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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Blu-ray Review

November 17, 2017

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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Blu-ray Review - Reviewed by Kidzworld on Nov 17, 2017
( Rating: 3 Star Rating)

The eye-popping Valerian and the city of a Thousand Planets is out to take home or gift. Should you add this visually striking film to your collection? Check out Kidzworld’s Blu-ray review.

By: Lynn Barker

In Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, galactic cops Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevigne), a bickering romantic couple, are sent on a mission to Alpha, a floating and ever-expanding metropolis where diverse species gather to share knowledge and culture. The duo has to recover the “Converter” which was stolen. Also, something radioactive is spreading from the heart of the city. What is it and who put it there?

Undercover, Valerian and Laureline arrive at Big MarketUndercover, Valerian and Laureline arrive at Big MarketCourtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment

Backstory

It’s the far future and an Earth-orbiting space station grows bigger and bigger with more wings being added until it’s so humungous that it threatens to crash down on Earth so, it’s sent out into space. It finds a home and, as the years pass, all humans and discovered alien races seem to get along in Alpha, the major city.

Part of the giant Alpha stationPart of the giant Alpha station

End of a World

On Mul, a beautiful water planet, the alien race, the Pearls, live happily by the sea collecting pearls and cuddling with adorable alien creatures who, if you feed them one, can poop a ton more. When giant, damaged starships start falling on the planet from a war raging above, the world’s princess seems the only one unable to get to safety. Dying, she sends her soul out through the universe searching for a being to house it.

The Pearl Princess runs from planetary destructionThe Pearl Princess runs from planetary destruction

Vacation Interrupted

Valerian and Laureline, basically space cops, are relaxing on a holographic beach inside their ship when Valerian receives the soul of the dead princess and has visions of her world. He thinks it’s a dream. He asks Laureline to marry him but he’s too much a player with women for her. They are called to action. Someone has stolen the “Converter” and they need to bring it to the Alpha station.

Laureline won't agree to marry ValerianLaureline won't agree to marry ValerianCourtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment

Tourists at Big Market

Valerian poses as a tourist in a parallel dimension area called The Big Market, a shopping mecca that visitors must wear special glasses to see. Here, some of the remaining Pearls are confronting a huge underworld creature trying to trade a giant power pearl for the Converter creature. Valerian and Laureline bust in and grab the little creature, once a pet on destroyed homeworld Mul. Valerian grabs the pearl. They escape with the underworld alien’s weird “dog” in pursuit. Valerian discovers that the pearl is packed with atomic energy. That’s why everyone wants one.

Valerian and Laureline are chased after escaping Big MarketValerian and Laureline are chased after escaping Big Market

Reporting at Alpha Station

Valerian and Laureline report to the Commander (Clive Owen) on Alpha Station. He reveals that in the center of the station is a new radioactive area that nobody has been able to explore without dying. If it keeps growing, it could destroy the station. We see that the Commander is a baddie who has been torturing one of the Pearl people for information. He will speak in front of a large council and Laureline and Valerian are to escort and protect him and the Converter creature. The remaining Pearls have constructed a ship and kidnap the Commander thinking he has the Converter. Laureline has it.

Strange creatures created for the filmStrange creatures created for the film

The Chase is On

Valerian chases the ship through various environments on the station while Laureline tracks him from the government control room. He disappears and, after a bizarre side trip to get information, she locates him, crashed in an unauthorized, dangerous zone.  After finding Valerian, Laureline is captured by strange, huge creatures who take her to their emperor. Valerian knows the race hates most humans. He enlists the aid of Shapeshifter/dancer Bubbles (Rihanna) who can wrap herself around him and make him look like one of the beings holding Laureline.

On the way to AlphaOn the way to Alpha

Rescue and Revelation

Just before the alien emperor is about to eat Laureline’s brain, Valerian and Bubbles find her and a swordfight ensues. Bubbles is fatally injured. Meanwhile, the General at the station has discovered that the Commander was part of the war over Mul and lied that the  planet was uninhabited. He has been covering up what amounted to the Genocide of the Pearls! Why do the remaining Pearls need the Converter creature? What is the secret of the radioactive area at the center of Alpha? Will the Commander pay for his war crimes and will Laureline agree to marry Valerian?

Ethan Hawke as Jolly confronts Dane DeHaan as ValerianEthan Hawke as Jolly confronts Dane DeHaan as ValerianCourtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment

Special Extra Features

There are some nice extras on this Blu-ray. Most feature the cast working on bare blue-screen sets with motion capture actors. The real movie magic happens in post when special effects giants ILM and WETA take over.

  • Enhancement Mode – this is an optional feature with pop up pods containing facts you can run at various points throughout the film. Kind of cool after you’ve seen the film once without it.
  • The multi-part, making-of featurette is Citizens of Imagination: Creating the Universe of Valerian.
  • Part 1 is Paper, Ink, Flesh and Blood Origins and it concentrates on the French comic book that inspired Director Luc Besson as a 10-year-old. He had to wait until technology made making the movie possible.
  • Part 2 is called To Alpha and Beyond: Production and Stunts – This extra is really interesting as you see really amazing alien creature creation, motion capture actors on set, beautiful production art and a lot of Cara goofing off and she and Dane on wires while doing stunts. Big Market is featured as well. Really a fun extra.

Cara as Laureline gets rigged up for a fightCara as Laureline gets rigged up for a fight
  • Part 3 It Takes Two: Valerian and Laureline’s Partnership attempts to convince us that the two lead actors actually have chemistry. He’s uptight, she loosens him up. We see Dane training for a fight.
  • Part 4 Denizens of the Galaxy: Humans and Aliens concentrates on Rihanna and her Bubbles character, Ethan Hawke’s club owner/pimp, Clive Owen as The Commander and the actors wearing motion capture suits to play various aliens. Really interesting.
  • Part 5 is The Final Element: Visual Effects. Artists from ILM and WETA talk about their amazing contributions, the effects from storyboard to finished product. Just beautiful. Ships, Big Market, Alpha, etc. are examined.

Director Luc Besson shoots Dane DeHaan in a sceneDirector Luc Besson shoots Dane DeHaan in a scene

Wrapping Up

As we mentioned when covering the feature film, “Valerian” is an eye candy festival with a muddled “why are they doing that?” storyline and lead actors with little chemistry but you can’t beat all the amazing visuals and effects.

Rihanna plays shapeshifting dancer BubblesRihanna plays shapeshifting dancer Bubbles

The extra features on this Blu-ray set are all fun to watch and concentrate on the “look” of the film. There is no Blooper/Gag reel but we see so much of Cara, especially, goofing off on set that the purpose is served. There is no Audio Commentary but again, the tech stuff and action on set is covered. There are no sections on the very creative costumes or weaponry but most other aspects; stunts, working with very little actually on set etc. are covered.

Beautiful Pearl peopleBeautiful Pearl people

I feel that “Valerian” is worth collecting just for the amazing visuals alone. If you have a pal who is really into Sci-Fi art and colorful visual effects, this is well worth gifting as well. We’d go five stars for the “look” of the film but overall, on this Blu-ray/DVD/Digital set, we go three. 

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Blu-ray Rating: 3

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Blu-rayValerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Blu-rayCourtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is in stores now.

 

Have Your Say

Would you be into collecting or gifting this movie this holiday season? Are you into eye candy movies with lots of visual effects? Tell us below! 

 

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