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M. Leary

Luc Besson Sci-Fi project

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Laureline was way better than Valerian, but Bubble was best.

And yes definitely made to see in theater. Truly an awe inspiring special effects experience.

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I would watch a movie centered on Bubble. 

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I loved this and found the experience incredibly moving.

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Posted (edited)

There is a scene in this movie in which

 

a character washes her face with pearls.

This is why CGI was invented. 

Edited by Mr. Arkadin

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Posted (edited)

I watched this (in 3D), and have some scattered thoughts:

  • Laureline (Cara Delevingne) is *much* more interesting than Valerian. Delevingne's performance holds their entire partnership together. I kept thinking how much better this would have been if Dane DeHaan's Valerian were portrayed by any of the Chris's: Pine, Evans, Pratt, or Hemsworth. Maybe Alden Ehrenreich or Tye Sheridan? Someone with an ounce of charm.
  • The use of CGI and 3D is phenomenal here, better than nearly anything I've seen before (maybe Avatar could challenge it). There are scenes accomplished in this film which simply aren't possible without CGI, and it genuinely looks good. Ryan pointed out one above; others include the two thrilling chase sequences (one in Big Market, the other on Alpha), which felt like Valerian running through various dimensions channeling the Mos Eisley cantina...only weirder and more wonderful.
  • I've seen criticisms of the narrative, that it doesn't make sense or it's simply not very strong or interesting. I don't see that. It's a fairly straight forward crime procedural--government agents searching for a Macguffin, a conspiracy behind it all, all set up in thrilling action sequences--only set in a wacky outer space context.
  • Rihanna's Bubble is wonderful, and while it feels strange to praise a somewhat tangential pole-dancing scene, Bubble's character and motivations feel unique and interesting within this world.
  • In final sequence, with Valerian's "I'm a soldier" speech and Laureline talking about love being risky and breaking all the rules--that whole bit of dialogue and performance was downright awful, like something totally out of left field for these characters. Absolutely nothing about Valerian says "I'm a rule-follower," and very little about Laureline says "I'm a hopeless romantic."
  • The opening sequence will likely be in my "Favorite Scenes from 2017" end-of-year list.
  • There's a very strange and confusing blend of conservative gender roles and marital expectations mixed in with progressive sexual ethics. The whole marriage proposal thing, the "playlist," Bubble's characterization, etc. It felt like Besson was attempting to critique sexism while nonetheless creating a fairly sexist film. Maybe that's a reflection of the source material? Eight hundred years into the future, and we apparently still haven't figured much out regarding romantic love and marriage.
Edited by Joel Mayward

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I kinda liked DeHaan in this part precisely *because* he's a really weird choice for it.

What would be a tediously typical "dumb-but-charming" part with a more conventional Hollywood leading man (ala Chris Pratt) becomes something kinda interesting to watch due to DeHaan's own peculiar energy.

I may write a full review of Valerian, so that's all I'll say about that for now.

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4 minutes ago, Mr. Arkadin said:

I kinda liked DeHaan in this part precisely *because* he's a really weird choice for it.

What would be a tediously typical "dumb-but-charming" part with a more conventional Hollywood leading man (ala Chris Pratt) becomes something kinda interesting to watch due to DeHaan's own peculiar energy.

Yeah, I'm getting a little weary of the triple-Chris shtick. It's cool to see someone less typical in this kind of role. 

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Dehaan is a great actor, I'm blaming the script for his characters lack of charm or anything. A hornier less funny or charming Han Solo. 

Yes that opening sequence was beautiful and so hopeful.

Nothing about the story itself was new, I think that's why I find it less interesting than the characters and effects. You're right it was a pretty straight forward story, but it didn't feel fresh. The effects felt fresh, and the characters like Laureline and Bubble felt fresh (especially Bubble).

 

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Regarding DeHaan, all I can imagine him in is the same aloof, brooding, dorky character he played in Chronicle...which is essentially the same character he played in The Place Beyond the Pines.

3 hours ago, Mr. Arkadin said:

What would be a tediously typical "dumb-but-charming" part with a more conventional Hollywood leading man (ala Chris Pratt) becomes something kinda interesting to watch due to DeHaan's own peculiar energy.

The performance is like watching a young, tired Leonardo DiCaprio channel Keanu Reeves. I suppose where y'all see "interesting" and "cool" I see "miscast."

Still, DeHaan aside, the whole spectacle is a visual smorgasbord.

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Joel Mayward wrote:
: Laureline (Cara Delevingne) is *much* more interesting than Valerian.

The credits mention that the film is based on a comic book called Valérian and Laureline, and I thought it was... interesting... that the comic was named after the man *and* the woman, but the movie is named only after the man.

: In final sequence, with Valerian's "I'm a soldier" speech and Laureline talking about love being risky and breaking all the rules--that whole bit of dialogue and performance was downright awful, like something totally out of left field for these characters.

Yeah, I still haven't decided whether that scene was better or worse than the Anne Hathaway "love" monologue in Interstellar.

Mr Arkadin wrote:
: What would be a tediously typical "dumb-but-charming" part with a more conventional Hollywood leading man (ala Chris Pratt) becomes something kinda interesting to watch due to DeHaan's own peculiar energy.

I'll second this.

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Peter T Chattaway said:

The credits mention that the film is based on a comic book called Valérian and Laureline, and I thought it was... interesting... that the comic was named after the man *and* the woman, but the movie is named only after the man.

The Wikipedia entry for the comic series may shed some light on the characterizations and gender portrayals in the film, if Besson stuck with the source material's themes:

Quote

The initial albums were generally straightforward good versus evil adventure stories. However, thanks to Pierre Christin's interests in politics, sociology andethnology, as the series progressed the situations typically arose from misunderstandings or ideological differences between various groups that could be resolved through reason and perseverance. The core theme of the stories is an optimistic liberal humanism: the adventures are not about defeating enemies but about exploring, facing challenges, and celebrating diversity.

Other themes include:

  • Natural simplicity as superior to technological complexity.
  • Rejection of machismo, violence and war in favour of femininity and nature.
  • Distrust of power and the suppression of individuality.
  • The ability of women to manipulate males sexually without being manipulated themselves.

Also, apparently time travel is a big thing for Valerian in the comic--Laureline is originally a peasant girl from 11th-century France. Imagine if time travel had been added to the narrative of this film somehow (it is already, sorta).

Edited by Joel Mayward

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Count me in as another fan. Definitely the highlight of this years summer releases.  I'm not a huge fan of 3D, but I happened to see this trailer in 3D when I saw Dr. Strange last year, and knew I'd be have to see it in that format. I was more impressed with the worlds created here, than I was with Avatar.

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So, I wrote a review. I'm mostly positive on this film, just not 4-star positive.

Also, I think the title of this thread should NOT be changed. Just keep it "Luc Besson Sci-Fi Project" because that's exactly what this is.

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On 7/28/2017 at 0:30 AM, Peter T Chattaway said:

: In final sequence, with Valerian's "I'm a soldier" speech and Laureline talking about love being risky and breaking all the rules--that whole bit of dialogue and performance was downright awful, like something totally out of left field for these characters.

Yeah, I still haven't decided whether that scene was better or worse than the Anne Hathaway "love" monologue in Interstellar.

Yeah, that's one of the few places where it briefly stalls, but Laureline's love monologue is easily better than Anne Hathaway's in Interstellar.

 

Anyway, I wrote a second short review detailing all the aspects that make it work so well for me.

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Evan, that's a wonderful, personal review. Y'all might convert me.

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