Dane DeHaan in Luc Besson's "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets." (EuropaCorp/STX Entertainment, 2017) Film review: French comic movie “Valerian” is another Luc Besson winner July 28, 2017 0 Comments Share tweet I must admit I didn’t exactly have high expectations for a film based on a 1960s French comic, but “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” smashed all my preconceptions. The film, the second joint project between director Luc Besson and legendary comic artist Jean-Claude Mézières (whose work inspired Star Wars) manages to capture ... Review Overview Stars Rating 80 80 Derian Lance By: Derian Lance Dane DeHaan in Luc Besson’s “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” (Courtesy of EuropaCorp/STX Entertainment). I must admit I didn’t exactly have high expectations for a film based on a 1960s French comic, but “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” smashed all my preconceptions. The film, the second joint project between director Luc Besson and legendary comic artist Jean-Claude Mézières (whose work inspired Star Wars) manages to capture that same spirit of optimism and whimsy that was found in “The Fifth Element” (their first collaboration). The film is fun, awe inspiring and at times even touching. The film opens with an incredible opening sequence that chronicles the creation of the space station Alpha. Set to David Bowie’s classic chart topper “Space Oddity,” the opening shows shots of unity and cooperation between all of Earth’s peoples, and eventually the peaceful discovery of alien life. The following montage of handshakes between the incoming extraterrestrial life and the welcoming humans is wonderfully optimistic, especially in this era of gritty sci-fi. The film then jumps to the Planet Mull, where the overarching plot begins, and finally to our protagonists, Major Valerian and Sergeant Laureline of the United Human Federation. What follows is a fast paced plot of conspiracies, intrigue, and romance that manages to be compelling and yet at the same time slightly too long. No scene is un-engaging, yet at points it feels like there may be too many scenes. Still, the film manages to shape up by the second act and is completely coherent by the last act. The film ends in a message of hope, trust and love that is as cheesy as it is heartwarming. The cast of the film is unexpectedly great at their roles. Few would expect Dane DeHaan (most famous for his role as villainous Andrew Detmer in Max Landis’s “Chronicle”) to be a suitable leading man, but the man brings a certain cocky coolness that lends himself to Major Valerian. His bemused Devil-May-Cry mixed with a cold military brutality brings to mind a 90s Bruce Willis. Valerian’s partner Laureline is played by the equally skilled Cara Delevingne. Delevingne performs wonderfully as a counterpoint to Dehaan, being both more professional and more passionate than the titular major. The duo is joined by a cast of side characters, played by the likes of Ethan Hunt, Herbie Hancock and Kris Wu. But the surprise hit of the cast is Rihanna, who plays a shapeshifting alien by the name of Bubble. Rihanna brings a surprising amount of heart and humor to the film, a surprise to any saw her “performance” in Battleship. In addition. she does a cabaret performance that, while at best tangentially related to the plot, is very enjoyable to watch as well as impressive. Besson’s latest film builds off the best aspects of The Fifth Element, but for those that dislike a film that focuses on fun instead of consistency there’s not much to be seen here. To those that are willing to suspend their disbelief, you’ll find an enjoyable movie made with passion and love. Contact Derian Lance at derianlance ‘at’ gmail.com. Dane DeHaan Luc Besson The Fifth Element Valerian 2017-07-28 Derian Lance July 28, 2017 0 Comments Share tweet Subscribe Click here to subscribe to our daily newsletter of top headlines.