Valerian

Reviewed
Mon. 7/31/17
Valerian
1.4166666666667
Acting
1
1/5
Morality
2.5
2.5/5
Music
1
1/5
Story
1
1/5
Visuals
2
2/5
Kernel Factor
1
1/5
I laughed. I cried. I felt nothing.
Reviewed By: Steven Siwek
Viewing Environment:
Theater
Viewing Crew:
Friend(s)
Times Watched:
1
Genre:
Science Fiction
Payment Method:
Premium Ticket
Review:

This has to be one of the strangest movies I've seen in a long time. This is one of those films where I seriously wonder what the cast and crew thought the movie would be like when they were making it. I'm hesitant to bash on this movie, as I am with any movie, because I know there is a lot of heart and soul put into a film. But this movie is literally brutal. The greatest fault of Valerian, and trust me it's hard to pick just one thing, but comes down to what I would describe as "releasing the rough cut". It's like this movie went through one single pass in the editing room, no reshoots of anything, and didn't have enough substance 90% of the time, yet they were like "let's see how it does." I watched this with Jerrod and Devon (two of my editing buddies) and we were in jaw-dropping awe at the budget this film supposedly had and yet how pointless so much of it was. I cringe when I think of where this budget went. My assumption is that most of it went to the CGI/visual effects crew, which didn't ultimately fail the movie, but it also wasn't as awe-inspiring as I thought it was going to be. The scenes felt very video-game-esque and lacked the Avatar, Star Wars, Tron, Star Trek feel that I think they were going after. The amount of wasted money hurt me when you think of the cost per scene in the final cut. As an example, we see Rihanna dancing for easily 3-minutes of screen time in what ends up being the most pointless scene. She takes up $5M of screentime when you take budget/movie time into consideration. Overall, this film goes nowhere and means nothing. I was aware at the poor box office performance coming in, and Jerrod and I joked that we might be personally thanked by the director for seeing this film. Ironically, before the movie began (and this has never happened to me before) the main actor and actress thanked us for seeing the film. This film should be in next year's curriculum for film schools of what not to do when telling a story.

Acting
I've never had to do this before. The casting in this film could be a reason it flops so hard. They didn't go cheap on the cast, yet the story ruins the main characters' (Valerian and Laureline) chances of being any bit believeable. We aren't told they are ever special, they don't seem special, yet we are supposed to play along with the fact that they are in charge of saving the universe.
Morality
All alien spieces living together on one massive spaceship is cool, and the message of diversity (well, still humans are the best, but mostly diversity) is good. The opening to this movie is sick and makes you feel good about the universe! However, careless lines about marriage, loving clothes more than people's lives (yes, that happens), and Rihanna's unnecessary role all leave me uneasy.
Music
Besides the opening "Space Oddity" by David Bowie this movie plays around with the music. Just doesn't match up at all throughout the film.
Story
This script needed several more revisions, and I'm still not sure if it would've gotten there. It gives us limited reason to be interested, leads us nowhere, and takes us on psuedo missions that mean nothing. I would've been so mad if I had watched this alone, but it was just funny watching it with friends.
Visuals
Of course being a Sci-Fi $100M+ film, there are beautiful moments in the film. But overall, it's one of the most disappointing visual films given its budget. The only reason I didn't give it a 1.0 or 1.5, is because there are moments of true genius in terms of how technology plays a role (the "hidden city" that can only be seen via special glasses/gloves).
Kernel Factor
By now you know my feelings, so instead of continuing to hammer on this film, I'll give you a positive. This film has the potential of a Star Wars, no joke. But the casting, the lack of attention to detail while filming/editing, and the overall story just make it fall short every time it takes a step forward.

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