<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Luc Besson. Starring Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, Herbie Hancock, Rutger Hauer, Kris Wu
Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes
The very bad trailer told us this was going to be lots of bubble gum CGI and nothing else. And it was right.
Taking the story of an obscure French comic book titled ‘Valerian and Lauraline’ Luc Besson fashions a mashup of Avatar, Star Wars and Spy Kids without managing to include any of the good parts of those films. Taking male chauvinism to a new high, he even eradicated the female hero from the now unwieldy title of the film. And that’s a shame, because Lauraline (Cara Delevingne) is actually a lead character far more interesting than her ‘sleep-deprived’ male counterpart. I’m not a fan of Dane DeHaan as an actor. I find him irritating to look at and he really needs to do something about the bags under his eyes!
So we’re in the future and there’s a planet that is just as serene as the one in Avatar so naturally human beings end up destroying it and turning these Avatar brothers and sisters into nomads who must find the last hope to recreate a new home for themselves. A part of that salvation is in the hands of the humans, who have put agents Valerian (DeHaan) and Lauraline (Delevingne) in charge of guarding it and assisting the Commander (Clive Owen) to do something or the other. The entire film is spent running around interacting with weird CGI characters.
It looks like a slightly grown up version of Spy Kids. I can’t stand the sight of watching diminutive children acting like they’re adults. It was terrible in Ender’s Game (also a flop film) and it’s terrible here as well. Dane DeHaan is vapid, charmless, creepy and humourless. Cara Delevingne looks far more mature and powerful as a character than he does. Clive Owen looks ridiculous. Only Rihanna manages to bring some class and fun to the film in her extended cameo. She’s ravishing, tantalising and divine.
The ‘pearl’ aliens look like a copy of the Na’vi from Avatar, the agent’s ship looks like a knock off of the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars and a lot of the aliens and robots look derivative.