Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

I’m 34 years old. I’m no different than most other 30ish year olds in that I like to be in bed before 11pm. It takes a lot for me to stay up past midnight and last night I wanted to stay up well past midnight to watch Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets in 3D. Needless to say I am glad I saw it.

Valerian is a weird, wildly innovative imaginative science fiction film. A lot of people are going to compare the film to Avatar. For my money Valerian is leaps and bounds better because after I left the movie theater for Avatar I completely forgot everything about the story and no shots stood out; I did enjoy the immersive experience but Avatar felt like a roller coaster ride in that after you get off you move on with your day.

Valerian, like Avatar, is no means a perfect film in regards to story but the fact Valerian is nothing like I have ever seen before. At times characters are literally jumping from one fully defined world to another in a matter of 1-2 seconds. It is astounding to think how much thought and time must have been spent to create these worlds. There are several action scenes where I was in total aw because I literally never anything like it before.

The story is about two government cops (Laureline and Valerian) who go undercover to retrieve an extremely rare artifact that has been stolen. Upon retrieving the artifact they start to uncover that there is maybe more to this artifact.

Valerian is played Dane DeHaan. He’s always been brilliant in smaller supporting roles. On the surface he didn’t seem like an obvious choice for this role but I walked into the movie theater anxious to see his performance. DeHaan is miscast in the role. The movie says he’s a playboy who has had many female conquests. To be honest he doesn’t have the charisma or charm to accomplish such a feat.

I looked at the box office numbers and it does not look good. I think there will be many factors why this happened. Having the wrong actor in the lead role has to play some effect on this. Suppose if the Guardians of the Galaxy did not cast Chris Pratt. I bet if they casted anyone else the movie would not have been what it is now.

But back to what has me the most worried. Obviously the low box office numbers is not good for Valerian’s backers but this is even worse if you love movies. There is a segment of the population who hates how superhero movies dominate the box office and how they hate how Hollywood is afraid to take chances with unconventional films (I am one of these people).

Well, this is weird unconventional film and the face no one went out to watch it only confirms Hollywood’s rationale that they don’t want to take risks especially when the budget is $200 million (which is what it cost to make Valerian).

After talking to some of my friends, who are the target audience for this film, the consensus feeling I get is apathy and the primary reason for the apathy is because critics gave the movie a low rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The fact Valerian only has a 55% rating on Rotten Tomatoes makes dislike and lose faith in movie critics. You can already tell I am not a professional critic but I don’t know how anyone can see this film and walk away with a recommendation, “I don’t think people should see this film.” This is mad. For the visuals alone this is something everyone should see on the big screen. The fact that a large percentage of critics have panned this film has made me realize now, more than ever you should think for yourself and not rely on whether on critics to be the gatekeepers for the media/movies you want to consume.

I promise you if you see this movie there will never be a dull moment and you will be entertained the entire time. If I was to give this a percentage rating (on a 0-100% scale) I would give this a 88%.

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