‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets’ Review

Valerian_and_the_City_of_a_Thousand_PlanetsI am not a fan of 3D films. Whether it’s converted in post-production or filmed with 3D cameras, I would rather not see it. For my early screening of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, I was forced to see it in 3D. However, I will not let that hamper my review of the film, for it was not terrible. Now, take that with a grain of salt because this was not a fantastic film either. Based on the very popular French science fiction comics series, Valérian and Laureline, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets tells the story of Major Valerian and Sergeant Laureline as they try to complete a mission for the World State Federation. The opening of the film was great. It showed how Alpha, the titular “City of a Thousand Planets”, came together while the late David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” played in the background. Next, we are treated to the beautiful scene of an alien world before we are introduced to the main characters: Valerian and Laureline. While I think Dane DeHaan is a fantastic actor, I’m not sure that this was the right role for him. I didn’t buy him as the ladies’ man that Valerian is supposed to be, nor did I buy his apparent affection for his partner, Laureline. Their romance seemed to be forced throughout the entire film. It would have been better if they played the characters as platonic partners. Cara Delevingne was fine as Laureline, but she wasn’t given much to do. She is a much more impressive actress than her last few roles have shown. Much of the dialogue in the film was stiff and almost comical. There are even a few lines lifted straight out of Taken, but I’ll let you wait to see when that happens in the film. Other parts of the plot did not make sense and there was almost a rush at the end to explain everything. I do have to admit that Luc Besson knows how to make both a beautiful looking and great sounding film. The creatures and worlds you see on-screen are great and somewhat believable. With a little better writing this could have been another The Fifth Element. The best way to describe this film is that it is a good “background film.” Those are basically films that you have playing in the background while you are doing other things. It is something that you want to watch, but don’t care if you miss a few seconds here and there. Apparently, Luc is now writing a Valerian trilogy of films so I would be interested to see where he takes these characters. However, I would not be upset if it never came to fruition. Overall, I give Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets a Normal 6.5/10. I feel Luc Besson works better when given smaller budgets, so studios should remember that when he pitches them his next film.

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‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’ Review

Well, they say that the third time’s the charm and this movie proves that saying correct! Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is the best movie in the series. The film starts out with our gang still stuck in Africa after the events of Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. The leader of the gang Alex, still portrayed by Ben Stiller is getting homesick and is ready to get back to New York. After hearing his pleas the gang sets about on adventure to get them back to the Big Apple. Their trip takes them through Europe where the meet up with the penguins and eventually have to go on the run while pretending to be circus animals. On their journey home, they are pursuing the very smart, very formidable, very clever,  Captain Chantel DuBois of the Monaco Animal Control. She stays on their tails throughout the entire movie (pun definitely intended) barely not catching them. Eventually, they get back to New York, yet find it different than they remembered. All around this movie was great. It was a fun family film that had many laughs to be enjoyed. The original cast still plays their roles very well, having not gotten stale over time. The new additions to the cast are also great. The circus animals provide a different aspect of how animals behave. Before we saw zoo animals, and then wild animals, but the circus animals are something different altogether. Surprisingly our group of protagonist seems to fit right in with them as if its where they belong. The breakout character of the movie is Captain Chantel Dubois, portrayed by Frances McDormand. Her character was a good amount of what made the movie worth watching. Just waiting to see what she would do next was exciting. Her chase scene at the beginning was one of the most stunning animated sequences I had ever seen. Now personally I have to say that I hate 3D movies with a passion. Wearing the glasses usually makes my eyes hurt and there’s very little 3D to be seen in most movies. Though after saying that I have to say I saw this movie in 3D, mainly because I had no other choice, and it was beautiful. I was surprised that my eyes were not hurting and the movie was filled with beautiful 3D scenes. If all 3D movies were like this I would go and see more of them. This movie was stunning and beautiful to watch. If they decide to make any more in the series hopefully they do not steer away too much from this one. I give Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted an Excellent 9/10.