I 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.
If you have never seen Rick and Morty then you need to get on it because that show is hilarious! Also, you should probably stop reading this article because it will contain SPOILERS for the show. Full episodes can be found on the Adult Swim website. For those who have seen the show, you know how crazy and nonsensical it is. Also, while watching, you may have thought the premise was somewhat familiar. Even for younger audiences, something about the show may have reminded you of something you couldn’t quite put your finger on. This is because the show is a strange parody of Back to the Future. (A lot of bells just went off in your heads, I’m sure.) The show clearly takes that plot and stretches it out into crazier adventures.
The Real Adventures of Doc and Mharti
The basis for Rick and Morty was a short-lived web series spoof created by Justin Roiland known as The Real Adventures of Doc and Mharti. The web series was designed to parody the characters of Doc Brown and Marty McFly, from the Back to the Future film trilogy. The fans reacted to it wildly, and Roiland began creating more shorts involving the characters. Soon, the shorts evolved beyond Roiland’s original intentions of being a Back to the Future parody, leaving behind the premise and the obvious origins of the characters from the film series from which was its inspiration. After releasing the short for Channel 101, Adult Swim approached Harmon for television show ideas. He and Roiland developed the program based on the short, eventually replacing the characters of Doc and Mharti with Rick and Morty, respectively.
The general structure of a Rick and Morty episode usually consists of the opposition of two conflicting scenarios. Rick, an extremely selfish, alcoholic grandfather drags his grandson, Morty, across space and time for intergalactic and/or interdimensional adventures, while also dealing with domestic family drama. The show has been described as a combination between Back to the Future and Matt Groening’s two shows: The Simpsons and Futurama. The show often ignores continuity but, at the same time, doesn’t break it. This is because of the multiple universes and timelines that Rick and Morty explore. A prime example of this is when Rick mutates the world in the episode “Rick Potion #9” and decides to take Morty to a separate “earth” where the versions of them have just died, so they can take their place and start over. Morty even mentions this to his newly replaced sister a few episodes later. This format allows the creators to do whatever they want because there are infinite timelines and universes for them to work with.
“On one of our adventures, Rick and I basically destroyed the whole world, so we bailed on that reality and we came to this one, because in this one, the world wasn’t destroyed and in this one, we were dead. So we came here, a- a- and we buried ourselves and we took their place. And every morning, Summer, I eat breakfast twenty yards away from my own rotting corpse. […] Nobody exists on purpose, nobody belongs anywhere, everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
Rick and Morty is known for its kooky characters. The namesake characters’ family is basically what it would be like if Doc Brown was a drunk and a member of Marty McFly’s family, with a few tweaks for good measure. From the generally level-headed Beth to the very insecure and sometimes idiotic Jerry, the show has a wide range of characters to choose from. Rick has a strong influence on the characters’ lives, whether they like it or not. This is mostly because he is the “smartest being in the universe,” but also because he selfishly involves them in his schemes. Even though new and recurring characters appear almost every episode, the Smith family is the main focus. And even though Morty gets the brunt of it, he has recently started including his niece, Summer, in the adventures as well. Rick’s daughter, Beth, longs for her father’s attention, while his son-in-law, Jerry, just wants Rick out of their lives.
We should thank director Robert Zemeckis, as his Back to the Future trilogy inspired one of the craziest cartoons of our generation. The first episode of the third season of Rick and Morty was aired on April 1st as an April Fools’ Day joke. You can find my review of that episode here. The rest of the season is set to premiere on July 30th at 11:30 pm ET.
What are your thoughts on Rick and Morty? What is your favorite episode? Are you excited for Season 3? Leave your thoughts below.