The Daily Cup 13 of 365 Valerian and the City of a Tousand Planets

Welcome to The Daily Cup a movie blog/writing project by Kyle B. Dekker, presented by Hot Chocolate Media. You can read series concept here. The basic rules, Kyle must watch 365 movies in 2018 and write about all of them. 292 of them have to be movies he's never seen before. Thanks for reading.

I strongly support passion in filmmaking. It really shows in a film when somebody puts their entire being into a film. Humans also are often guilty of being so focused on something they forget the big picture and many things fall by the wayside.  Valerian and The City of a Thousand Planets (2017) is a mesmerizingly beautiful film that is incredibly dumb.

 And I do mean Ethan Hawke plays a character called "Jolly The Pimp" dumb, he does a msuical number as well.

And I do mean Ethan Hawke plays a character called "Jolly The Pimp" dumb, he does a msuical number as well.

The lifetime passion project of Luc Besson who has directed fantastic films like Leon and The Fifth Element, Valerian is a unfocused mess from beginning to end. It is mastubatory filmmaking to the nth degree. Each disjointed scene in the mess that was the story felt like Besson laying out all of his toys and saying “look how cool I am.”

A ton of derision for this film comes down to the casting of the two leads. Dane DeHaan as the titular Major Valerian and Cara Delevingne as his partner Lauerline. Intergalactic space soldier cops, working for humanity and tracking down MacGuffins. While it’s true neither actor gives a good performance I blame the direction and the god awful dialogue. While it’s true they have zero on screen chemistry, their love story is completely forced and breaks the memeverse as it is NOT a better love story than Twilight.  

DeHaan is the biggest victim of bad direction as I imagine this was the instruction Besson gave to the actor:

“Ok Dane, can you do a Keanu Reeves impersonation.”

“Sure, Luc, but why?”

“So Valerian, is Space Neo, so I want you to sound like him. Ok?”

“Sure thing!”

There are some truly fantastic parts of this film. Namely in the art direction. The world building is fantastic, and you can tell tons of work and care went into packing the screen with every detail they could get in there. Every frame is dense with a 1,000 cool things going on in an array of colors that really pop.

 Seriously though, this is a gorgeous shot.

Seriously though, this is a gorgeous shot.

I’m glad Besson got his dream project made, I wish that for every filmmaker. I really wish he had focused on telling a great story with characters we care about instead of just trying to pack every cool thing he could think of on screen at once. It’s worth watching for the visuals alone, they are magnificent, but everything else is a hot mess.


Movies new to me watched: 11/292

Other movies: 2/73

Total movies watched: 13/365

Have your own thoughts or opinions on this movie? Comment below or contact Kyle at or on Twitter at @kbdekker.