WARNING: This reviewer is not a consumer of comic books/graphic novels. Any inconsistencies with the these works will not be addressed here. It only reflects the film as a standalone work.
From Luc Besson, Valerian promised to be the most visually stunning CGI film since Avatar, and it delivers on that promise.
The premise is an intriguing one, founded in reality - that the International Space Station is built upon time after time until it becomes so big it has to be jettisoned from our atmosphere and set off into space, becoming a planet known as Alpha. This happens with a montage over a believable timescale, so that the work's protagonists and world feel far off, rather than just around the corner. (A back-firing trick from Back To The Future that recently had us all cussing scientists everywhere and asking where our hoverboards were.)
The film centres on Major Valerian and his partner Sergeant Laureline. As well as being 'space buddies' stuck on a ship with Alex the AI for company, they also have a relationship, which evolves throughout the film, running as bumpily as true love's course should. Valerian plays something of a bad boy, having a 'playlist' of exes and needing to be bailed out from his missions a couple of times. Laureline is introduced as a fiery femme fatale but settles into the more traditional role of caregiver as the work runs on.
The promoted stunning opening scenes are actually part of the collateral of war, although the questions are limited to the single bad apple, rather than a wider questioning of empire.
CONCLUSION: Stunning visuals, a love story, and loads of explosions!
OVERALL RATING: Not everyone's cup of tea, but definitely worth a look.
Check it out on IMDB here!
[Image from IMDB]