Valerian - Luc Besson, The Enchantress, and a Dane


#61

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.

Pros
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.

The Takehome
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.

Final rating
Flawed fun. Not as good as The Fifth Element, but way better than Passengers.


#62

This was awful. I wasn’t reading reviews but I skimmed a few impressions and it only set me up to hate it even more. I had the vague impression that this was going to be a bright, cool looking film that gets too weird and buckles under its own weight.

Well it was bright and colorful, but it was about as un-weird and dull as you can get. It had the worst writing in recent memory. And Dane DeHaan was a terrible casting choice; he falls totally flat trying to be some kind of roguish leading man. Denny was right, Delevingne was surprisingly good with the awful material she was given, but Dane just couldn’t make any of it work.

Avoid this movie, it’s not bad in an interesting way, it’s bad in a bored to tears way.

But I’m pretty sure the guy with the hat from Fifth Element is also wearing a hat (which is again complimented) in this movie. So there’s that.


#63

That sounds like a shame- I REALLY adored the comics, but they were probably mostly a european thing - Present at all danish libraries, and the more stylish science fiction comics weren’t a big scene back then, so most of my generation (40+) knows the universe and Linda and Valentine, as they were called in Denmark.


#64

Apparently not.

EuropaCorp’s stock price fell to 3.53 euros ($4.11) in the wake of “Valerian’s” performance at the U.S. box office over the weekend.

Believed to be the most expensive independent movie of all time with a budget of $180 million, “Valerian” grossed just $17 million from 3,553 theaters and landed in fifth place, behind “War for the Planet of the Apes,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” “Girls Trip” and Christopher Nolan’s World War II movie “Dunkirk,” which surpassed expectations and received glowing reviews.

“Previous EuropaCorp film such as ‘Taken’ and ‘Lucy’ have done well in the U.S. as well as worldwide. If ‘Valerian’ turns out to be a flop in the U.S., it will be very difficult to compensate in international markets considering the size of the budget,” said Westcott.

Although EuropaCorp has a limited risk on “Valerian” – about 90% of the film’s budget was financed with pre-sales and equity investment, Besson says – it desperately needs the film to be hit as the company just posted record losses of 119.9 million euros ($135 million) for the fiscal year ending March 31.

“Valerian” has to make $400 million worldwide to help EuropaCorp climb into the black and justify a sequel, according to several financial analysts, including Pavel Govciyan, an analyst at Natixis.

We’ll see how it does once it launches in all territories.


#65

Not a great time to be opening; there are some very highly praised flicks on at the moment and, from what I saw of Valerian on TV, it looks like John Carter.


#66

My wife and I enjoyed it well enough. I will echo that the lead was just underwhelming. He seemed to have almost nothing to contribute like he did not care. I was actually surprised by the actress who played Laureline. Was a good performance and she had at least charm and spunk. The lacking chemistry between the leads really made the romance scenes awkward. But I do not regret seeing it. The visuals are just epic. The opening “welcome” sequence actually brought a tear to my eyes as THAT is what space exploration should be all about. I loved the Pearls and how affectionate and caring they where to each other in little gestures. The various living areas of the station. The Alien designs. The costumes where interesting too, he just has his own visual style. It is no 5th element, the characters are too emotionally unconnected for the most part for that. And that is a shame. I would would like to see a “Laureline” with her being the prominent character and Valerian relegated to a back seat. Alas it does not look like that is going to happen. I feel the movie receives a lot of flack, not all of it is deserved.


#67

Holy shit this was terrible. For some reason I feel like there were some worthwhile visuals, but no. Nothing redeeming. At one point I thought it might be misguided inspired like Jupiter Ascending… but no. Terrible, just terrible. I think I zoned out at some point.

I can’t remember the last time I had such a bad experience. Whoa.


#68

I mean, seriously. Avoid this. Please. Terrible. Terrible!


#69

Now I may have to see it at some point to see how bad it really is.


#70

It is pretty bad. Visually beautiful, both two of the main three actors are completely miscast (Dehaan, Owen) and the writing sinks them completely. Delevigne is passable.

On the other hand it made me appreciate the brilliance of Fifth Element all over again. Christ what a gloriously beautiful fantastic film that is.


#71

Honestly my love for the frenetic, visually and narratively, and bizarrely inventive Fifth Element probably had me more excited for this film than anything in the marketing. It managed to capture some of the color and excitement in trailers, so I hoped it would also capture some of the spirit and greatness.

It sounds like it completely fails that, which is a shame. For all the famous one liners and visual elements, it’s the theater singing scene that cuts back and forth to the fight, and synchs up the singing and action that may be my favorite. Just oozing with style.

I’ll just go watch that instead.


#72

Yeah my love for Fifth Element is also what made me hopeful for Valerian. That film is just perfect, the opera scene is unforgettable, but also the soundtrack by Eric Serra is just bliss. Pure atmosphere.

Valerian had one really great trailer with the gangsta paradise remix, but movie itself had very bland music, sadly. First twenty or so minutes were pretty fun though, but then it keeps falling apart.


#73

As much as I like Fifth Element, it had entirely too much Ruby Rhod for me to ever describe it as perfect.

And Corbin’s mother.

And W. A. R.


#74

Each to their own I guess. I thought that Ruby Rhod was the perfect satirical extrapolation of the modern shock jock. The Fifth Element was all about satire and of course satire is rather subjective. I think that may be the big difference between The Fifth Element and Valerian. One embraces its satirical insanity and the other tries to convince you that it’s playing it straight.


#75

Wait for Netflix or something, it’s really just the disappointing kind of bad, not the fascinating kind of bad.


#76

Which doesn’t explain how he ended up as Screeching Action Buddy for the entire last third of the film. If he’d just disappeared around the time all hell broke loose on the cruise ship, I’d have been fine with the character. Or if he’d screeched less.


#77

Oh how I hate the ending of The Fifth Element. Re movie climbs to such batshit heights and then crashes hard, hitting every trite tree branch on the tree coming down. I kind of joked to a friend going in, “So the fifth element is love, right?” Sigh.


#78

Not sure I agree, since the spectacle of the special effects on the big screen was the major redeeming quality. Not much left to love on a household LED display…


#79

That’s what the trailers made me think, that’s what got me into the theater even after the reviews stunk, but I seriously do not think there’s anything so remarkable about this film that it needs to be seen in a theater. To each their own of course, I’m glad something worked for you, I think if you saw the trailer on the big screen earlier this year, you literally got all the excitement out of this movie you’re going to get.


#80

I guess it depends on how frequent a moviegoer you are? I’m in DennyA’s boat in that kind of enjoyed it for the visuals, and how…french it was, for the lack of a better word. If you’re going to see it, see on as big a screen as you can. But also, don’t make it one of your few trips to the movies of the year, because Dane DeHaan really is woefully miscast, and the dialogue is terrible.