The Movie: 6.5/10
I cannot tell a lie, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets didn’t pack enough OOMPH to get a better score from me for 1 reason, and if you listen to our podcast you’ll know what I’m saying when I explain it. My reason is this, it didn’t commit to being one specific type of movie. It’s got goofy elements, and violence, and darkness, and big SCIENCE FICTION, and a touch of romance (but it tries not to), mixed with trying to hand us some big moral tale, but nothing stands out that defines the whole of it’s parts. If the goofiness had been the theme, that’s fine. I can handle that. If they wanted to make it a more gritty flick with the darkness and the awful things being the vibe of this universe, fine. If they wanted to be full on big SCI FI and just throw everything else aside, all the better. The problems lie in the details for me.
First the main characters are not very interesting. Valerian is kind of blah, yes, blah. I don’t believe he’s a seasoned General of anything and his approach is too silly, even when he tries to be serious, it doesn’t work. His second in command teeters between being to cutesy and too tough or hardened but not really, and then she’s just girly and not in the way that makes her a balanced character, more like the director let her get away with not focusing on who this woman really is. All this means I was not on board with whatever their mission was, big or small. I was not concerned for their welfare or their success.
Next there is the world, an amazing visual feast, yes, but most of the time it just sped past and I never felt I was really understanding the world as it is portrayed in 500 or so years. I want more interaction with the changes, not just foot races through alleys, even if they are from one dimension to another. It got a bit boring in that arena, the chases…..ugh. I get it, we need to have action, so when you do the action, give me a spectacle of what is going on in the world around the action.
Finally the story, it’s not that interesting. Let’s face it, we have told most stories by now in the human world. Bad guys, good guys, don’t blow up whole planets, and don’t enslave species who are weaker or more easily taken advantage of you….that’s it. We have a world that was destroyed and the quest for revenge and to expose the injustice. I get it, it’s a good kind of story and has a great moral tale attached, it’s just that with all the other mish-mash attempts at making this movie captivating, it falls through the cracks.
I wanted to LOVE this movie, and to be honest I do love the experience of the future and the vision of the writer / director. The 5th Element is one of my favorite all time movies! Valerian was just a fun couple of hours and through it all I just craved more of a commitment to something, either to the more wacky style like 5th Element, or to a more gritty gutsy flick but with spectacular visual candy to enjoy along the way. Rihanna’s performance and character was my favorite part of it all. I could have watched a whole movie about her. Yes, let’s do that one next:)
- Valerian: Enhancement Mode – Remember Warners Maximum movie mode, this is basically that but many years later.
- Citizens Of Imagination: Creating The Universe Of Valerian (60 Minutes) – A very nice making of that spans every detail of the creation of the film. Lots of onset with Luc Besson here for mega fans.
- Enhancement Pods – The Enhancement mode featurettes to play separately.
- The Art Of Valerian – Still images from the film.
- 4K UHD, Blu-ray & UV Digital Copy
Cover Art and Menus: /10
No, I wouldn’t have this as a poster. It’s underselling the one thing that’s really awesome about this movie, and that’s the vision of the future.
Audio & Video: 9/10
Valerian is presented on 4KUHD and Blu-ray courtesy of Lionsgate. The AVC encoded 4k and 1080P transfer are shot in 2.39:1 aspect ratio and are a treat for fans of amazing looking visuals. If I had a complaint I would say the transfer is a little bit too sharp which makes some of the green screen used really stand out. Detail is amazing though with fine lines on faces and great flesh tones and inky blacks. Valerian fans will not be disappointed with the 4k or 1080P versions of the movie.
Dolby Atmos features on both discs and is pretty much standout material for showing off the new format. Listen whenever Alex speaks inside the spacecraft and you will be treated to a surround effect unlike no other. LFE is forceful at times and dialog is central and always prioritized.
Overall Score 6.5/10