Luc Besson, most famous for his previous movies The Fifth Element and Taken, tries to recapture the magic that made the first work. At first glance, the movie really seems like a rehash of The Fifth Element, but it definitely is able to stand on its own.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Plantes is probably unprecedented in its creativity and design. The movie is almost all green screen and CGI but it doesn't show. The special effects and overall look of the movie is crazy amazing. In previous reviews I have commented on how the CGI was gorgeous, but this movie takes to a whole other level. Not only was it beautiful, but the pure creativity was mind blowing. You will not see a movie more inventive than this one. The creativity on display seems endless as well because of how much content is in the movie.
But not everything in the movie was as great as the CGI and design. The movie relies heavily on its lead actors' ability to have chemistry and deliver their lines convincingly. This pretty much never happens. The script doesn't help this fact either, but the acting was just simply bad. It's not like the actors can't act. Dane DeHaan plays the male lead in the movie and has proven his acting ability in other movies. He seems to be miscast in the role as his delivery of lines was unconvincing and dry. The script calls for immense chemistry from him and his costar Cara Delevingne. That chemistry was nowhere to be found. There is more chemistry between a random extra and Cara Delevingne's character, that lasts less than a minute, than she has with Dane Dehaan in the entire movie. Rihanna was also in the movie for a short amount of time, but she did a pretty good job with her part. She played her role convincingly and was actually pleasant to watch compared to the headline actors.
I said that the script didn't do the actors any favors and I meant it. The story is too high concept and just has the characters do too much. The movie is cringy when it tries to be funny and never really captures the mystery that it is trying to establish. At its core, Valerian is a mystery movie where you know "who did it" from the very beginning. There are loose ends throughout the movie that also makes it harder to watch.
Overal the movie was hard to watch. There is a lot that is not good about the movie, but the visuals do a good job distracting you from its flaws.
7/10 It tried really hard to be good, and sometimes it was pretty good