Plot: Valerian (Dane DeHaan) was supposed to be relaxing on a virtual beach with his gal pal Laureline (Carla Delevingne), but instead he finds himself transfixed on a dream he just woke up from. This was vision of a beautiful, exotic locale filled with strange alien beings and it all felt very important, but it was just a dream, right? As it turns out, it was no dream, but instead a telepathic message beamed directly to Valerian’s brain, to make sure he received the transmission. Soon Valerian and Laureline are called in to take part in a complicated, crucial mission that has a lot on the line and could have stakes even higher than they suspect. As the mission is carried out, unexpected turns pop up and of course, Valerian learns more about the telepathic message. But can he uncover the full truth about the message and use that knowledge to somehow make the transmission fulfill its purpose?
Entertainment Value: There is a lot going on in Valerian, a bloated, expensive sci/fi epic, but not much of it makes sense or is that fun to watch. This was a massive project, with over two hundred million dollars invested, but it is hard to tell where that cash went, as the movie is packed with bargain basement CGI. The movie is pretty at times, with some beautiful costumes and creative visuals, but little of the visual effects are passable and the whole movie just seems cheap, like a made for television mini-series, not an epic, well funded motion picture. I liked the ambition, but the scope is reeled in by a less than impressive narrative and a large, but disinterested cast. The story tries to be sweeping and bold, but treads on well covered ground and does little to push into areas that aren’t over saturated in the genre. The result is a mediocre story that feels rehashed and in truth, has been done before and better time and again. A run time of well over two hours doesn’t help matters, since this is a shallow, plodding story that would struggle to fill a ninety minute picture. It seems like the assumption was that if people were distracted by shiny visuals, the lack of narrative wouldn’t be an issue. But when those visuals look like low end video game cut scenes, the distraction plan is ineffective. This isn’t a terrible movie by any means, but it is a chore to watch and seems like a bloated, wasteful production.
No nakedness. No blood. This one has no sex and no real bloodshed, just the usual sci/fi style violence and goop related aftermath. The visual effects are the focus of the movie and very few scenes look halfway passable, thanks to obvious green screen work and low rent CGI effects. I would be a little more patient if this were an indie project, but this was an insanely expensive movie and despite the massive budget, the effects look like they were created for a low budget television show. I liked some of the alien designs, but the execution of most of the visual effects was lackluster to be kind, just a huge missed opportunity. This one looked dated when it was released, I can only imagine how bad it will age as more time passes. The dialogue is forgettable and isn’t helped by a cast that doesn’t seem interested in the material. DeHaan and Delevingne are impossible to like as leads, with pouty teen type performances, while Rihanna stinks up the movie with a total bomb of an effort. The stripper scene had some fun visuals, but she showed none of her usual charm and charisma here. In term of craziness, none to be found here, as this is all pretty much sci/fi retread from start to finish.
Overall Insanity: 0/10