Valerian (a review)

Putting together a quick weekender, figured I might as well ride the movie-review high and write a review of another tragically under-appreciated summer blockbuster[1], Valerian and the Super-Long Film Title I Can’t Be Bothered Writing.

I already basically said everything I wanted to on this topic, right here in a quote I have shared around in various places but I’ll put here on the Hatstand to make it official.


Now, some of you may remember the movie version of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The Guide, I mean, not the books about the Guide. I’m talking about the animated infographic asides narrated by Stephen Fry.

I could have watched five hours of just that. The story was a nice bonus.

You know how, in a movie or a TV show, the nerdy character goes off on a tangent and the leader eventually interrupts and dumbs it down? I want the nerd to jabber on.

And you know how, in The Fifth Element, there was a big fireball thing and some stones and it turns out the secret ingredient was love or something? I didn’t care, I just wanted to watch six hours of Bruce Willis driving passengers around that goddamn city.

So.

When I tell you there is a lead-and-concrete walrus of exposition in Valerian, where the characters ask for layout and demographic and bestiary information for no reason, and I tell you I could just watch six hours of that and be fine with it; when I tell you I could have watched four more hours of Rutger Hauer documentaries about the history of Alpha; when I tell you I could have topped off that happy nerdy ten hours with another ten hours just looking at pictures of the Big Market and Alpha environments and the worlds and species of the galaxy…

When I tell you the plot, characters, script and basically everything else were totally surplus to requirements, but I know Besson had to make it a story (from the comics, yes) and he had to make the story into a movie, and it’s pretty clear to me that this part of the plan was a failure…

Perhaps you’ll see how specialised a niche Valerian is catering to.

I loved it. I doubt many other people will. And I don’t mean that in a superior way. It just seems like that’s how it’ll go.


So there you have it. Not much else to say about this movie. It was amazing and I’m so glad it got to happen. I hope there will be more, even if they have to be independently-funded little passion-projects / vanity productions.

Call them whatever you like, just keep making these beautiful, beautiful things.

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