Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is one of the craziest, and mostly wildly creative and original science fiction films of the past decade. It’s not without it’s flaws of course; there’s more than enough heavy handed exposition, some awkward Bush-era political commentary, and slightly stilted performances from the two leads. However, for it’s script issues, there’s an incredible amount of imagination in the film, and for better or worse, it’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
In the future, thousands of alien civilizations share their cultures in a massive urban complex known as Alpha. When a mysterious threat threatens to destroy the entire system, Agents Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delivigne) are dispatched to navigate the complex structure and eliminate the threat. DeHaan and Delivigne are serviceable, if slightly bland, but they’re secondary to the incredible spectacle; each scene explores something new and creative, and Luc Besson commits to creating a gorgeously weird world space opera.
The film’s slightly too long, and although a majority of the world building and side plots are interesting, there are some that eel unnecessary. Absolutely, a stronger screenplay would’ve benefited the film, as would more fleshed out characters. It’s imperfect, but Valerian is a crazy action spectacle that’s both insanely self confident, yet entirely unpretentious, and it’s a ride worth taking. Grade: B