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Review – Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets 

What’s this?

After many apparent hesitations, director Luc Besson and his wife decided to write an English-language French science fiction action-adventure film titled Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. It is based on the French comic series Valérian and Laureline. I am not familiar with the comics but in the past couple of months, I have admired the trailers from a visual standpoint. Then again, the movie did have a budget of 197 million Euros, so it should look mightily impressive. The movie has nowhere near matched the budget in the box office, and it is the most expensive European and independent film ever made. Ouch. I would hate to deliver that news to the board.

What’s it about?

Close your eyes for a minute and imagine a space station. Wait, this will not work. Instead, clear your mind for a minute and imagine a space station in 2020. Then years later, leading countries of the world attach their station to this one. Then many years later, other species from different planets send their station to join in on the action. This continues to happen until the 28th century. We now have one large planet made of cities (named Alpha) with a multitude of peace agreements. Still with me? Good. Now, imagine a planet far away with pale looking, peace loving Avatars, who are living in harmony amongst powerful energy-containing pearls, in a tropical paradise. All of a sudden, huge ships crash into their planet and they are wiped out. Lead male character Valerian wakes up. He just had a dream about this decimated planet and he is about to embark on a mission with Laureline ordered by his commander to retrieve a converter. They are later told that Alpha is infected by an unknown force and they must investigate and protect the Commander, suspiciously performed by Clive Owen.

Can you see why I told you to close your eyes? This narrative has so many obstacles to jump around that, at times, it felt mentally challenging.

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