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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Review

Reviewed by on Jul 20, 2017
Rating: 3 Star Rating

Kidzworld saw the colorful new sci-fi film Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Is it total eye candy? Does the story work? Check our movie review.

By: Lynn Barker

In Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, government enforcers Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) are under assignment from the minister of defense. The bickering romantic duo embarks on a mission to Alpha, an ever-expanding metropolis where diverse species gather to share knowledge and culture. The “Converter” was stolen and they have to get it back before baddies get it. Also, something radioactive is spreading from the heart of the city. What is it and who put it there?

Cara as Laureline suited up to find ValerianCara as Laureline suited up to find ValerianCourtesy of STXfilms

Growing Station

In the future, 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.

The space station city of AlphaThe space station city of AlphaCourtesy of STXfilms

World Destruction

On a gorgeous paradise water planet called Mul, 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 the destruction on MulThe Pearl princess runs from the destruction on MulCourtesy of STXfilms

On the Beach

Government enforcers Valerian and Laureline 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. She’s not so sure. 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.

Ready to go to AlphaReady to go to AlphaCourtesy of STXfilms

The Big Market

On another world, 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. He has to blend into this other dimension where 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 so everyone wants them.

Big MarketBig MarketCourtesy of STXfilms

Alpha Station

On the huge Alpha station the duo reports to their boss The Commander (Clive Owen) who tells them 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.

Valerian determined to find the CommanderValerian determined to find the CommanderCourtesy of STXfilms

Chase and Capture

While Valerian chases the ship through various environments on the station, Laureline tracks him from the government control room. He disappears and, after a bizarre side trip to get information, she locates him.  He’s 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.

Rihanna as shapeshifting BubblesRihanna as shapeshifting BubblesCourtesy of STXfilms

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 has been torturing one of the Pearl people and that he was part of the war over Mul and lied about thinking 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?

The mercenary alien trio helping LaurelineThe mercenary alien trio helping LaurelineCourtesy of STXfilms

Wrapping Up

“Valerian” is an eye candy festival with a muddled “why are they doing that?” storyline that repeats (He’s missing, she searches and rescues. She’s missing and he does the same) and goes off on unneeded tangents…. with Rihanna thrown in as a shape shifting alien. Jokes could be funnier. Cara Delevingne and Dane DeHaan are enthusiastic but have no chemistry and seem too weak for their larger-than-life hero roles. Some of the dialogue is corny and clunky…. BUT, darn, does the film present some gorgeous and amazing locales and alien creatures!

One of the many aliens living on AlphaOne of the many aliens living on AlphaCourtesy of STXfilms

From the beautiful, doomed water planet Mul with its sparkling, angelic alien race, to the gritty Big Market and a trio of oddly cute alien mercenaries, the creature and production design and execution get five stars! Big gun effects houses ILM and WETA contributed and it shows. See the film in 3-D and on as large a screen as possible for full effect.

The crew prepares Cara for a sceneThe crew prepares Cara for a sceneCourtesy of STXfilms

The movie’s visual creativity has no parallel in recent filmmaking history (Director Luc Besson’s other older space epic The Fifth Element comes to mind) but don’t expect to really understand the story or to get too involved in the luke-warm Valerian/Laureline romance. If you want to see the movie for the action and eye-popping visuals only, you won’t be disappointed. We can go three stars overall. 

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie Rating: 3

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Movie PosterValerian and the City of a Thousand Planets PosterCourtesy of STXfilms

See Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets in theaters Friday!


Have Your Say

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