My wife had been waiting to see this movie for a few months, so we went to go see it opening night. I didn’t have many expectation at first, but was more excited when I saw it was directed by Luc Besson (who also directed The 5th Element, which is one of my all time favorite sci-fi movies).
Going into the movie, my wife and I agreed that it was likely to be like Jupiter Ascending, a visually stunning movie with a mediocre plot, and we were pretty much spot on. The visuals are absolutely fantastic. The variety of alien species is enormous, the action scenes are fast paced and beautiful. From a visual effects standpoint, this movie is awesome. It’s an effects driven movie, and it works really well.
The two main characters, Valerian and Laureline, have an odd relationship that’s hard to define. Throughout the movie there’s almost no character development. They stay the same pretty much through the whole film. I felt like they would have made a lot more sense if I knew the comics. That was the biggest problem I had with the film. There’s almost no context given for the characters. They don’t get any background or growth. They’re just two static characters that are working their way through the current situation.
Story wise, it’s not bad. The movie begins with the characters just about to enter a mission, so the audience is dropped right into the story. It takes a little time to figure things out, and there’s not a lot of exposition along the way. There were some confusing moments, and likely a few plot-holes I didn’t notice, but by the end of the movie pretty much everything is explained. I didn’t see many loose threads.
Valerian is just a fun movie. It doesn’t try too hard or push any boundaries, but it was a great way to spend an evening.