Thoughts: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Mistakes
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is quite a mouthful, and even more of a spectacle. When it comes to what a summer movie should be, Valerian is everything you would come to expect: Adventure, romance, drama, CGI, grand set-pieces, and a through-narrative that's easy to follow. All the credit goes to Luc Besson, as putting this movie together was no easy task; it's based on a very old graphic novel. This isn't to say that Valerian is a bad movie, but it does miss the mark when it comes to making it great or even memorable.
First off, what even is Valerian? Turns out that's the name of Dane DeHaan's character, which would have been nice to know before getting 15 minutes into the movie. That's where the problems for this movie begin. Dane DeHaan doesn't look like a space police officer despite being 31. He tries to channel his inner Matt Damon (circa 2005) or Brad Pitt (circa 2001) but doesn't have the charm or charisma needed for the role. Maybe it's something in his eyes, but he is no leading man and this movie shows it.
Then there's Valerian's partner, Sergeant Laureline, played by Cara Delevinge, who recently played The Enchantress in Suicide Squad. She is supposed to be both his partner in the adventure as well as the love interest. She has a proven track record as a badass and that is clearly shown during the course of the film. Instead it's the chemistry that not only feels off, but more of a forced relationship than anything else. Cara shines on her own, but when put alongside other characters, she unfortunately falls short of believable.
That leaves the only other major character in the film, played by Clive Owen. He plays the most predictable role out of anybody in the film and does not try to cover it up. Whether it's the writing or his portrayal of the role, everything he did clearly telegraphed he was the villain to the point where the reveal was very lackluster. Clearly the acting and actor choice for this film is where it falters.
Despite the acting, the story and visuals were definitely amazing. There's enough CGI in this movie to give Avatar a run for its money, and when it comes to alien character development, they spared no expense. This movie is a theater experience and will give you that space epic fix until Star Wars comes out in December.