Thursday, March 30, 2017

Second trailer for 'Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets' is wacky and weird

I don't really know what to make of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. The ambitious adaptation of the French graphic novel is Luc Besson's first film since Lucy, which gave him enough clout to finally produce the sci-fi film of his dreams. Valerian is a cultural touchstone in France, even though it has never had much of an impact on American shores. With a huge budget and a prime July release date, Valerian should be one of the biggest films of the summer. However, there's genuine concern that Besson's film could be the latest in the line of massive sci-fi flops at the box office. From an aesthetic perspective, Valerian has drawn comparisons to films like John Carter, Speed Racer, Jupiter Ascending, and Besson's own The Fifth Element, and all four of those have one thing in common- they didn't make much money. Audiences have an instant dislike for high concept science fiction, and even though this might make a good deal of money in France, we could be looking at one of the summer's biggest flops. This makes STX Entertainment's marketing job even more critical. If they're going to convince audiences to see a weird sci-fi movie over Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk, they're going to need to do one hell of a job. After a teaser trailer debuted in November, the studio has returned with the full trailer. Check it out below!

I'm a huge fan of science fiction. I love the idea of bold, original movies on the big screen that take us to entirely different worlds. I've enjoyed films like Speed Racer and Jupiter Ascending in the past. My desire for spectacularly bizarre sci-fi is a big reason why I'm still fairly excited for Scarlett Johansson's Ghost in the Shell this weekend. But for a number of reasons, I'm just not sold on Valerian. For starters, I can't see Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne leading a major summer blockbuster. DeHaan is a fine actor, but his first experience leading this kind of wildly original film (A Cure for Wellness) didn't go so well. As for Delevingne, she has struck out twice with Paper Towns and Suicide Squad, and I'll be skeptical about her casting right up until the very end. Beyond the central duo, Valerian just looks like a lot to take in. The trailer showcases a genuinely overwhelming amount of visuals to the point where I honestly cannot tell what is happening. Sure, some of it looks cool, but there's a slickness to the look that borders on cartoon-like. I seriously hope that this is good for the sake of big-budget sci-fi, but I'm far from convinced.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets opens on July 21. Plan on that possibly changing if STX catches wind of the early tracking numbers.

Image courtesy of STX Entertainment

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