I saw The Fifth Element five times in the theater. To this day, it is one of my very favorite science fiction movies. When I heard that Luc Besson was returning to the science fiction genre, I was extremely excited. I was looking forward to Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, but the anticipation was better than the reality.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t very exciting. The pace was a little plodding and I had to keep myself from checking my watch. Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne were fine as the lead characters and I actually enjoyed their relationship. Unfortunately, though, they didn’t really have anything that interesting to do.
The story left a little something to be desired, but the movie was completely gorgeous. Besson made the most out of current technology that wasn’t available to him when he made The Fifth Element. I just wish the entire movie was as good as it looks.
Here are some other thoughts I had while watching Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.
Alpha, the titular city of a thousand planets, is a monument to unity and working together. Thousands of species totaling tens of millions of people, live on Alpha. They all play their roles and rely on the strengths of the others. Unity and teamwork in movies always makes me think about the body of Christ. Followers of Jesus are called to unity and tasked with working together. No one part of the body is more important than the others. We all have a role to play and the entire body misses out when we don’t.
Valerian and Laureline’s relationship was built through death-defying missions. Any partnership like that requires trust, any significant relationship requires trust. I trust Alycia and my closest friends implicitly; I don’t doubt for a second that they want what’s best for me. Getting to that point in any relationship is amazing; implicitly trusting others allows us to take them at their word and rest easily in their presence. God created us for those types of trusting relationships. They’re not easy to cultivate, but they’re worth the effort.
Even on a city of a thousand planets with different species working alongside each other, selfishness still manages to rear its ugly head. That’s how I feel about selfishness in my own life, like it’s some sneaky monster waiting to jump on me. Not wanting to take the dog out or not wanting to change a diaper are little symptoms of selfishness. I know that I should be willing to do anything to make Alycia’s life a little easier, but sometimes I just want to stay on the couch. I know that Alycia is going out of her way to care for my needs, which makes it easier for me to place her needs above my own.
I’m a little bummed that I didn’t like Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets more. It’s not a terrible movie but, other than the striking visuals, Valerian is extremely forgettable. I saw The Fifth Element in the theaters earlier this year for its 20th anniversary. I know I won’t be watching Valerian in the theaters in 2037 and I may never even watch it again.
What did you think of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets?