Thursday, July 27, 2017

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

DIRECTOR: Luc Besson  CAST: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, Herbie Hancock, Kris Wu, Rutger Hauer  SCREENPLAY BY: Luc Besson  STORY BY: Pierre Christin, Jean-Claude Mézières  BASED ON Valérian and Laureline  PRODUCERS: Luc Besson, Virginie Besson-Silla  FILM EDITOR: Julien Rey  GENRE: Action, Adventure, Science Fiction  CINEMATOGRAPHY: Thierry Arbogast  MUSIC: Alexandre Desplat  PRODUCTION DESIGN: Hugues Tissandier  PRODUCTON COMPANIES: EuropaCorp, Fundamental Films, BNP Paribas Fortis Film Finance, Universum Film, Gulf Film, River Road Entertainment, Belga Films  DISTRIBUTORS: STX Entertainment (US), EuropaCorp (France)  COUNTRY: France  LANGUAGE: French, English  RUNNING TIME: 137 minutes
Technical assessment:  3.5
Moral assessment: 3
CINEMA Rating:  V14
In the 28th century, Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delavingne) are sent to a mission in Alpha, a huge city in the outer space inhabited by millions of creatures from different planets, to solve a mystery that threatens the peaceful living in the said space station and entire universe. Prior to embarking on the mission, Valerian proposes marriage to Laureline, but the latter prefers to retain their relationship at colleague level because she does not believe Valerian can take serious relationship. The two agents accomplish the mission of retrieving a rare animal and acquiring special pearls that are needed to protect the Alpha. On return to space city, they learn from their commander Arun Fillit (Clive Owen) that Alpha is further threatened with infiltration by dark forces in some areas. During public assembly, the humanoids attack and kidnap the Fillit while the rest of the participants in the assembly are incapacitated including Valerian and Laureline. But Valerian manages to free himself and chases the kidnapers towards the infected area where he suddenly losses control of the vehicle and his contact with Laureline. The latter searches and finally finds him only to be abducted in return. This time its Valerian’s turn to rescue Laureline with the help of Bubble (Rihanna), a shape-shifter. 
Valerian has a character-based plot made interesting by the love angle between the main characters which is tried and tested while accomplishing the mission together. There is miscasting of the main character particularly Valerian who looks more like bubbly teenager than a credible police agent. Nevertheless, the film boasts of excellent CGI  work and is a real treat of visual delights for the viewers. The cinematography is likewise good especially long shots of the universe and close-up shots of details in the highly imaginative production design. The sound effects perfectly fit every movement and action in the space station and enhance the visual effects.
Peace is achieved when there is unity in diversity. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets showcases a big community of  beings from different origins who are peacefully living and working together. They generously share their technology and culture in harmony for the greater good. Keeping and protecting the city from the enemy of peace is a noble and sacrificing act, adhered to to the point that even the personal interest such as the love relationship of Valerian and Laureline takes a back seat for the benefit of the great majority. But this does not make them love each other less; amidst the trials and threat of loss their love and care strengthen them to fight together. On the other hand, the one responsible for triggering chaos and damage to the peaceful city suffered the consequences of his actions. The movie conveys positive messages, however, violent nature of fighting and the killings may need guidance adult for minors to comprehend the movie.