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Rated 3.15 stars
by 74 people

ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Mind Blown
by Richard Jack Smith

Surrender to the temptations behind Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Every cent in the $200 million budget ended up on screen. More importantly, imagination joins the package as director Luc Besson makes the greatest film possible.   

I believe movie-goers crave something that stimulates the mind as much as the pulse. In Dane DeHaan’s Valerian and Cara Delevingne’s Laureline, we are presented with two protagonists whose brains equal their bravery. Also, their buddy chemistry cannot shield nor conceal the mutual attraction afoot. Likewise, the banter becomes a conduit allowing plot and emotion to co-exist. These are not empty vessels sitting around while the visual effects bear the heavy load. Like Besson’s direction on Leon and Lucy, there’s more to the tagline than meets the eye.

In Hollywood, the main requirement for good editing might be style. Regardless of fast cuts or long takes, content has departed from all but a few dedicated souls. Next to them, Julien Rey’s seamless work champions creativity, so we can experience time in a new dimension. Exposition -- which can blunt an otherwise sharp premise -- serves Rey well here. He listens and the film utters volumes.

Although Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets didn’t light up the box office, it’s a blessed production in other ways. From beginning to end, there’s never a reason to halt and question what we see. A masterful flow is empowered by the most wonderful score from Alexandre Desplat. Forgiving one minor reference to Danny Elfman’s Men in Black, Desplat contributes seminal currency. I reckon he’ll be banking on our continued involvement for many generations to come.

The best actors use their eyes to convey information a screenwriter would have trouble verbalising. Such a gift belongs to Cara Delevingne because her talents surpass mere novelty. Also, she leaves editor Julien Rey plenty of room to discover and fine-tune these visual touches. As a result, her silent movie charisma carries more than surface beauty.

With Dane DeHaan, a different set of dynamics can be found. Throughout the story, he made me laugh and this level of participation felt singular. Why? Because nobody else giggled at all. Nevertheless, such attempts to win the girl can only encourage numerous replays.

I might be too close to the wishing well but recognition in any of the following Oscar categories would be lovely: Best Picture, Director, Cinematography, Film Editing, Original Score, Visual Effects, Production Design, Sound Editing and Costume Design.

Time for a rhyme:

Just when our hopes were shrinking

A genre film empowers thinking.

Solid feminine star

Cara Delevingne raises the bar.


Dane DeHaan, what an engaging chap!

Charts faith off the map.

Creatures exist on purity of life

Unaware of conflict and strife.


Valerian seeks Laureline to wed

She’s savvy, knowing others share his bed.

True love means making the right choice

Not always favouring the Rolls Royce.


A film with the right casting

Sure to prove everlasting.

Perched on cameo tower

You might find Rutger Hauer.


Take a trip on Paradise Alley

Many sights including Sidewalk Sally.

An amusing turn by Ethan Hawke

The man likes to deal and talk.


Rihanna the scene-stealing queen

While dancing and morphing, we remain keen.

A show to open the eyes

Sit there and let it tantalize.

(Released by STX Entertainment and rated "PG-13" for violence and action, suggestive material and brief language.)

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