recommendation.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.