Like Tarantino, Luc Besson is perhaps one of the few true auteurs of mainstream cinema today, although it's a subject that can be debated over and over. Some of Besson's films do fail to hit the mark - look at the likes of Lucy, how the Transporter series has been driven into the ground, and maybe Liam Neeson was Taken a one too many times - but Besson is also responsible for some the most ambitious, creative and visually stunning, and engaging pieces of cinema in history. Being the man behind Leon (1994) (writer), Taxi (1998), District B13 (2004) (producer) and of course the Sci Fi classic The Fifth Element (1997) (director), he returns with the equally aesthetic Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.
Based on the 1960’s French comic book that inspired Star Wars, Valerian stars Dane DeHaan (The Amazing Spider-Man 2) and Cara Delevingne (Suicide Squad) as Major Valerian and Sergeant Laureline respectively. The two special operatives are assigned with investigating a threat to Alpha, also known as the city of a thousand planets, after recovering an object of great value to the Federations. It is left to these two agents to identify this strange threat and stop it before it destroys the huge network of space stations and the millions of species that inhabit them.
The result is a rollercoaster of a movie that perhaps leaves more questions than answers. Besson definitely delivers a rich universe, supported by some great musical set pieces, one of which includes a burlesque style performance from an impressive Rhianna playing Bubble. Intertwined with this are some clever action sequences, accompanied with stylish cinematography as well as a host of colourful characters, who bring elements of comedy, and possibly cheesiness which is commonly found in Besson’s work.
This film should be viewed as a fun Sci Fi action/adventure movie, with highlights being the great soundtrack, goofy characters, a great performance from Cara Delevingne and of course the eye catchingly brilliant special effects. Valerian proves that Besson is still an auteur in his own right and capable of producing some of the best looking scenes on the big screen today.
Book your ticket to Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets here.