Valerian and the city of a thousand planets lenticular uv 2017

Every summer movie season needs at least one out-of-left-field entry that is so cheerfully bonkers it stands as a living rebuke khổng lồ an industry that churns out noisy & soulless garbage lượt thích “Transformers: The Last Knight.” This year, that film is “Valerian and the City of a Thous& Planets,” a deliriously entertaining film that finds writer/director Luc Besson swinging for the fences in his efforts to make a weirbởi sci-fi epic for the ages & coming up with a virtual trang chính run derby. It"s a film filled with humor, charm, excitement and so many memorable images that many viewers will find themselves struggling khổng lồ keep from blinking so as not to lớn miss any of the eye-popping delights crammed inlớn each overstuffed frame.


The film is inspired by Valerian và Laureline, a French comic book series created by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mezieres that is said, especially aý muốn European comic book buffs, to lớn have sầu influenced the look of any number of films over the years, including “Star Wars.” The comics also helped lớn instill an interest in the genre in a ten-year-old Besson, who would eventually go on to employ Mezieres khổng lồ help design the look of his own elaborate sci-fi epic, “The Fifth Element.” Besson may be one of the leading players on the international moviemaking scene, but while watching “Valerian,” he has reverted, in the best possible way, to the mindmix of a kid helplessly enthralled by the wild plotting, bizarre alien worlds & breathless derring-bởi on display—albeit a kid who has been able lớn marshal together armies of cutting-edge visual technicians and a near-$200 million budget (the largest in French film history) to bring it all khổng lồ life exactly as it played in his head.

Set in the 28th century, the film centers on Valerian (Dane DeHaan) và Laureline (Cara Delevingne), a pair of special operatives fighting crime throughout the universe. As the story begins, the two are sent off to lớn Big Market, a virtual-reality bazaar whose hordes of vendors can only be seen and approached after donning special equipment, lớn confiscate an ultra-rare and powerful Mül Converter, an adorable creature capable of reproducing anything that it eats. The cocky Valerian soon finds himself being pursued by any number of creatures while the far more cool & collected Laureline is charged with saving his babé, presumably not for the first time. 

The twist this time is that, due khổng lồ a technological malfunction, Valerian is also trapped between two different levels of reality with most of his body in the real world while his arm is stuck in the virtual universe. This may not make a lot of sense in the explanation but the kết thúc result on the screen is a hilarious và exciting thing of crackpot beauty that is just one high point of a film filled with them.

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After securing the Mül Converter, Valerian và Laureline report to lớn Alpha, a massive floating đô thị that began centuries earlier as the International Space Station & has expanded over the years lớn serve sầu as a trang chính away from trang chính for aliens from throughout the universe khổng lồ live sầu together in harmony. Now Alpha’s very existence is being threatened from within, and Valerian và Laureline are charged with getting to the bottom of things before it is too late. The two uncover evidence of a massive sầu government conspiracy to cover up a ghastly mistake. As they try khổng lồ unravel the scheme before all is lost, the two are separated & have a series of adventures involving a wild collection of creatures, the most memorable of which is a shape-shifting “glampod” played by pop princess Rihanna, who turns up to lớn help Valerian rescue Laureline. 


Besson has long been one of the most stylish filmmakers, but he outdoes himself here. There is not a scene in the film that does not contain a visual worth savoring, whether it is an unusual creature, an extravagant costume or just a throwaway oddity lurking in a corner. (This is one of the rare recent films in which the 3-D option is clearly the way lớn go.) At the same time, though, Besson is using his visual skills as a way of telling the story instead of merely serving up bits of gourmet eye candy. Take the extended early sequence mix on a bucolic distant planet whose sleek & iridescent inhabitants go about their business before being interrupted by a cataclysmic sự kiện. The scene is an initial grabber because of the absolutely gorgeous thiết kế of the planet & its inhabitants. But as it goes on, we quickly get a sense of who they are in relation khổng lồ each other và how their world functions without a single word of dialogue lớn explain any of it.

Some will complain that the screenplay is little more than a series of action sequences linked together by a story that doesn’t make any sense & absurdly clunky dialogue. While some of the criticisms are valid—there are times when the dialogue sounds as if it underwent one pass too many through translation software programmed by George Lucas—Besson’s narrative sầu is more ambitious than usual this time around &, for all the silliness on display, ultimately touches on real-world concerns such as political corruption and the international refugee crisis in ways that lover real emotional weight lớn the proceedings. At the same time, “Valerian” is unusually optimistic in its depiction of the future from the charming prologue showing the evolution of Altrộn khổng lồ the sight of its inhabitants living together in peace. At a time when virtually every futuristic film envisions some form of dystopian nightmare, the sunnier take shown here is refreshing.

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The only weak element lớn “Valerian & the City of a Thous& Planets,” ironically enough, is Valerian himself. Throughout his career, Besson has never shown much interest in telling stories based around conventionally masculine heroes. Most of his films have centered on tough and resourceful female characters, & when guys have sầu been front-and-center, Besson has subverted their mamang đến natures in some way (such as dressing Bruce Willis in Jean-Paul Gaultier in “The Fifth Element”). Here, Valerian should be brave sầu, bold & resourceful, but as inhabited by DeHaan, he comes across more like a callow kid struggling to lớn emulate the effortless cool of Han Solo. Besson is clearly more interested in the character of Laureline, and viewers will be, too, thanks to Delevingne"s performance. She is funny, convincing in the fight scenes, charismatic as hell, & capable of taking an absurdly melodramatic speech like her climactic oratory on the importance of love and making it work. Thanks to films lượt thích “Wonder Woman” và the recent “Star Wars” entries, we are in a new age of exemplary female heroes at the multiplex, and Laureline is fully deserving of a place aý muốn them.


“Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” is an utter delight và one of the most gorgeous fantasies khổng lồ hit the screen in recent memory—the kind of film that can take moviegoers logy from the usual array of craptaculars & render them giddy with its pure fun. The question, of course, is whether viewers will be willing to lớn give its weirbởi charms a chance. But if you want khổng lồ come away from a film feeling dazzled instead of simply dazed, this is an absolute must. Besides, it is almost certainly going to lớn become a cult favorite in a few years, so why not get in on the ground floor while you can?


Science Fiction
Adventure
Action
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Peter Sobczynski

Peter Sobczynski is a contributor khổng lồ eFilmcritic.com & Magill"s Cinema Annual and can be heard weekly on the nationally syndicated "Mancow"s Morning Madhouse" radio show.