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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:

 

The Magnificent Seven Review (2016) | Mediocre and Empty

The Magnificent Seven is a stale tale left on the mercy of gun-power to prop it. We have seen so many cowboy movies hitherto that if there isn’t something new to it, it becomes an instant bore. The Magnificent Seven is no different. However, the movie isn’t exactly bad either. It hangs around in its mediocrity. Alas! it goes nowhere.

The Magnificent Seven is a remake of the 1960 movie of the same name. However it has nothing new to offer, not even an angle or a culmination point. What it offers is even a washed down version of itself. This new version is like a child’s whim where he is trying to create a story to shoot thousands of hooligans. I am afraid, it is almost as if Antoine Fuqua decided to round up everybody just to shoot ‘em up.

ABOUT ALL THE FIGHTING

There aren’t any dope shots that are going to pop your eyes out. It doesn’t have proper gore either, that could have at least piqued the interest of gore lovers. Not even a clichéd hand to hand combat with the boss. Everything is done by the book. The book here is a gun of course.

There are some crazy hits in the movie nevertheless that are going to leave your jaws wide open. The time when the Gatling gun is brought in, it will have you biting your fingernails. Billy Rocks played by Byung-hun Lee is a complete badass. His swift knife movements are the ones to watch out for.

UNFEELING DRAMA

The Magnificent Seven lacks a proper melodrama for you to actually stop and care for the fallen. You don’t feel sorry for the villagers at all. Drama isn’t dramatic that gnaws away the element of pain from it. Emma Cullen played by Haley Bennett goes nowhere when you give her dialogues like these:

I seek righteousness. But I will take revenge.

still of haley bennett as Emma Cullen in The Magnificent Seven movie

Screenplay reeks purely with witty and cheesy lines that mostly come from The World’s Greatest Lover Josh Faraday played convincingly well by Chris Pratt, whose love making we don’t get to see, so it ends up becoming a mere assertion. Even though the screenplay comes from the likes of Nic Pizzolatto, we don’t end up with anything profound to chew upon. It is one of those factors that take its levels of spectacle down a notch.

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT: THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN

Peter Saarsgard as Bartholomew Bogue looks very promising as the villain of the Magnificent Seven, when he starts off with the role. Unfortunately with no substance to back him up, he goes down in an instant. Eventually, as the movie tries to reach that final face-off he lets us down again. All that perversion that he carried throughout goes in a whiff, against the fury of Chisolm, the bounty hunter played by badassery of Denzel Washington. Bogue becomes a villain you forget the moment you leave the theatre.

still of Vincent D'onofrio as Jack Horne in the Magnificent Seven movie

I love how Vincent D’Onofrio does experiments on himself. This time he creates something different altogether, with that wheezing and breaking voice of his. It becomes hard to tell if Vincent is behind all that flab.

Denzel’s character stays extraordinary too with his heroic demeanor. Chris Pratt brings in that element of fun to the movie. Ethan Hawke is good but he carries a jaded plot that washes him down. He goes away only to return again without expanding on his sub-plot. Well, Billy Rocks!

Vasquez played by Manuel Garcia-Rulfo though no doubt confident, ends up becoming the least impact maker. It is like he was chosen just for the odd pairing. Martin Sensmeier‘s Red Harvest is well, red.

LAST KNOWN FILM SCORE OF JAMES HORNER

The music of The Magnificent Seven will remain the last known work of the legendary James Horner. The legend died in an unfortunate plane crash last year. His music however still lives on and will forever.

With inputs and arrangements by Simon Franglen, the music of The Magnificent Seven stays top-notch throughout. It skips well over the strings of that cowboyish theme, trying its level best to bring the flick to its proper course.

You can preorder the movie here:

THE FINAL VERDICT

I really think it could have been better if there was an unseen card lurking somewhere in the pockets of the director. Or even awe-inspiring theatrics to balance the theme would have done justice. But alas! The Magnificent Seven had none.

You can check out the trailer of The Magnificent Seven 2016 here: