Valerian Early Impressions: A Visually Stunning Action Movie

Early buzz for Luc Besson's Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets suggest it's another visual marvel from the director of The Fifth Element.

Preliminary reviews for director Luc Besson's upcoming science fiction epic Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets suggest it's going to be a sensory overloading visual spectacle.

Based on a French comic book series, the film stars Suicide Squad alum Cara Delevigne as Laureline and Dane DeHaan as the titular Valerian, and revolves around the pair protecting a vast intergalactic metropolis called Alpha from a an unknown threat to not only their city, but the universe itself.

The trailers have suggested Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets would, if nothing else, be one of the more visually striking movies of the year, and early reaction on social media is suggesting that is indeed the case. While praising the visuals, more than a few also suggest the movie's story doesn't quite measure up to its aesthetic strengths.

mixed on Valerian, BUT: this movie is god damn SPECTACULAR to look at. if you're going to fork out extra $ for 3D, do it for this.

— e. oliver whitney (@CinemaBite) June 29, 2017

#Valerian is the batsh*t kinda sci-fi, stuffed w/ wildly colorful & inventive sequences. Story is OK but some of the action blew my mind ?

— ErikDavis (@ErikDavis) June 29, 2017

Now that the embargo is lifted I am free to say that VALERIAN surpassed all expectations. The best blockbuster of the summer.

— Patrik Sandberg (@PatrikSandberg) June 29, 2017

#Valerian: Inventive world-building and some awesomely unique set pieces. Runs out of steam eventually, but overall a fun, worthwhile romp.

— Angie J. Han (@ajhan) June 29, 2017

More than a few viewers have compared the film with arguably Besson's most enduring work, the cult classic, Bruce Willis starring sci-fi extravaganza The Fifth Element.

Dug opening sequence of #Valerian, has amazing 3D look. Flavor of FIFTH ELEMENT but not the same payoff. Luc Besson fans are gonna luv it.

— Jason Guerrasio (@JasonGuerrasio) June 29, 2017

This would seem to be good news for Besson, who has been one of the more unique creators in the film industry the last two decades. After making his name in the early 90's with offbeat action films like La Femme Nikita and Leon: The Professional (starring a very young Natalie Portman), the French filmmaker transitioned into more of a writer/producer role after the beguiling, polarizing The Fifth Element, writing some of the biggest mid-budget action movies of the 21st century, such as the Liam Neeson starring Taken trilogy and Jason Statham's Transporter movies.

While he never stepped away from directing completely, Besson found himself making a mainstream smash once again with 2014's Lucy, starring Scarlett Johannson. While that movie's plot ended up being polarizing (like virtually every Besson directed film since The Fifth Element), it was a visual marvel, and proved Besson still had a unique creative style that sets him apart from most modern genre filmmakers.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets seems to be showcasing a Besson who is continuing to marry his unique cinematic palette with the considerable resources available to him in the CGI age. While this might lead to a new crop of critics who struggle to categorize his films (and incredibly uncertain box office prospects in an era where massive franchises rule the summer), it certainly sounds like Luc Besson has made another very Luc Besson film.

MORE: Valerian Featurette Teases Film's Spectacle

Source: Twitter (see various)

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