Monday, 7 August 2017

Valerian (3½ Stars)


This is a spectacular science fiction epic from the French director Luc Besson. Visually it's what "The Fifth Element" would have looked like if it had been made 20 years later.

At a cost of 200 million Euros it's the most expensive film ever made in Europe, but it looks like it will only earn a fraction of that amount at the box office. Does it deserve more success? After watching it for the first time today I refrain from giving an opinion. I really need to see it again before I can say more.

The setting for the film is the International Space Station. The film's introduction shows it growing steadily larger as different human nationalities, then different alien races move in to share it. 400 years in the future it's grown so large that it's considered a threat to the Earth's safety, so it's propelled into the far reaches of space. Humans are the largest group on the space station, but there are hundreds of alien races sharing it.

Valerian and Laureline are two special agents who work for the commander of the space station. The commander asks for their assistance in battling an unknown force that is spreading in the centre of the space station. As good soldiers they do what's asked of them, but as the story continues they find out that not all is as it seems.

The story is exciting. The acting is perfect. The visual effects are good, but to me they were confusing. It's as if Luc Besson's intention was to put the special effects first and everything else second. The film is based on a French comic series, "Valerian and Laureline". The visuals in science fiction comics can't necessarily be duplicated in a live action film, but that's clearly what Luc Besson has tried to do. The images are too overwhelming for me to say much about the film after only watching it once.

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