Movie Review: "Valerain and the City of a Thousand Planets"

By: 
John Thomas, Movie Critic

The French have their own original style, from cuisine to comics – their’s is indeed the French way. Their style is usually creative, cultured and artistic. This film is no exception. Luc Besson (director) has taken a sophisticated French comic series, adapted it to the screen and thus created a 137 minute art work. The story is based on the theme of two persons saving their known world from destruction. Major Valerain (Dane Dehaan) and his pal Sargent Laureline (Cara Delevigne) are the chosen ones.

The thousand-year-old peace of Alpha, a place existing in a distant time and place, is threatened by an unknown force. The commander of Alpha (Clive Owen) is scrambling for a solution to this threat to the safety of the 30 million+ inhabitants for whom he is responsible. He enlists the services of Valerain and his partner Laureline to discover those who are responsible and eliminate them – he gives Valerain and Laureline 10 days to do so.

In their quest, the two soldiers glide through endlessly gorgeous and extremely creative scenery. They encounter wildly innovative creatures, some of them humans in fantastic costumes and makeup – almost a drag show in outer space. Their battles make use of every techno-trick known to cinematographers. The encounters they experience are just long enough to hold one’s attention but not too long to become tiresome.

Because the time of the story is set so far into the future and the idea of Alpha is so alien to us, the story almost becomes believable. There is nothing for us to relate to, no tidal waves crashing into San Francisco or Statue of Liberties falling into the ocean, simply a fanciful portrayal of what the future may be. The cast is well chosen, the sounds and music are well suited to the story, the special effects are brilliant and the dialogue has just the amount of soft humor to keep the audience engaged and amused.

For about the same money, movie-goers can opt to have an American-style, generic, drive-thru hamburger with a soft drink, fries and catsup, or they can sit-down to a well orchestrated and creative French meal in a beautiful surrounding. So, what’s it to be, another tedious remake of tiresome old monsters blasting at one another for hours on end or Valerain and the City of a Thousand Planets?

Directed by Luc Besson, France, this is a “must see” movie running 137 minutes.

johan@beachcomber.news

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