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Valerian – The Dope Sheet Movie Review

Release Date:  July 21, 2017
Rating:  PG-13
Run Time:  2 hours 17 min
After Credit Scene:  NO
IMAX Viewing:  NO
3D Viewing:  NO
Reviewer:  Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score:  6.2 out of 10


What you need to know:  The full title of this movie is, “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.”  Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and his partner Laureline (Cara Delevingne) must track down those who are threatening the city of a thousand planets known as Alpha.

What works:  Beautiful backgrounds and imagery.  Visually the film has a stunning color pallet.  Very interesting creatures and worlds.  The soundtrack was good as well.  The costumes and special effects steal the show.

What doesn’t work:  Lets by shortening down the title to just, “Valerian.”  Then, lets cut 30 – 45 min from the movie.  Although I did not view the film in 3D, clearly there are scenes that are intentionally included specifically for the 3D effect.  When not seeing the film in 3D, these scenes just add fluff that extend the run time of the movie with adding little substance.

When watching the film, you will get flavors of Men In Black, Star Trek, Star Wars, Avatar, The Fifth Element, etc.  The three creatures that sell information are a cross from the worms in MIB and the Ferengi from Star Trek Deep Space 9.  The ship belonging to Valerian has a Millennium Falcon feel.  There is a trash compactor type scene that clearly resonates with Star Wars.  The multidimensional market place feels like something from The Fifth Element or Bladerunner.  The “Mull” race look very similar to the race in Avatar.  I could go on, but when the movie tags the line that it is a movie unlike anything you’ve seen, well, give me something that doesn’t pull from so many films.

Ethan Hawke has a small role that is over the top and as quickly as he is introduced, he is dismissed.  Herbie Hancock is in the film, but why?  Rihanna is in the film only to showcase her singing and dancing talents, certainly it isn’t for her acting skills.  Dane DeHaan plays the role of Valerian and I swear I felt he was trying to be Keanu Reeves with his delivery and tone.  Valerian is this playboy-esc character who tries to convince Laureline that he is committed to her and wants to marry her.  This feels so contrived and silly that I can only attribute this to appeal to adolescents.

I could continue with what didn’t work for me, but I’ll stop here.

Summer of 2017 hasn’t given me many duds, but this is one of them.  I think tweens will enjoy the film and if you are into 3D movies, this may be a movie to catch on a rainy day.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets a 6.2.  It may be worth seeing in 3D if you are going to see it at all.

Did you see the film?  Tell us your opinion below.

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Trailer Snark (July 21, 2017 Theatrical Trailers)

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Eric from View from Above, Robert from Cards and Counters, Wayne from The Dope Sheet, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Dunkirk (Warner Bros) – Action/War/Drama
Rated PG-13 for intense war experience and some language
Tag Line: Surrounded.
Starring: Fionn Whitehead, Aneurin Barnard, Tom Hardy
Plot: Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.
Running Time: 106 minutes

Rob: I am have soft spot movie about that era. Maybe the only subject in history class I ever did well at. I need know if they’ll make it off the beach.
Chris: Probably my most anticipated movie of the summer, next to Spider-Man.  An epic true story of the Greatest Generation’s sacrifice for a better world. 

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (STX Entertainment) – Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action, suggestive material and brief language
Tag Line: A universe without boundaries needs heroes without limits.
Starring: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen
Plot: 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.
Running Time: 137 minutes

Chris: I am ashamed to say I am unfamiliar with the comic series.  But in spite of Luc Besson’s talents, I felt like I was watching a video game trailer and not a real movie.  This one might just have to wait.
Rob: With all of the SiFi movies coming out, this one looks to be the most fun and most beautiful visual effects. I’ve actually been waiting for this one to come out.

Girls Trip (Universal Pictures) – Comedy
Rated R for crude and sexual content throughout, pervasive language, brief graphic nudity, and drug material
Tag Line: You’ll be glad you came.
Starring: Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett-Smith
Plot: When four lifelong friends travel to New Orleans for the annual Essence Festival, sisterhoods are rekindled, wild sides are rediscovered, and there’s enough dancing, drinking, brawling, and romancing to make the Big Easy blush.
Running Time: 122 minutes

Rob: This looks like a funny movie. Not my choice for the big screen though and maybe if its on TV on one of the wife’s channels that she watches.
Chris: Ummm….R Kelly is going to love this one!  OK, that was uncalled for.

Landline (Amazon) – Comedy
Rated R for sexual content, language and drug use
Tag Line: 1995. When people were harder to reach.
Starring: Jenny Slate, Jay Duplass
Plot: In 1995, a teenager living with her sister and parents in Manhattan discovers that her father is having an affair.
Running Time: 93 minutes

Chris:  “Take a better look cool guy. I’m a California Raisin.”  LOL.  Yeah, this one looks good….even to this 80’s kid.
Rob: Amazon is doing some a amazing things with the movies they’re putting out. It seems like they’re going with the joy and heart breaks of being a regular family back in 1995. Back in the good old days. (yes folks from the 80’s, I’m a 90’s kid).


Tickets Purchased:  Two for Dunkirk and One for Valerian