Legendary director Jean Luc Besson’s latest Sci-Fi venture graced UK cinemas this week. The film is endless eye candy. The creator of Leon and Fifth Element hit a bit of a bad patch with his last film Lucy, despite starring Scarlett Johanssen, the film somehow failed to ignite for me but did provide record breaking financial success for the French film industry. I read it was an ongoing script nearly a decade in the making and perhaps missed its natural time in space etc . However Besson has easily made up for lost ground in this latest venture. I personally found Valerian to be a visually spectacular appealing journey from start to finish. From pans-dimensional chases to multiple planetary settings the visual continuity of the story is mind blowing in itself.
Even this small snippet shows how picturesque and complicated the sci-fi universe Besson has created. Quoting James Oster; ” a rich and jaw-dropping world.”
In the long list of classic futurist sci-fi/action masterpieces Besson scored highly in his film Fifth-Element, arguably ( in my opinion) borrowing from Vlade Runner and taking the crown from Ridley Scott. Earlier this year I wrote how the live feature film version of Ghost in the Shell borrowed a lot from Ridley’s 1985 classic. It seems the ball is safely back in Besson’s court now after this fantastic cinematic voyage. With Blade Runner 2049 heading to our cinema screens next month, we will have to see how this year turns out.
The Fifth Element is probably considered a sci-fi classic by most. The rich and deep artistic quality of the universe Besson created for us is reunited in many parts of the City of a Thousand Planets.
Even the concept is great and the opening sequence leads to a utopian intergalactic idealism that can lead to helpful futuristic reflection. Besson has always been a bit of a futurist but also a humanist and I really like that Valerian in a thoughtful message of social critique along the lines of Fifth Element. The added benefit of Cara Delevingne’s presence on the screen for over 2 hours adds to the charm. The faux-American accent of both Cara and former Harry Osborn/Green-Goblin Dane Dehaan may have been unnecessary but she can act and is given a character with more space to flex her theatrical muscles after the restrictive portrayal of June Moon/Enchantress in Suicide Squad last year. If that was enough to quench your sensual appetite, halfway through the movie Rihanna arrives making the experience visually stunning in more ways than one.
I really cannot overemphasise the extensive and incredible beauty of the film’s scenic locations and settings. It is an ongoing creative journey that refused to slow down. I suspect the viewer is graced with a new unique and original background setting almost every 5 minutes of the film. It really is a “sci-fi treat”.