I wish we had received more from Besson this time. Previously reading the reviews about the film, I realized that I should not expect too much, but in spite of that, I got out of the cinema pretty disappointed.
When it comes to the very visual atmosphere of the film, technical solutions to which I can only express admiration, but not to comment them in detail, because I really am not an expert, the film gets a clean tenth. As a great fan of “The Fifth Element” (1997), which in its time was a real event – by its artistic vision, design, construction of a unique futuristic world, I was very curious to see what kind of spectacle Besson will create this time. And at times when digital technology allows an immeasurably greater power take-off to such a visionary and creative spirit. The city of Alpha, which we meet here, is fascinating, as well as a multitude of carefully thought-out creatures (should we emphasize extraordinary imagination!?); the planet Mul and its inhabitants are an impressive creation. The film is simply beautiful. But, from my point of view, there is the end of its list of qualities.
Unlike the aforementioned, excellent sci-fi creation with Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich, which not only animates us, but also deals with important philosophical settings.
We know that this year’s achievement is inspired by the 1960’s comic book series “Valérian et Laureline”, by French artists Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières. However, the story which is adapted here is very poor, something that we’ve seen for a thousand times in movies. It would not have been a problem, if it was created in a way that would allow us to trully experience it at the moment of watching as a really special one and fresh, because that would seem to be the way it should be. To moves us, to win us on the emotional level. This is somewhat accomplished in the scenes where we see the inhabitants of Mul and we find out their life philosophy, but the motivation of the other characters is, however, a stamp, too general, instead of individual. In this kind of film, although we talk about sci-fi genre, a little “depth” would not hurt.
The acting couple Valerian and Laureline work on the screen solidly. So-called “chemistry” wasn’t missing between Dean De Haan and Cara Delevingne. But what disrupts the whole experience, and on what we can not blame the actors, are very bad replicas. Humor that is completely low-minded, somewhat imprudent.
Objections than go on the duration of the film and its development. Because the plot we follow does not require so much time. It seems like the action is just there to “bind” the abundance of gorgeous scenes, something that will lead us through the Besson’s imaginarium.
I’m sure that the famous director really enjoyed the shooting – would it be pretentious to say that you can see it in the film? I read one text about how, in the creation of “Valerian”, Besson included students from his own film school “L’École de la Cite” and how that was a great pleasure for him and that he would be crazy happy that somebody offered him such a spectacular opportunity when he was a young man. When you find out all that, you just want to like the movie. If the emphasis was on visual satisfaction of the audience and showing what can happen today in cinema with extraordinary digital possibilities, then this accomplishment fulfilled its task. But I believe that it would be better if someone else worked on the script, and not the director himself.
I can help but notice that Laureline’s character was molded in such a way that the heroine is more acting she’s sexy, than she is able to really take off her sex appeal. I am saying this because it’s obvious that this dimension of the protagonist is emphasized during the film. Numerous are large scenes of her face in which we feel that she’s doing more of posing than she’s able to express sensuality. Whether the problem was in the actress itself, or everything is imagined to look like that, remains an open question. Cara Delevingne is undoubtedly beautiful, but is she really intergalactic femme fatale?
From the scriptwriter and director of “Professional” (Léon: The Professional, 1994), I expected a richer, more content story, and a little more refinement of the characters. As well as the possibility that they, although being heroes of the summer blockbuster, still remain in my memory and make me wish to see the possible sequels of their adventures.
Thus, “Valerian” remains for me a film that was supposed to lead me to an exciting and colorful journey with a striking, meaningful story in the frames, as critics called it, “space opera”.
* Photo taken from http://www.imdb.com/