Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

2017, EuropaCorp et al

Oh dear, this is so sad. Luc Besson, one of my favorite filmmakers (The Fifth Element), poured his heart and soul into a total flop. Make no mistake, if judged solely on visuals, this would surely be the most spectacular film ever made. Ever. But owing to a clumsy story, flat script, lifeless direction and dismal performances from miscast leads, it was a disaster. The lead male created a thoroughly unlikeable character, the lead female couldn't act her way out of a paper bag, and we hardly ever saw the antagonist.

But getting back to the visuals... they were utterly astoundingówithout doubt the finest effects I've ever seen, with some humanoids that were so lifelike I thought at first they'd superimposed real faces over animated bodies. Nope. This was leaps and bounds beyond anything achieved so far. And the aliens far outnumbered the humans; indeed, it could be argued that Valerian is actually an animated film featuring a few token live-action effects. After seeing the making-of docs, I went back and re-watched a number of particularly impressive scenes with an even greater sense of awe. If only Besson had turned the script, casting and directing over to other more capable hands... Crap. I'm so bummed.







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