“Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets”


            Do you like sci-fi, but would prefer something other than the the “Star Trek” or “Star Wars” formats?  Here's an alternative genre for you.  It's rich in creativity, with multiple renditions of alien species, most of whom are actually friendly to humans. 

            In the not-that-distant-future, a space station becomes the focus of co-operation, first between earth nations, and then, much later, between earthlings and other space creatures.  In fact “Alpha” becomes a virtual intergalactic trading post, with a booming economy and diverse population.  But an unexpected threat to the energy core of the space station brings up some bad history, and threatens the fragile peace.

            Two of the space station's soldiers, a Major Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Sergeant Laureline (Cara Delevingne) are dispatched to protect the Commander (Clive Owen), but along the way they also develop an interest in each other.  They get separated, and in their search for each other, we have the very interesting side trip with Rihanna as a pick-your-fantasy pole dancer, pimped by Ethan Hawke?

            But back to saving the universe.  It seems that certain peace-loving creatures were denied their Garden of Eden-type existence because of warring humans destroying their domain.  The few that managed to escape in a space ship have now presented our two special operatives with a moral dilemma:  obey their orders as soldiers or their conscience as people who love peace.

            It's all based on a comic book series, and it's every bit as fanciful.  But it's also shimmering with artistic flair, and at its simple core, goes for the emotional gold:  love wins.


Questions for Discussion:

1)                  Do you think that international space stations promise even greater technological co-operation?

2)                  Do you think there is life on other planets?

3)                  What's your favorite sci-fi movie?


Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, DFW Film Critics Association