What absolutely works with Valerian is it’s ability to ground the foundation of how Alpha originated to be and the visuals in creating the world’s and cultures of the aliens featured in the film. Luc Besson’s imagination to bring the visual language from the French graphic novel to the screen really shows his passion for the project and his ability to do the world building that is integral to a movies believability and its poise for future installments.
Though this film does have its challenges with a weak script, it doesn’t have as much depth as it could have been. It felt very much like Avatar with its message being the focus of the film rather than having the plot be the focus. I do appreciate the message that it does present as an overall film. Working together and moving forward are great points to focus on as a society. The plot felt very mission focused to where there were just events happening to move the plot that were thin challenges to pad the runtime rather than tell a larger story.
Rules are rules and this is a place where we make love, not war.
Cara Delevingne and Dane DeHaan are solid actors but their chemistry isn’t as strong as it could have been. If the script had been stronger I would say that would have helped but they did the best that they could with the given material. Visually they both looked great. The costume design and the creature design were perfectly executed. One of Luc Besson’s strengths is world building — and he does that in spades. The visual effects are definitely worthy of being nominated for several awards and should be seen on the big screen.
Though the cons are outweighed by the positives about the film. It does feel like you’re reading the graphic novel — I just wish that the mystery presented in the film had been the focus of the marketing rather than the visuals and the fact it was another film from Luc Besson. I would definitely say this is better than “Lucy” but not a classic as compared to “The Fifth Element.”