Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets ★★★★

Dane DeHaan is horribly miscast in this, and I think I loved it. He is explicitly referred to in the dialogue as a "bad boy" and a "lady-killer," neither of which are terms I'd ever conjure up to describe him. It's a little weird at first, and the non-stop, cringe-inducing dialogue does not make it any better, but I found myself on the edge of my seat watching this man navigate this bizarre, ill-fitting role. He exudes such confidence with his every move and curl of his lips that he somehow owns the strange casting choice and becomes, in my eyes, totally believable. Cara Delevingne is also in this movie.

But really, what a trip. As I previously mentioned, the dialogue is odd, but a lot of it manages to be pretty entertaining. There's a Star Wars esque sense of humor here, and while this film overall isn't quite on that level, I'd argue that the world-building is almost there. I typically prefer character driven narratives, but the universe of Valerian was just amazing. Each frame is full of colors and vivid details, and the way the camera moves through it all is just as brilliant. It doesn't succeed at pulling any heartstrings, but the action sequences were surprisingly tense. I'm not sure anything here has never been done before, but seeing it all together like this was fully captivating. It's easily one of the most vibrant and alive films I've seen in a while, even if that comes at the cost of being slightly incoherent. I've read 2-star reviews of this film and fully agree with everything they claim -- I won't say that it's a good story, or even an original one. However, I was fully engaged from start to finish, and I enjoyed it throughout. For me, that's worth a good rating. 

There are countless fantastic and imaginative visuals here, but none of them will ever be as magical as the scene in Kill Your Darlings where Dane DeHaan sucks on Daniel Radcliffe's fingers. Now that was breathtaking cinema. 

Rating: 72/100

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