Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets: The film that proves there's big demand for visually stunning sci-fi, If, you can get the casting and script right...
It's painful, having to recall this film and write this review. Valerian came so close to being a winner, like a final high jump attempt in which your muscular butt cheek grazes the bar and knocks it off. Why I have olympic sports on the brain is beyond me.
Maybe it's because attempting to create great science fiction in any format is much like training to be an elite athlete. Good isn't good enough, as 2017's lackluster box office has shown us. So many movies have missed their mark this year, as well as the revenue goals their respective studios had set for them.
Valerian was a couple of simple tweaks away from being a gem. All it was missing was a different lead (a huge piece of the pie, even though it's just one piece) and a script doctor capable of defibrillating some life into Major Valerian's pathetic excuses for love scenes.
That's it! A legitimate lead that looked and sounded the part, and proper dialogue between him and Sergeant Laureline, and this film would've been a sci-fi home run. All that would've been left after that is better marketing, and this film could have easily been the next Avatar. But a few core issues and lackluster branding dragged this film down enough to prevent it from gaining the momentum it needed to shine.
I have two regrets regarding this film. The first is that I let its dismal box office performance keep me from seeing it in threatres. I know better than that, and I'll never let it happen again. And the second regret is that I watched it on my 51" Plasma, and not in IMAX 3D. This film was clearly going to be quite a bit more epic in IMAX 3D, and I missed the chance to experience that.
So athletic and medical analogies aside, Valerian is a drastically better film than it got credit for. Buy it, rent it, enjoy it. We don't get sci-fi of this caliber often enough.