The Fifth Element is one of my favourite films of all time. So, it’s no surprise that I was excited to see Valerian, not only because of the cool visuals shown in the trailer but also because of the creativity of the concept of a city made up of a thousand planets.
However, these two elements were basically the only two things that I enjoyed about the film. Yes, it was very pretty – Wes Anderson on steroids is a phrase that seems fitting. Yes, there were some cool interesting concepts here and there – like the online market in the middle of a desert. Yes, Rihanna playing a shape-shifting prostitute was very entertaining. But sometimes a film needs more than pretty colours, people and sci fi concepts. For example – an acting class or two would not have gone awry for either of the leads.
The plot of the film was jarring and off-putting – whenever the two leads weren’t shooting at animated villains, they seemed to communicate entirely in cliches. For example, within the first five minutes of the film, viewers will witness the lovely “My heart will belong to you and no-one else.” to which Laureline responds “You’re scared of commitment.”
The film itself seems scared of commitment – jumping from scene to scene without allowing the viewer enough time to understand the plot, get to know the characters or attempt to invest at all in their Lifeline-like attempt at romance.