Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets

I fully admit my great love for Luc Besson as a filmmaker. He has produced many of my favorites like Leon, La Femme NikitaThe Fifth Element and the District 13 movies. Now with Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets he gets to fulfill a childhood dream by making his favorite French comic book as a movie. Finally the effects have reach the level necessary to match the vision in his head.

The opening scene of human nations and then aliens meeting for the first time on an International Space Station that grows over the centuries is a beautiful introduction to the dream of interspecies co-operation with a simple handshake as the promise both sides make to preserve peace and unity. All of this set to Major Tom by David Bowie. I was moved. This is all based on a beloved French series of comic books and if there is one things the European comic creator do very well is produce grand and compelling graphic novel sized stories. Combined with cutting edge visuals this one should have been a slam dunk. Instead it's more like a last minute shot that misses from center court.

I will say it's a gorgeous film to look at but the story is as frustration as the visuals are beautiful. I just wish the results had lived up to the creativity that made this movie one of the most gorgeous to look at.. Maybe it was really too much to expect from a piece of entertainment trying to jam pack everything they can possible imagine into one giant mixing bowl. There are so many things that go wrong because if one pillar is shaky the whole structure falls apart.

But that style could work but not with these two actors at the center. They were never as interesting as what was going on around them and only suffered by comparison. To be fair, I don't think that any actors could compete especially with an infuriating weak script. It doesn't help that the two relatively inexperienced actors have zero chemistry on screen.

I wanted to give the distasteful Cara Delevigne a chance but she didn't make it easy to like her She has ONE expression and two moods - loud and louder. Maybe I would have enjoyed the movie more if she had an attractive personality or screen presence but she does not. Listening to Valerian and her bicker about women drivers and other balloon juice is so tired. They are no different than two rich kids playing at being space cops or something like that.

So basically there is little or no chemistry between the two leads and the sloppy writing delivered at an actor's rehearsed pace is too ridiculous too believe. Their romantic banter is dull and without passion or even the basics of a friendship. It's like everyone is in drama school and this is improve that is all actor driven. I don't believe the relationship they are suppose to have and that keeps me at an arm's length for the entire picture.

The cool pretty pictures are the distractions my mind needs after every line of drivel that I am forced to listen to. Every conversation the principles have slows the movie down to a crawl. No way could they operate as these super space agents when this trivial relationship garbage is all that is on their minds. They act like high school kids playing space agent and don't act it very well. The more I watched, the more infuriated I became. Valerian, while being a punk is also a bit of an asshole to this girl he professes to love. But I guess girls like douchebags who treat them terrible. But still she risks her life to save him whenever Mr. Boy Band is in the slightest danger. Plus she always seems to be either wearing or covered in goop which brings up all kinds of disturbing Freudian thoughts.

Plus having a computer voice on their spaceship telling them things they (but not the audience) should already know is another example of lame writing and that more than anything else weighs down what wants to be a space epic. Certainly all the imagination is there to create something magical but that just didn't happen here.

At this point I have to be honest. For no other reason than I was bored, I turned off the film after about 35 minutes into it last night. I looked for a reason to finish the film all the next day and found I was more interested in other things like washing the kitchen floor and watching old You Tube clips of Erik The Midget making life difficult for Howard Stern. That is how little I wanted to waste time with a product that I knew would not get any more interesting as it told it's story. Actually two days have now passed and I still haven't gotten back to this film. That is something I never do. I always finish a movie once I start it.
Maybe a nice pipe of Old Toby will change my perspective enough to dive back in. At this point it's the best chance the movie has to earn my love.
Promise I will try extra hard to be a good movie watcher and finish the film. I hope it is not bad enough to dump completely like Space Balls and Maximum Overdrive (two films I walk out of about 15 minutes into the both of them and went to another film at the Cineplex)  but I have never felt more tempted to just live in ignorance as to how this movie ends and add Valerian to a very small but special list those few films that I just couldn't get to the end of. I have a feeling I just won't give a shit about anything that happens in Valerian.  How can such a beautiful movie be so relentlessly dull?

Day three and still can only do about 25 minutes before I got distracted again. This movie is quite the slog. I still can't find a reason to care.

Rianna stunt casting? I care even less now than I did five minutes ago. Pointless, pointless and then even more pointless. We see Rianna's whole pole dance act? Why? Who knows? Is this what passes for entertainment in the future? I will just plug my brain into the Matrix thank you very much and fight with Morpheus.

Why is Valerian such a valued agent? Seems to me like he has little in the way of special skills. He just stumbles from one set piece to another and everything works out his way. No wounds, no mistakes. All his enemies fall before him. Gah!

In the now FIVE days it has taken me to try and finish this movie I feel nothing but anger for the wasted effort. I hate that I have a hundred ways that this film could be improved but this will forever remain the movie that we got. I hate Cara even more and I hope she only gets to play murder victims in all her future movies. That is the only thing that will get me anywhere near one of her films ever again.

Is this the worst movie I have ever seen? No but it is the most disappointing and I now officially place it on my Rare List of movies I just could not finish. I will keep it here in my download file in case I ever loose my mind and want to see how everything turns out. I can't imagine that will fix my opinion of this picture. I hated it.

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