The best way to describe my feelings towards "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets" prior to watching it was "hesitantly optimistic". I really think that Luc Besson may have went a bit off the deep end in recent years, and it has been a long time since his best work. Still, I thought this film looked closer in style and quality to "The Fifth Element", which was really enjoyable.
In terms of its writing, the film is certainly flawed. As a whole, it is still very enjoyable, but the film is thoroughly predictable. The "twists" aren't really twists if you have seen almost any other movie in the genre. That being said, the premise is fun and quirky, and there are some scenes, like the introduction (featuring "Ground Control to Major Tom" by David Bowie) that are beautifully-written. Then there's the dialogue between Valerian and Laureline which is pretty clunky and generic. It's not the actors' fault, as the chemistry is there, and the delivery isn't awful (Delevingne isn't great, DeHaan is pretty good). There are also some elements that are really off-putting, like the insultingly low-intelligence species of giant human-eating monsters or the gelatinous shape-shifter/exotic dancer played by Rihanna. It delivers the action and good comedic relief, but the storyline is a little all-over-the-place.
The visual elements of this film are really strong. The cinematography and CGI are amazing, creating a futuristic world in space. The production design is great, adding another layer to the CGI world and accenting it with elements of realism. I also loved the color scheme during sections of the film, as it gave it the quirky vibe that was necessary. The only element of this about which I was unsure was the design of the creatures that I think were called "Pearls", although that element was also a little ambiguous in the writing because that was also the name of a power source used by those people, so I was confused.
Overall, "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets" is an enjoyable science-fiction action film with great visuals. If you look much farther into it, it begins to fall apart, but it works for what it is.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Big Tuna's Rating: B
How Did I Watch It?: In theaters.
Had I Seen It Before?: No.
Would I Watch It Again?: Probably.
I am a huge movie fan that wants to tell people about my very varying taste and opinion of film.