Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

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Jorpho
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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Postby Jorpho » Thu Jul 20, 2017 6:15 pm UTC

Well, it's not quite The Fifth Element – but it definitely feels like a film from a guy who made The Fifth Element twenty years ago, hasn't forgotten much, learned a few things, and found some giant sackfulls of cash. There are more than a few bits that feel like they were directly cribbed, but it's all sufficiently fresh and pretty-looking that it's easy to forgive. (And like The Fifth Element, there are a few plot holes you probably shouldn't think about too hard.)

This Dane Dehaan fellow seems like an odd foreign version of Keanu Reeves, but it's an odd movie, so that's actually kind of fitting.

I wasn't planning on seeing this in 3D, but for once I didn't mind much at all. It might even have been worth seeing in 3D.

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Re: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Postby Grop » Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:10 pm UTC

The Fifth Element already felt like Luc Besson had suddenly found a few tons of cash.

(This movie isn't available here yet).

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Re: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Postby Grop » Sat Aug 05, 2017 4:38 pm UTC

I have finally seen it (it actually came out like ten days ago). Very nice visually!

The story feels a bit weird as there is a very simple main plot, but the story is sidetracked into small adventures. I haven't read the books, but I suspect the main plot is from one book, and several small adventures come from other books from the series.

Many things look like the Fifth Element indeed; but then that movie was already strongly inspired from that same comic books.

Oh, and there's a cool reference to the 5th Element and Very nice hat.

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Re: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Postby Zohar » Sat Aug 05, 2017 7:11 pm UTC

I don't get why they got the two least charismatic actors in the universe to play the leads.
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Re: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Postby Prefanity » Sun Aug 06, 2017 6:25 am UTC

Zohar wrote:I don't get why they got the two least charismatic actors in the universe to play the leads.


Dane Dehaan bugged me far more than Cara Delevingne, and I thought her deadpan performance may have been a fun counterpoint to a male lead with a bit more dopey swagger (Chris Pine came to mind after his performance in Wonder Woman). However, this movie was plagued by far more than boring leads. The entire opening set to "Space Oddity" is utterly pointless, as is the marriage subplot, as is the stripping scene, as is the John Carter-esque swashbuckling, etc., etc. The movie has a glut of unnecessary exposition (e.g. "Hey ship, tell the audience about the city"), while it also lacks exposition that may have clarified plot points. Overall, the movie was pretty wretched, and after Rogue One and Guardians 2 I wasn't terribly excited about the visuals, since they seemed neither as well shot nor as over-the-top (formalist, I suppose) as they should have been.

That said, I thought the transdimensional heist scene was fun and inventive.

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Re: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Postby Grop » Sun Aug 06, 2017 4:39 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:I don't get why they got the two least charismatic actors in the universe to play the leads.


I suspect Luc Besson wanted to be the only vip here and to owe success or failure only to himself (apart maybe from the comic book authors). I may be wrong, but that is my impression. That would be quite selfish, but I can see how an old director would want to do that.

I was only disturbed at the main characters looking so young, while claiming they are experienced, trusted and valuable agents.

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Re: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Postby maybeagnostic » Mon Aug 07, 2017 5:22 am UTC

I quite enjoyed it- about as good as can be expected of a Luc Besson movie or at least closer to Leon/THe Fifth Element than Lucy. Unfortunately everything fell apart any time any character started speaking and despite Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevigne not looking like grizzled military special agents, I think this was mostly on the script and direction- the lines were just bad and the pacing of their "flirting" made it seem more like bickering.

The big downside to me was that I really didn't care about any of the characters which made the finale rather boring. All the characters were so unlikable that I didn't care one bit who if anyone gets blown up.
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Re: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Postby Jorpho » Mon Aug 07, 2017 5:25 pm UTC

Prefanity wrote:The entire opening set to "Space Oddity" is utterly pointless, as is the marriage subplot, as is the stripping scene, as is the John Carter-esque swashbuckling, etc., etc. The movie has a glut of unnecessary exposition (e.g. "Hey ship, tell the audience about the city"), while it also lacks exposition that may have clarified plot points.
I suppose you also disliked The Fifth Element? You could probably make the same criticisms there.

I definitely recall some people asserting that The Fifth Element was the worst movie evar at the time of its release. (Of course, that was a simpler time when the plumbing of cinematic dreck was less of a refined sport.)

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Re: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Postby Prefanity » Mon Aug 07, 2017 6:17 pm UTC

Jorpho wrote:
Prefanity wrote:The entire opening set to "Space Oddity" is utterly pointless, as is the marriage subplot, as is the stripping scene, as is the John Carter-esque swashbuckling, etc., etc. The movie has a glut of unnecessary exposition (e.g. "Hey ship, tell the audience about the city"), while it also lacks exposition that may have clarified plot points.
I suppose you also disliked The Fifth Element? You could probably make the same criticisms there.

I definitely recall some people asserting that The Fifth Element was the worst movie evar at the time of its release. (Of course, that was a simpler time when the plumbing of cinematic dreck was less of a refined sport.)


Not at all. The Fifth Element is a wonderfully hoaky sci-fi romp. And while I've seen it many times, I'd have to watch it again with a more critical eye before I could confidently say it has some of the same shortcomings as Valerian. It wouldn't surprise me, but I recall tight plotting, charismatic leads (perhaps because one of them is speaking mostly gibberish), and useful exposition. Sure, its recurring themes of good/evil and love/war are twin bludgeons, but the movie never tries to sell me on its subtlety. Neither does Valerian, but I don't think Valerian's lack of subtlety is an issue.

And to clarify my thinking on the "Space Oddity" opening, let me say that I don't hate the scene. I quite enjoy it in isolation (and I first saw it as an extended preview when I went to see Homecoming). The problem is that the scene takes up a lot of run time without doing anything other than reinforcing the movie's theme of inclusion, togetherness, fraternity, etc. Sure, it says something about Alpha, but nothing that couldn't be conveyed in a second of dialogue. For me, this scene is a great example of what writers mean when they say "kill your darlings."

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Re: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Postby Grop » Mon Aug 07, 2017 6:58 pm UTC

When I saw that Space Oddity opening I thought for a while that it was a short movie or something, and the actual movie would come later. Musical clips are weird. (But this one was good).

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Re: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Postby AngrySquirrel » Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:56 pm UTC

Just got back from watching this at the cinema and oh boy do I have things to say.

Right. This will be long. Aaaaand I should probably spoiler this stuff cause I don't really know when I say too much. (But honestly this plot is so predictable there's nothing here you can't guess within 5 minutes of the movie).

Spoiler:
First of all the positive. The visuals are beautiful. Whoever did the concept art for this deserves an award. It's real pretty, imaginative, fun and enjoyable. The storytelling itself is okay, just don't think too hard about certain plot holes and logical flaws and it does its job of telling a story quite well. The Space Oddity intro is quite nice for exposition. The aliens look good. There's only the bit where the ship lists what has happened to Alpha in the last year that's really unnecessary exposition-wise. The dialogue is ham-fisted, cheesy and quite often don't make sense, but that's okay.

But oh boy. Oh boy.

First of all, it's nice to see that sexual harassment in the workplace still is alive and kicking in this distant future. I mean, there's nothing wrong with a superior officer constantly pestering their partner/subordinate to sleep with them, oh and also have a "bragging list" over all the other co-workers he's slept with. Right? Right? I mean it's the future! That's just how boys are. See it's funny cause she punches him and tells him she's not interested. Ha ha.
...

Other than that it seems like whoever wrote the script for this movie had one of those online "casual racism/sexism/tokenism"-bingo cards and used it as an instruction manual. Without saying too much about the plot, the movie suffers from a severe white-savior complex and a staggering level of exotification. None of the characters are actual characters, more cardboard cutout archetypes. There is not a single interesting plot twist. There's not a single moment in the entire movie that surprises. It's the flattest, blandest plot you can imagine, on par with Avatar (the one with the big blue guys). Oh and just when you think the worst is over they squeeze in a stupid trans joke and ups the cheese levels to moon-like proportions.

So, that's pretty bad. But the real crime of this movie is the staggering lack of imagination. We're in the MOTHERFUCKING FUTURE. SPACE! Souls that travel through time! Faster-than-light-travel. There are countless alien races. But there's 0, nada, NULL diversity within the races. Every tech-based alien has the same job. Every sensitive fish alien has the same job. Every big muscles alien has the EXACT same personality. All the Pearls are kind forgiving superintelligent peeps. Only humans have diversity. And they're all stereotypes from our century. The one token asian dude is the tech dude. The two black dudes are either dead or the "too old for this shit"-order type. The woman is the TOKEN STRONG WOMAN with boob armor.
The visuals, Alpha Station, the Universe, the multitude of races, it all has so much potential for something truly great and interesting and it's absolutely wasted cause someone wasn't able to approach storytelling from anything but their teenage masturbation fantasy viewpoint. Oh and Rihanna is in it, in a role that seems very shoehorned in and simultaneously manages to be there too long and not long enough for what they want to set up.

So yeah...Cara Delevingne tries very hard to save this movie. She's definitely the stand out performance in this, mainly cause the other main characters is so damn unlikeable, but when she holds her big emotional monologue and squeezes out that one tear I nearly laughed my ass off. Which I think was not the reaction they were going for.

Overall, if you're gonna watch this movie, I recommend a big screen and no sound so you don't have to deal with the stupid stupid plot, but still can see the pretty space stuff.
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Re: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Postby EdgarJPublius » Thu Aug 10, 2017 8:28 am UTC

I feel like this movie is some sort of mirror world inversion of Jupiter Ascending. All of the things that were good about Jupiter were bad in this, and all the parts that were bad in Jupiter were... better? I guess. In Valerian.

The visuals didn't really wow me like they did in Jupiter. Pretty much all of the good looking shots were in the trailer. There were a few interesting/cool looking designs that weren't in the trailer, but most of the visuals seemed pretty bland by comparison.

On the other hand, Valerian did have John Goodman, so it definitely has an advantage in that department.

But on the gripping hand, Valerian didn't have Sean Bean as a part-bee spacecop named Stinger Apini, so I guess it's really more of a draw in the end.
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Re: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Postby Zohar » Thu Aug 10, 2017 12:34 pm UTC

Jupiter Ascending was just so much more fun to watch, despite how terrible it was.

Jupiter Ascending also didn't have the obvious Chinese market pandering this movie had. I suppose that's not surprising, from the credits at the beginning it looked like it was produced by a Chinese company.
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Re: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Postby Grop » Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:10 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:Jupiter Ascending also didn't have the obvious Chinese market pandering this movie had. I suppose that's not surprising, from the credits at the beginning it looked like it was produced by a Chinese company.


What company do you have in mind? All the names I knew were French companies.

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Re: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Postby Zohar » Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:47 pm UTC

I don't remember, there was a pretty distinct jade tiger statue logo with Chinese lettering under it.
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Re: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Postby Jorpho » Thu Aug 10, 2017 8:05 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:Jupiter Ascending was just so much more fun to watch, despite how terrible it was.
I think Jupiter Ascending was trying too hard to make some kind of point, and that heaps of footage was obviously left on the cutting room floor. Valerian seemed far less concerned about coherency.

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Re: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Postby maybeagnostic » Fri Aug 11, 2017 12:32 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:Jupiter Ascending was just so much more fun to watch, despite how terrible it was.
I would flip this around. Jupiter was just a tedious slog and while Valerian certainly had nothing more substantial to say or show, it spent a lot less time pretending to be deep and insightful.
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Re: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Postby Zohar » Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:29 pm UTC

I guess that's fair. For me it was just a constant escalation of ridiculousness - Skating space werewolves! Telepathic royalty-sensitive bees! Out of place incest!
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Re: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Postby Liri » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:10 pm UTC

It took way too long for the """reveal""" that the blue juice stuff WAS PEOPLE
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