Tuesday, August 8, 2017

#Valerian & The City of a Thousand Planets: Pretty but Loses the Plot #review #scifi

Summary from IMDb:
"A dark force threatens Alpha, a vast metropolis and home to species from a thousand planets. Special operatives Valerian and Laureline must race to identify the marauding menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe."

Warning: minor spoilers included. I'm going to start with the good points because sadly those won't take long...

What I liked
As expected, the visuals were glorious and detailed, and the action fairly nonstop. The start is a little slow but soon makes up for it and the information is important. The main alien race are definitely interesting and well fleshed out but a bit too Avatar-like. The hero and heroine take turns to rescue each other. The other alien races are interesting and intriguing, and I love the idea that our current ISS could expand to be so much more. There's a huge amount of fascinating tech and ideas including a multidimensional market place.

What I didn't like
The casting is appalling. From what I read pre-release Valerian and Laureline are meant to be older characters. Rather than trying to capture/cater to the YA crowd as they appear to have tried for, I think they would have done better with older and definitely more charismatic actors. Valerian looks like a 12yo who's missed several nights sleep and with the personality of one, and amazingly klutzy for a supposedly expert and experienced soldier, while Laureline flips from coldly efficient agent to ferociously jealous girlfriend in denial with annoyingly regular bouts of teenage eye-rolling in between at Valerian's adolescent behaviour. The reveal of the villain came as zero surprise, yet the general's supposed detective work failed to lead him to the commander's crime nor take precautions at the suspicious armed robots in tactical positions that refused to deactivate. The attempts at humour fall flat. The constant unnecessary diversions from the main plot to essentially sight-see some of the thousand planets plus the waste of Rihanna's character as a deus ex machina could/should have all been cut to improve the pace and stop distracting from the main plot. The cliche of the countdown being stopped at 0.01 isn't even the final spine-shattering straw, which goes to the excruciatingly painful, awkward, and unconvincing 'romance' crowbarred into the film which made me want too slap everyone involved. I'm embarrassed to call this a SFR. And one final thing: every time someone mentioned a thousand planets, all I could hear was Nebula from Guardians of the Galaxy promising Ronan she would help him destroy a thousand planets if he killed her father, Thanos. O.o

In conclusion:
Despite all my criticisms, I didn't hate this film. I didn't even want to walk out on it unlike the dire disaster of Transformers: The Last Knight. It's saved by the almost constant action and glorious visuals, plus the main plot of a hidden war crime to keep this interesting. I just think Besson did a way better job with The Fifth Element and was trying too hard to make a Cameron/Avatar type film. That said, I would probably say it is worth seeing in all its visual glory at the cinema, though I'm glad we didn't opt for 3D as I was getting a touch of eyestrain just with the 2D version.
Should you go see it? I'm not sure I want to try convincing you to do so. I went in with fairly low expectations on plot but high on the visuals even without reading reviews. I'm not even sure about buying the DVD when it releases. I think I'm going to rate this 5 out of 10 because I'm kind of undecided with The Last Knight as my official 0.

Status Update
No progress on book stuff, but I had a job interview Friday (nerves over which somewhat took the shine off my birthday last Thursday) and...I got it! I'll now be working two six hour shifts at my local grocery store, giving me a bit extra cash while still allowing me to be there for my monsters, look after my chooks, and even work on my books.

Chook Update
The chicks are now just over a month old and about four times bigger than at hatching. They've pretty much lost their chick fluff and have adult feathers. Sadly we now know that five of them are cockerels, with just Splash (now officially named Flick) probably a hen. Even if we could keep a cockerel or two, we certainly couldn't keep all five. My eldest is particularly gutted by this development, but that's the reality of keeping pets and livestock.
The good news is hubs has given his blessing on getting more hatching eggs, and they might even have arrived by the time this post goes live. Fingers crossed for another successful hatch but more biased toward female babies!
Lemon, renamed Bee


Bailey (formally Mot)

Splash, now renamed Flick


Lavender, now Penguin

Mama Effie with Penguin
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o   Covers:
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             October 18
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o   Covers:
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o   Covers
November 13
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    November 17
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Clever inclusions


  1. Yeah, I was afraid of that re: VALERIAN. I could tell just by seeing the previews that I would HATE the protagonists for the very reasons you describe. The powers that be--whether they be in the publishing world or the cinematic one--can't seem to get it through their heads that SF/SFR is for anyone but teenagers. The visual wonders promised by this film are just not enough to make me sit through the sophomoric antics of its hero and heroine. *sigh*

  2. So sad about Valerian. It looked like it had such potential. I echo your thoughts on Hollywood thinking SFR is just for kids though. GRR!

    CONGRATS ON THE NEW JOB! That's awesome, Pippa! And I can so relate on how a case of nerves can ruin the fun at times.

    Glad to see the chix all get their own names. Miller isn't named for the character in The Expanse by any chance? LOL We're in the same boat with our babies. We can only keep the fillies, the colts have to be sold. (At least, so far.)

    The workshop sounds great but I'm up to my eyeballs with projects right now--writing and otherwise, and seriously behind on most--so I'll have to pass. Hoping to hit the workshops hard at RWA in Denver next year and then evaluate on where I need to sharpen my skills further.


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Hosted by 5 Science Fiction Romance authors with 8 RWA Golden Heart finals and a RITA final between them. We aim to entertain with spirited commentary on the past, present, and future of SFR, hot topics, and our take on Science Fiction and SFR books, television, movies and culture.