Valerian and The City Of A Thousand Planets – ***1/2 OUT OF 4
Director/auteur Luc Besson’s oeuvre (“The Fifth Element”, “Lucy”) has no room for the intellectual traditions of French cinema. He once said: “Cinema is not a medicine to save anyone’s life. It is only an aspirin”. His latest opus estimated to have cost $150 million is the most expensive French film ever made and is based on a French graphic novel series by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mezieres. It is replete with the anti-French traditions of his films exemplified by action, adventure and illusionism married to intergalactic mystery and designer violence. All of this was accomplished using motion-capture on a blue-screen. The concept art is on a scale few films have ever achieved and was overseen by veteran Visual Effects supervisor Scott Stokdyk working closely with world class companies: ILM, WETA Digital and Rodeo FX. The film clocked in 2744 special effects shots and 45 shots without.
Set in the 28th Century, this sci-fi extravaganza features two characters “Valerian” and “Laureline” played by Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne respectively. They are sent on a mission to the metropolis, known to the universe, as Alpha, where they are to explore a dark force threatening the existence of this so called City of a Thousand Planets. There are times when story logic takes a back seat in this film so just sit back and take the ride!
If possible see this one in 3-D as it is the immersive version made palette-able by James Cameron in his Avatar franchise. The soundtrack includes songs from the late David Bowie and Bob Marley. Ethan Hawke plays a space- age brothel owner. Herbie Hancock is the minister of defense and John Goodman voices a monster.