Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Overall:  Visually entertaining, poignant message and fun to watch.

The “setup” I thought was a bit weak when there’s an explanation as to how and why this very large spaceship/planet/thingy named Alpha become home to species from a thousand planets. However, getting past this we are introduced to Major Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Sergeant Laureline (Cara Delevingne) who work for the government of Alpha. Therefore, the best interests of the government, not any particular species is their focus.

The film also documents, at the beginning, the destruction of planet Mul, which was occupied by highly evolved and functioning humanoids that focused on giving back what it receives.

The Defense Minister (Herbie Handcock) instructs Valerian and Laureline to guard Commander Arun Filitt (Clive Owen) because the Commander warns that the ship has an expanding radioactive bubble in the middle of the ship and they cannot figure out what it is or why it's there . Unfortunately for the film, Filitt acts in such a way that he gives it away that he’s implicated in this radioactive bubble. This could be because of the way the character was written or because Owen often plays this type of double crossing character.

Valerian and Laureline are also sent to find the “converter” which replicates items it ingests. It is a survivor from the planet Mul and really belongs to the remaining humanoids as part of their way of life. They also find a pearl which was used by the Mul members to feed the converter and then the planet itself.

Filitt is then abducted and Valerian must search the ship to find him discovers that the “radioactive” menace in the core of the ship is not what they think it is. As they figure out what really happened to Mul and why Filitt is implicated, Laureline convinces Valerian to give the converter and pearl to the rightful owners, allowing them to restart their nirvanic race. It is hard for the major to break his dutiful role and use love as the answer.

DeHann was good and embodied the youthful character required to make this film work. Delevingne was, to me, the star of the film. Her wide-eyed soulful intelligence worked and made the film complete. Owen was, and is always, good as a self-righteous villain. Rihanna was very strong as Bubble. Ethan Hawke was wonderful as Jolly the Pimp. Hancock was OK in a pivotal but distant role. Luc Beeson wrote the screenplay as well as directed this film. It was a visual extravaganza and this made it worth watching.

Overall:  The film’s visuals,  Delevingne and DeHann are what kept me watching this film with interest.