Okay, took the kid to it tonight. Didn’t hate it, but it’s no Fifth Element.
Cons (Since We’re on the Internet)
The big one: Dane DeHaan was so, so, so very bad. His performance was the movie-ruiner for me. I probably could have enjoyed this as popcorn fun but he was so bad it was distracting. Cara Delevigne seemed much better in this than in Suicide Squad, but I think it may be just because she was next to DeHaan for most of the movie and she looked great in comparison. Such flat, uninteresting acting.
The dialogue. So poorly written. Probably part of the reason DeHaan came across so poorly, but Delevingne’s was just as bad and her character moments were actually mostly enjoyable.
When I left the movie, I don’t feel like I knew anything more about what made either Valerian or Laureline tick than I did when I started the movie. Zero character development.
The worldbuilding was interesting and creative. The absolutely beautiful (if scientifically absurd) planet at the beginning and the beings on it were really cool, as were many of the habitats in Alpha. Some really creative alien designs as well. And lots of attention to detail. The visuals remained interesting throughout most of the movie, and I think on a video viewing people will probably find some homages to other science fiction movies.
Speaking of homages, there’s a portion of a space scene that’s a beat-by-beat homage to Return of the Jedi moment. LOVED that.
The dialogue in the script was abysmal, but the plot was not predictable for the most part. Don’t want to spoil anything, but things went places that made me go “oh, cool” instead of “yep, knew that was coming.” Mostly.
There are a good 10 minutes where Laureline is the focus instead of Valerian. Those are 10 minutes better than the rest of the movie.
Laureline’s character is more badass and smarter than Valerian’s. Nice.
I don’t regret seeing it. I wasn’t bored. It wasn’t as funny or well-paced as The Fifth Element, but there was enough to look at and enough well-shot action that I was entertained. But – it lacks the charm and humor than The Fifth Element had, and I don’t really feel the need to watch it again.
That and DeHaan’s offputting performance is such a distraction that this isn’t going to have the kind of “bring it back out and watch it again every few years” place in my library that The Fifth Element enjoys.
But if you want to see 70’s sci-fi book covers come to life onscreen and enjoy a pretty mindless space action romp that isn’t 100% predictable, there are worse ways to spend two hours.
Flawed fun. Not as good as The Fifth Element, but way better than Passengers.