I first came across Valerian when I was obsessively watching trailers for the Blade Runner sequel. As Valerian had more colour and a lack of Ryan Gosling, I found myself all the more excited for Valerian, so when the reviews started rolling in with fairly negative headlines I was distraught. Until one review (I can’t recall which) said it was in the same terrible league as Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow… which I loved. Undeterred, I went to see Valerian and it was everything I wanted it to be.
Valerian probably won’t win any Oscars, but frankly the Oscars are wrong – but that’s another blog post. Valerian follows the title character and his partner Lauraline who find themselves in the deep-end of a military conspiracy that takes them travelling through Alpha, otherwise known as The City of a Thousand Planets. Alpha’s genesis is shown in the opening sequence of the film, which, frankly, is a work of art and should excuse the awkward, forced will-they-won’t-they plot line, and cringe-worthy dialogue that it preceded.
Despite the forced romantic plot line and the at times off-kilter dialogue, Valerian was incredibly fun to watch. It was a visual feast (excuse the cliché) but the plethora of alien life and the market in another dimension really allowed for something beautiful to look at. Speaking of beauty, I was almost sure that Rihanna’s cameo would be a brief, fan-service ploy to draw in fans and over-excited teen boys. And I regret thinking that, because Rihanna was really the highlight of the film for me, she had more character development in a few scenes than Valerian and Lauraline had in the whole film and she was incredible. I wasn’t a huge fan of the casting otherwise, but eventually warmed to it.
I won’t lie to you, whoever you may be, I saw this film twice. Anyone who likes SF should watch Valerian, like I said it won’t win any awards, but it was so much fun.