My reaction is:
WOW. I have never walked out of a movie in theaters before. I can usually predict which ones I may not like and wait for rental or streaming, but, I did not walk out on the likes of the Transformers movies or Suicide Squad. Never even thought about it (well maybe a little). Point is, I always stay. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets was very much on a different level of bad. I wanted to review it, but it became so painful for me that I had to get out just over halfway in. So, I will discuss what I witnessed…
Oh boy, where to start? I am not the biggest fan of Dane DeHaan (Valerian) and Cara Delevingne (Laureline), but I thought they had a little bit of acting potential. I think they were trying to act, but it was hard to tell. Everything they said felt like they read it off the script for the first time with a hangover.
To be fair, I don’t think the actors are 100% to blame. I have heard some critics explain the acting by blaming the blue and green screens the actors must have had to react to. I don’t think that is the main issue. Luc Besson’s direction is the culprit in my eyes. There is no way you can ruin a skilled actor like Ethan Hawke’s performance with a blue screen. Luc Besson’s vision here is unchecked creative insanity mixed with the apparent inability to create a script that doesn’t induce a cringe after nearly every line. For example, when the supposedly “badass” Laureline sees a glowing butterfly, she says, “ohhh pretty butterfly.” She then gets caught by fishing aliens. It’s as ridiculous as it sounds.
It’s like this, only it isn’t as easy to make fun of as it should be.
You can make fun of Attack of the Clones and enjoy it that way, but with Valerian, it’s just painful. Imagine if everyone in a movie gave the same performance as Hayden Christensen here and the romantic chemistry between the leads was worse than this clip. That’s Valerian.
I wanted to cut the film some slack because the visuals are so good. Everything looks really good and there are some interesting ideas and character designs. The goofy aliens reminded me of Russell T. Davies’ run as showrunner on Doctor Who.
If you liked this movie, great! I really wanted to enjoy it, but I just couldn’t get through it. It happens to everyone at some point. This was not my cup of tea. I took a sip, then I vomited it out.
Have you seen it? What did you think? Does it get better in the second half? Was I too harsh? Let’s discuss in the comments.