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Sun, Sept. 22

‘Valerian’ mixes the best of several Sci-Fi and comedy blockbusters

Valerian (STX Entertainment)

Valerian (STX Entertainment)

Have you been waiting for the summer’s sleeper movie spectacular? Well here it is folks. Take a little “Star Wars,” “Kingsman,” “Avatar” and “Guardians of the Galaxy,” mix them up and you’ve got “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.” And only the best points of each movie too.

Dane Dehaan is Valerian and his trusty sidekick is Laureline (Cara Delevingne). The two are secret agents fighting crime throughout space. Valerian comes across at first as a top notch, smart-as-a-whip agent, but as the movie goes forward you start to see his humanity. When I say humanity I mean the things we all encounter in our daily lives like our mistakes or how a day just turns bad and nothing you can do goes right. Couple that with his Keanu Reeves way of talking. If I closed my eyes (which you really don’t want to do for fear of missing something), I could hear Reeves talking from “The Matrix.”

And then there’s Laureline who comes across as a sassy adolescent (in a good way) and what appears to be the actual brains behind the operation. Plus there’s enough love interest between the two to keep you guessing what’s going to happen next between them. Laureline’s character was really good at switching between a mature, capable woman to a stand-offish teenager, devising tactics, escape routes and battle strategy.

The movie opens with Avatar-like creatures happily living their lives on a sunny, sandy beach front that is suddenly brought to ruin by a battle they weren’t involved in. It wipes out most of their population.

Then you jump to an Earth scene where a decision is being made to let the hugely expanded space station float out of Earth’s orbit. Several centuries later in a galaxy far, far away the station is now the habitat of hundreds of different space creatures all living in harmony. Enter Valerian and Laureline who are tasked with recovering a unique object from the Avatar-like world that was destroyed.

During their quest there are plenty of fight scenes, an epic spaceship chase, a couple of rescues and humor injected here and there that helps keep it light. Although you can’t help but care for Valerian and Laureline, you also care for the Avatar-like creatures. Rihanna is Bubble, a shape-shifting alien that adds more humor and interest as well as helping our heroes on their quest.

The two hour seventeen minute run time goes by quickly. The graphics are intense and pleasing without causing you to say no way. I was completely entertained and the movie should appeal to a very wide audience. You’ll love the visuals and the fact Valerian comes up with every tool he could possibly need. Get the popcorn, soda and a few napkins because you may make a mess when you laugh.

I’ll give Valerian 4+ out of 4 Miners and I’m looking forward to the next chapter.

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