Top positive review
More ambitious Science Fiction than 5th Element, But not as well cast.
December 16, 2017
This is an underappreciated movie, but I think that may be due to the casting of the leads. Though Dane DeHaan, and Cara Delevingne are 20910 cute, they don't have the punch that their roles as Major Valerian and Sargent Laureline yo pull it all off, so you have to look past that a bit. Clive Owen as the bad guy is interesting, and he's got the chops for it but the movie never reaches the critical tension of 5th element, Luc Besson's other SciFi thriller. My favorite sequence was actually at the beginning, as we fast forward from today to the future through vignettes of the ISS growing to a vast city in space., thought it's just setup for the film. There are some very nice science fictional ideas in the movie, including a bazaar you can only access through augmented reality, though here presented as another dimension. Readers of serious SF will probably feel more at home in this world than the general public, but everyone should appreciate the stunning vision Besson has created for the world. Broad acceptance also probably was hurt by a lack of Amarecan familiarity with the source material, the Valerian comics. There's so much quirk and nuance there that it was inevitable that much got washed out in the script writing, but I did wish they'd made mention of Lauraline's origin...she's actually from 17th century France, and got picked up along Valerian's travels, which is very Whoian, and is somewhat more assertive in the comic. Luc Besson says that it's worth watching twice to get what you miss the first time around, and indeed, there is a lot going on, but I think I got hte gist of it once through. Also, look out for Ethan Hawk's appearance, though it's not long. It's fun, and worth watching, but lacks the chemistry that WIllis and Jovovich stirred up in their duet.