I have wanted to go see Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets since I found out that it was written and directed by the same person who did The Fifth Element. Also, whenever a science-fiction movie trailer shows up I get excited, then often realize it is going to be a scary one and I won't end up seeing it - this looked different though.
I love The Fifth Element, it is one of my favourite movies, I have mentioned it more than once. It was pretty exciting to hear that Valerian was given a positive review by my preferred movie critics on What The Flick? However, I actually gasped while watching the review when one the critics said they didn't like The Fifth Element. WHAT?!
Jason and I went to see Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets yesterday afternoon - so enjoyable. However, basically it was an upgraded, updated Fifth Element, which I think is fine, it is 20 years later - we can use another one. Both movies are great, I love this pop-style of fun action sci-fi. Here is my comparison:
- Fifth: Basic.
- Valerian: Slightly better.
- Fifth: Fast but can be clunky, has a slow bit or two.
- Valerian: Speedy and sleek. I might re-evaluate this on a second viewing though.
- Fifth: Bad. (However, there are at least some memorable quotes - "Mul-ti-pass, multi-pass.")
- Valerian: Also bad, possibly worse.
BACK STORY/CHARACTER HISTORY
- Fifth: Provided, on a fairly simple level.
- Valerian: Missing.
- Fifth: Strange. The age difference between Leeloo and Korben Dallas is pretty big, but really you can do no wrong with Bruce Willis
- Valerian: Badly done. Dane DeHaan was a poor choice. Spent the whole movie thinking how much better it would have been with a different person playing Valerian.
- Fifth: Fine. Milla Jovovich is excellent, Bruce Willis doesn't really win a lot of Academy Awards for a reason but he is solid in this role. Supporting cast does well.
- Valerian: Not good. I liked how Cara Delevingne played Laureline. Dane DeHaan doesn't work, this character (in the comics) literally inspired Han Solo and I wasn't feeling that. Supporting cast is a bit weak.
- Fifth: Very cool.
- Valerian: Absolutely epic.
TINY SCI-FI DETAILS
- Fifth: Great, it is part of what makes it an amazing movie.
- Valerian: Incredible.
- Fifth: Diva Plavalaguna, an opera singer played by Maiwenn/Inva Mula
- Valerian: Bubbles, a shape shifting stripper played by Rihanna
- Note: The artists assist with the mission/plot in both movies, and also die in both movies, in the arms of the main male hero.
THE ANNOYING ONE
- Fifth: Chris Tucker as Ruby Rhod, the original.
- Valerian: Missing, but you can tell they tried to reproduce it a few times, with the market guide or with Ethan Hawke (very enjoyable) as Jolly the Pimp.
THE GOVERNMENT LEADER
- Fifth: Great character. Tommy 'Tiny' Lister as President Lindberg is believable, well acted, and funny.
- Valerian: Not great. Herbie Hancock as the Defense Minister doesn't get much to do and you can't see him well on the hologram screen.
- Notes: Both black actors, one of my favourite quotes after Barack Obama won the presidency was, "If we have a black president now, how will directors show us that we are in the future in a science fiction movie?"
THE BAD GUYS
- Fifth: Decent. Gary Oldman is great as Zorg, and Zorg is a fun character. The henchmen (Mangalores) and Mr. Shadow are cool as well.
- Valerian: Boring. Clive Owen isn't interesting in the role, his henchmen (K-tron Bots) are boring. The motivation presented is clunky.
THE FRIENDLY RACE/SPECIES
- Fifth: A bit frustrating. I never fully understood the role or context for the Mondoshawan, but their big bodies and little metal bird heads were very imaginative.
- Valerian: Beautiful. Their world (The Pearls) is stunning, their Converter pets are adorable. However, the heavy CGI is noticeable.
THE SUPPORTING CHARACTERS
- Fifth: Good. They appear all throughout the movie and have their own motivations and back stories (Father Vito Cornelius, David, and the aforementioned Ruby Rhod)
- Valerian: There isn't really any. I wish there had been.
MODERN HUMAN CONNECTION
- Fifth: The pyramids.
- Valerian: The International Space Station.
- Fifth: Almost believable.
- Valerian: Terrible and not believable.
- Notes: Both movies end with the two main characters making out in a small capsule as the camera zooms out from a window. Really bringing home the similarities.
I highly recommend both movies!!