Saturday, August 12, 2017

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

I saw the trailer for the first time before watching Conan 21st movie in May and boy I was really impressed. The graphic looks gorgeous and the action scenes are exciting too. It is quite rare for me to feel that way as usually I am not too impressed for too much CGI. July came and unfortunately there were a lot of bad reviews: bad story, bad acting, etc. Not to mention that the number of screenings after the first week dropped quite a lot and I had difficulty to find a suitable timing as I wanted to utilise my free ticket. I finally managed to watch it today. I was prepared to be disappointed and I was watching for the sake of not letting my free ticket go to a waste.

Hey Valerian is actually not that bad and I left the cinema feeling quite happy. Perhaps because I had low expectations that it did not take a lot to exceed my expectations. I find the acting to be ok, not as bad as what people say.

The beginning sets up the movie pretty nicely as a science fiction that is still grounded on reality. The international space stations has grown big enough with more and more nations joining that the Mother Earth considers it a threat. For peace, it is decided that the space station to leave the earth gravity and to travel the universe. Fast forward a few hundreds to the future, other species (or aliens) join that the space station grows big enough to be called Alpha. 30 years ago, a war with an alien species resulted in destruction of Planet Mul. A group of survivor wants to re-create their planet and this puts them in conflict with Alpha to get the last surviving 'converter'.

The plot in the actual film is actually quite weak and is not as grand as it sounds in the synopsis. It is  a good and bad thing. The good is it is rather refreshing because the Planet Mul survivors are peace loving so the story does not go down to the usual war among the species. The bad is the lack of actual conflict making it rather boring. The 'antagonist' is not the usual evil power hungry human aiming for world domination. He just does what he thinks best for the human and the peace in Alpha although it is questionable to sacrifice a planet and its inhabitants.

The impressive graphics in the trailer is the best as it can get and in the film, they are only for the purpose of introducing how vast Alpha is. The futuristic space ships and control stations in Alpha is nicely contrasted with the natural paradise-like Planet Mul and the barren Planet Kyrian. Action scenes, other than the one at Planet Kyrian, is just like any other normal action scenes with guns. I find it a huge loss that despite boasting so many different species, the focus in this movie is just humans. Bleah.. There will be so much room for amazement if the aliens are also involved. Oh ya, I find Rihanna's dancing is a bit random too lol.

Apparently this is based on a French comic book series from the 60s titled Valerian and Laureline. I guess that explains the direction where the plot is going. If this is from America, there will not be peace loving Planet Mul inhabitants. Lol. They will be all out for revenge and the humans will be the evil race who wants to rule all the other species. No doubt it will be more appealing in terms of story lol.

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