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A Film Diary

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Watched: 1 December

Perhaps best described as 2017’s Jupiter Ascending, in the sense that it’s an expensively-made, camp, world-building sci-fi made by a filmmaker whose most successful days, it would seem, were being enjoyed around twenty years ago. On the one hand Luc Besson’s Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets presents an impressive collection of visual effects – close to 2,800 separate shots in total – and that melange of digital jiggery-pokery means you get to gawp for two hours at a huge amount of weird and wonderful alien creations, spaceships and locations in this film (an intergalactic buddy-cop-space-opera-romance based on a French graphic novel). On the other hand, though, during the same period you’ve got to endure all of the uninspiring and mind-numbing dialogue, rote human characters and charmless central performances, with Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne and Clive Owen trying to out-do one another in the sullen and boring stakes (though, by contrast, there are at least brief bursts of energy and life courtesy of Rihanna and Ethan Hawke). I mean, it’s as colourful and fast-paced and action-filled and thrillingly throwaway as you’d expect a $200m sci-fi from Besson to be, and it includes typically leftfield stuntcasting (Herbie Hancock as the universe’s Minister of Defence!), but as that suggests it’s very much style over substance, and despite all the whizz-bang-pow I found myself losing interest rapidly during the second half. For all its faults, The Fifth Element was never dull; by contrast, Valerian drags. (**½)

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  1. January 10, 2018

    Oh man I couldn’t stand this thing. I had such a hard time making it through it. For all the visual eye candy there was so much more I didn’t like. Yes, it did drag and I couldn’t help but laugh at what ever Dane was doing with his voice. Sounded like Keanu Reeves from Point Break!

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