The reasons why director Luc Besson chose to make “The Fifth Element” in 1997 over “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” are because he wasn’t ready to bring this comic book adaptation to life, and he didn’t really have the perfect tools for the job.
If you ask me: “The Fifth Element” is one of the many Sci-Fi guilty pleasures of any generation with its visual approach, sense of humor, and charming performance from Bruce Willis. But “Valerian” has only one charming performance from Dane DeHaan and some nice special effects, while the rest relies on an overdose of visuals and silliness. Hell, if it wasn’t for them, it would be “Jupiter Ascending” all over again.
The set-up involves how many ships from many races, consisting of humans, aliens, and robots (to be exact), which form together to form “Alpha 5,” “The City of a Thousand Planets.”
The story involves how human agents Valerian (DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) must dodge aliens in order to find aliens, who have taken their commander (Clive Owen). At least that’s how I can clarify the best I can. I’m not really sure if I did, but these aliens are actually a peaceful race, and the commander is a traitor.
DeHaan shines with the kind of Bruce Willis role, as he wants to marry his girlfriend Laureline. But Delevingne was totally annoying from beginning to end with her disposition and dialogue. This relationship is mixed.
The visuals are in the mixed process. There are some aliens who look real, like the ones in “Star Wars.” Rihanna plays a shape-shifting alien; she plays her human self, and then we see her as a cute alien. A desert-like planet requires helmets and goggles, which allow you to see an updated civilized version of it, but most of it looks like video game effects.
I’ve seen better Sci-Fi movies this summer like “Alien: Covenant,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” and “War for the Planet of the Apes,” so far, but “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” is not one of them. My guess is that the otherwise effective Luc Besson relied too much on the visual effects and not enough to clarify them and the story. Some fans of “The Fifth Element” may eat this material up, but a few others might be wondering what is it all about.