Valerian and the City of Thousand Planets (2017): Give me More Rihanna’s Burlesque Dance!

Directed by: Luc Besson | Produced by: Luc Besson, Virginie Besson-Silla | Screenplay by: Luc Besson | Starring: Dane deHaan, Cara Delevigne, Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke | Music by: Alexander Desplat | Cinematography by: Thierry Arbogast |  Edited by: Julian Rey | Production Company: Europa Corp., Fundamental Film, BNP Paribas Fortis Film Finance, Universum Film, Gulf Film, River Road Entertainment, Belga Films | Distributed by: STX Entertainment, Europa Corp. | Official Site

5.6/10

When this movie enters Indonesian cinema on early August 2017, a bit late compares to other countries, I officially doubt this movie would be exceptional thanks to their soulless trailer. The only scene that captures my eyes is that scene with Rihanna in it. After I watched this, I’m 100% convinced that Rihanna’s scene is the best part of this 140 mins long movies.

Valerian and the City of Thousand Planets is based on French comic Valerian and Laureline by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mezieres. The movie surrounds itself of the space adventures of Special Agents Major Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and his assistant slash love interest Sergeant Laureline (Cara Delevingne). They were assigned to take a mysterious pearl from the black market, along with a cute mix between hedgehog and armadillo creature called The Converter. Once they arrive on Alpha, the titular City of Thousand Planets, they were attacked by mysterious squad that kidnap Commander Arun Fillit (Clive Owen). On their journey to save the commander, Valerian and Laureline learn the mystery that happened 30 years ago, on the genocidal attack of the Planet of Mul.

So that were the synopsis I wrote after reading Wikipedia, thanks to the movie confusing plot. This movie is a real mess. If you ever saw Besson’s other movies like The Fifth Element (1997) and Lucy (2014), please forget it first and expect nothing from Valerian. It seems like Besson opened The Avatar (2009)’s Pandora Box and put it all in this movie. They invested so much money in CGI and forget to develop a proper plot Valerian deserved. I can picture the movie like playing Subway Surfer or Temple Run on what supposed to be City of Thousand Planets: you jump there and here, roll and avoid any obstacles. The different is: you cannot remember what you run after, or why you chase it. The movie is full of such useless side plots like Valerian saves Laureline and Laurelin saves Valerian, until I forget what is the movie’s main story. 

Cameo comes after another cameo is giving another color to this movie, and fulfill the element of surprise with Ethan Hawke plays a brothel businessman, Herbie Hancock as the minister, and finally Rihanna as the shapeshifter performer Bubble. Seriously, Rihanna’s Burlesque Dance is the only scene you should watch in thi movie, while you can sleep over other scenes. With her sexiness, from Egyptian Queen until seductive Catwoman, Rihanna gives us the joy we hardly found in thi psychedelic movie.

The other elements are no helping too. Dane DeHaan looks like he keeps on mimicking Harrison Ford while sounding like Keanu Reeves. And it completely failed. While Besson’s movie used to need a bigger charisma like Bruce Willis, DeHaan is failed to deliver the charisma he needs to maintain the movie’s whole emotion. Cara Delevingne is not better either, though she fills the character interestingly nice compares to DeHaan. It seems like she forgot that acting is more than just showing us her smirk and raising up one of her iconic eyebrows. Their should-be-emotional scenes didn’t work out right too, and just ended up felt cheesy.

This movie is PG-13, so please be a smart parent with advising your children on watching. 

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