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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Review (2017) | Insipid but with Great Visuals

Never judge a movie by its name. Though how cool it might sound, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is nothing like it. Although it tries to be on numerous occasions, it doesn’t even come close. From the guy who brought you the likes of Lucy, this wasn’t expected. I was really looking forward to getting blown away like a death star; the good news is I am still alive.  The trailer obviously sold a lie.

On the good side though, we have stunning visuals where you can see all the hard work that has gone in. As far as the acting department is concerned Dane DeHaan and Clive Owen seem quite convincing. The rest are not even trying. Rihanna is probably one of the worst additions to the tale. I mean whatever she performed and expected Major Valerian to like her for, I mean what was that all about? Her Bubble bit seemed like an unintelligent layering that was an outright drag and I remember myself shaking my head more than once.

Humour of Valerian and the City of a Thousand planets isn’t up to the mark either. There are some cool stunts but that too aren’t many. You would have turned all your attention to the screenplay but there is nothing out of the ordinary either except some one or two one liners that are good.

I’m afraid of a kiss, like a kiss from a bee.

Plot of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (Spoilers)

On the plot front, the story of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is actually good, but unfortunately isn’t presented so. The real thrill isn’t there and you know for sure there’s something trying to suck out all the mojo from it. Maybe the absence of some real tension, I surmise.

We have a space station Alpha formed around the planet Earth that has come to become a singular abode of thousands of planets living under one roof. We have special agents Valerian (Dane Dehaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) in the police force, with the former awkwardly hitting on the latter all the time.

Valerian dreams about an idyll dream about a utopian place that fishes for energy pearls. The people living there would duplicate them using an animal (converter). Valerian wakes up when he sees some spaceship debris crashing into that perfect place.

Valerian and Laureline go on a mission to retrieve the same converter from his dream secretly interrupting a meeting that is going on between the dealer and two customers. He also steals the pearl that was supposed to serve as a payment to retrieve the animal.

Commander Arun Filitt

Back in Alpha, Commander Arun Filitt (Clive Owen) is briefing everyone about an infection in the station. Valerian and Laureline show up with the converter with the latter refusing to give the converter to Commander for security reasons. Same humanoids from Valerian’s dream barge in the station taking Filitt captive. They head towards the same infected area Commander was talking about.

While trying to save Filitt, Valerian goes MIA. Then Laureline tracks Valerian using some weird techniques only to end up getting caught herself by a dumb species. Valerian infiltrates their location with the help of Bubble (Rihanna) and rescues Laureline. They both end up in the infected area where they come to realize that the infected area is, in fact, a stronghold of the humanoids who had kidnapped Filitt.

Friendly Mul

The friendly humanoids then fill them in about Valerian’s dream about their perfect Utopian planet Mul which was destroyed by a space battle happening just over their planet. We come to realize that it was Filitt who had ordered a destructive doomsday weapon to be fired that destroyed Mul as well, despite being confronted by his crew. He had then eliminated all evidence even though it came haunting him in the form of Mul survivors.

still of Mul Humanoids from Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

The survivors from the planet then took resort in a crashed spaceship thereby learning all about technology from scratch. They eventually came to Alpha where they assimilated ideas of building a planet out of a spaceship. All they were missing was their pearl and the converter that could duplicate it to generate lots of energy.

Valerian and Laureline do the right thing by handing over the pearl and the converter but the robotic soldiers of Filitt end up attacking them. They are then stopped by Valerian and the government as Filitt is taken in.

Big Market Technology

The most genius thing in the entire Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets movie is the Big Market. The inventive thought makes you wonder about such a place in the near future and the insane possibility of it actually metamorphosing. There is ample focus given to that bit for us to sieve in a world driven by interdimensional travel with a snap of a finger. It is beautifully depicted and holds probably a vision to our futuristic arrangements.

Another bizarre stuff worth remembering is Doghan-Dagui, three duck-billed platypus like aliens, that talk by finishing each other’s sentences off. Just watch out the visual effects on them and you will know these have been created with some real painstaking diligence.

still of Doghan Daguis in Valerian movie

You can order Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets from here:

The Lack of Chemistry

There’s an absolute lack of chemistry between Major Valerian and Sergeant Laureline which makes you want to hate them as a couple. The way things even start between the two makes you want to abhor them.

There is no real spark between the two. You can’t feel any vibes whatsoever. Plus what Cara puts on with her act is just not worth loving. You can’t blame Dehaan for that.

Ethan Hawke’s part as Jolly the Pimp might have been small but was performed nicely. Even though his role was actually dispensable. Seemed like oddly put like a cliched move that Hollywood often resorts to.

The Final Verdict

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets sometimes becomes too smug to be taken seriously. With Cara Delevingne playing hard to get with that cozy grin slapped on her face at all times, it becomes hard to fathom if she is for real.

Visuals are great to witness and probably amongst those few good things about the flick. The movie misses out on gravitas and profundity. You can’t take a lot of things seriously. Luc Besson disappoints.

The love angle is just the worst. But it is a good one time watch nevertheless.

Check out the trailer of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets here:


Suicide Squad Review (2016) | Entertaining But Falls Bland

A whole lot of bang with no deafening noise to cover it all up. Suicide Squad might not be that DC movie you have been impatiently waiting for, and it is highly probable that we are never going to hit that old Nolan high ever again, but it still manages to rope you in with entertainment galore. What is important that we are joining DCEU pieces together, and trying our level best to build something beautiful in the long run. Aren’t we really looking up to it?

Direction of Suicide Squad

The problem with David Ayer’s direction is that he doesn’t retain focus. The guy wouldn’t let you pivot on anything. His direction gallops like a speeding steed, and by the time you are trying to put sense into something he canters around to imminent frames to cloud his shoddy direction, without caring about how spectators feel. That’s where he goes wrong. What we need is depth, a gorgeous profundity to hold onto something serious, so that we have something to reflect, and possibly tag along to a frequency that keeps us on our toes to meet those elusive frames. Sadly, Ayer doesn’t have that tranquility and he storms like Usain Bolt.

Best Things to Remember

Without wasting any time, let’s delve into the good the flick had to offer. The best thing about Suicide Squad is hands down Harley Quinn. A one woman show that swallows everything in its wake of perversion. Margot Robbie does justice to our good ol’ Harley successfully creating a stunning persona that is probably the most cherishable character we take from Suicide Squad.

still of margot robbie as Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad movie

Another powerful one is that of Will Smith’s Deadshot. He has some of the best lines and he delivers too. But still I wished he was built as memorable as the animated character in Batman: Gotham Knight. Watch out for that one man army show though with his unmissable headshots.

Joel Kinnaman as Rick Flag was a confident affair too. He carries a comportment that will have you believe things were actually serious. Amanda Waller was magnificently built with Viola Davis placing things in perspective. But she melts into immaterialism with a vapid story to back her.

The Jared Leto Joker

David Ayer fails to stun us with a Zack Snyder like theatrics when it comes to depicting fighting sequences, but he still manages to create memorable bits keeping Joker under the wraps. There are cameos of him that are absolutely dazzling, as Jared Leto masters that notorious Joker laugh, thrilling every frame with his occasional presence. There are theatrics entailed, no doubt, but I wished he was given more screen time to create an enchanting scene all for himself. His occasional visits with hooligans in dramatic veils sizzle the screen with pizzazz nevertheless.

still of Jared Leto as the Joker in Suicide Squad movie

Enchantress was gorgeously carved in the beginning. The part where Amanda Waller introduces her will have you mesmerized by her ghastly transition. But then as the movie progresses on its thinly built plot, she loses the charm and dread of enchanting us, and withers away like a dead flower. The worst part is when you see Cara Delevingne actually dancing as she performs her bewitching acts. Terrible!

Another good part was ephemeral Batsy cameos. Wish he had some more unexpected eye-popping bits at odd hours and we would have the whole hall erupting with his occasional presence. The part Zack Snyder shot for Flash was there too and will have you bite your nails for that Justice League movie build up.

Focusing on Other Aspects

Other characters in the movie have not been helmed properly. They fall like dominoes without having a proper focus on their abilities except for Diablo played by Jay Hernandez, who gets to have his proper super-villain moment. Incubus walks in strong with his outrageous annihilation in the beginning, but where it all mattered, he succumbs to one of the easiest victories ever.

still of jay hernandez as diablo from suicide squad movie

I am afraid, the screenplay has nothing much to offer. There were moments inscribed wherein you would be impatiently waiting for a funny one-liner, and then end up realizing it was already advertised in the trailers before. Side stories to the tale were like inevitable bits that didn’t have us feeling sorry for the characters. Those were the things that were highly plausible, and don’t reek of enough melodrama to sieve things in perspective.

For the better half of Suicide Squad, we have songs that play in the backdrop, that we all have been forever accustomed to. The flick has limited score strewn across that will make you feel how steep the fall really is, coming from Hans Zimmer’s gorgeous music in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Spoilers Ahead

Suicide Squad has fabricated bits too. Like that scene when Harley takes the elevator. It seems a deliberate attempt to create just one scene. To be honest, we could have lived without.

Killer Croc and Boomerang get shadowed beyond limit. I can’t believe they made Captain Boomerang so forgetful here when in animation he was so superbly sculpted. I can’t forget these memorable lines by Harley for him till date.

Anyone who throws boomerangs has some real issues letting go.

Slipknot is literally added just for one scene. Is he that expendable?

To put it out there candidly, you should watch the animation to witness how beautiful comic helming is done. To experience what the original Suicide Squad was capable of doing you must read the comic or watch the Batman: Assault on Arkham version.

Introduction to characters fell far away from the tree as well. It felt sped up as if you were playing some kind of game, and that time was the key factor. With such teensy moments to spare, there was a whole team to cover and it is understandable too. But really we needed some calm there too.

The Final Verdict

It goes without saying, DC has a lot of ground to cover. Whilst Suicide Squad might have come out a dud, it was entertaining nevertheless. In the end, we still wait with dilated eyes to see what DCEU has in store for us in future.

You can check out the trailer of Suicide Squad here: