Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)
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Dane DeHaan is so miscast in this movie
A simple story wrapped in gorgeous paper. Cara gives us her best performance to date. And while I might be in the minority here, I think Dane DeHaan did a rather good job fitting into his role. Sometimes a 'larger than life presence' isn't necessary. This movie isn't the mess critics seem to be painting it as.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets has a brilliant opening and an exciting climax, but it loses itself in the middle there, for reasons I will shortly disclose. Let it be said that far from a CG mess, Valerian is principally about evoking scope, a whole universe of detail one cannot apprehend in a single viewing, brilliant in its imagination, with a solid plot that's partway between mystery and action epic, with the comics series' liberalism at the core of its dilemmas. But it lacks rhythm. The pacing is so off as to take away its required sense of urgency, and the jokes fall as flat as a pancake. While tighter editing could be indicated, a large part of the fault lies at the lead actors' feet (at some of the guest stars as well - compare Ethan Hawke's lusty performance to Rihanna's flat reading, for the exception then the rule) who needed to be a lot better to get the space opera dialog and the humor to work. Valerian and Laureline's comics personalities are undersold so that when they actually come to the forefront, they seem to contradict what has gone before, and I'm afraid Cara Delevingne really has none of the charm of her comic book counterpart, instead playing the adventure as jaded and irritated. Even if you don't know the originals, this is, to be sure, the wrong attitude to get the audience on board. Valerian's first, and likely last, cinematic outing frustrates not because it is bad, but because it is ALMOST good.
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