Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets review roundup: Mixed reactions to Cara Delevingne's film
The film adaptation of the French comic Valerian et Laureline stars Dane DeHaan as the adventurer Valerian and Cara Delevingne as his partner Laureline, who find themselves on an enormous space station called Alpha, home to thousands of species.
The film opens on 21 July opposite Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk, and will test the power of the comic book's fan base.
Will Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets leave an impact on the audience?
Here's a roundup of the reviews:
Todd McCarthy, the critic for The Hollywood Reporter had the most acerbic things to say, "The Razzies don't need to wait until the end of the year to anoint a winner for 2017. The Golden Turkey Awards should be republished with a new cover. Euro-trash is back, while sci-fi will need to lick its wounds for a while. Dane DeHaan, who has starred in two of the most egregiously bloated misfires of the year with A Cure for Wellness and now this, should do a couple of indie films, while Cara Delevingne needs to learn there is more to acting than smirking and eye-rolling. Rihanna should pretend this never happened."
New York Daily News's Stephen Whitty didn't like the film as well but acknowledged the cool vfx. He writes, "[T]he movie itself is a big, black hole. The movie is its own empty rocket ship, piloted by a giddy teenage boy and a crew of two sullen children, slowly creeping its way toward airless oblivion. It never stops for a minute, yet it never goes anywhere."
Entertainment Weekly’s Chris Nashawaty's said, "Valerian and Besson strain so hard to sizzle your retinas and knock you out with the film’s oddness that it eventually becomes numbing — and then just exhausting. By the time Rihanna shows up as a shape-shifting cabaret entertainer and blows through a string of guises (roller-disco chanteuse, pole-dancing seductress, kitten-with-a-whip French maid), the whole thing just feels like a random WTF mess. Still, you have to give Besson credit for not playing it safe. He at least swings for the fences and doesn’t spoon-feed you the same old sci-fi clichés."
But Variety loved the film, "Even Besson, who convinced the world that Milla Jovovich could act (in The Fifth Element), can’t salvage Rihanna’s awkward line readings — unless that’s the effect this sophisticated, Shakespeare-trained glampod is going for. But that’s a small hiccup considering what the director gets from Delevingne: She doesn’t just save Alpha; she saves the movie as well. And though audiences may not be clamoring for a “Valerian” sequel after this, another “Laureline” adventure would be most welcome."
Forbes was also impressed with the film and compared the film to Star Wars (?!) and Guardians of the Galaxy. The critic goes so far as to call the film 'a dazzling delight.'
Cinemablend felt that "It's visually stunning, beautifully prescient in its humanist themes, and while its reach doesn't match its grasp in some respects, you're still left respecting the hell out of the reach alone."