WHY, VALERIAN? WHYYYYY? (crit, no spoilers)

  1. Ihe

    Ihe Forum Revolutionary

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    I saw it yesterday... Stunning visuals. I'd strongly recommend you see it in 3D. Some of the best use of 3D I've seen, even without many 3D-focused set pieces. The world Besson's built is just that magnificent... better than Avatar, hands down. Aaaaaaand that's where the positive comments stop, I'm afraid.

    I don't usually wander into this corner of the forum, but I felt such an overall disappointment after seeing this movie that I cannot contain it within myself. Gotta bleed the misery before I explode. Come, wallow in my sorrow, share my pain.

    I found myself literally cringing in my seat while watching this, which is a first for me--and I've watched plenty of awful movies in my lifetime. Not the action scenes, those were alright (even good-great if seeing them in 3D). It was the quiet moments I felt embarrassed for. Specially the dialogue. It was meandering, without much movie-long coherence or thematic relevance, juvenile but not funny, lacking wit on par with the worst B movies, full of non-sequiturs and empty small talk. It didn't feel like production spent a moment's thought on the dialogue--it seemed like a small child wrote it, basing it on unbelievably worn cliches. I don't think the movie would hurt in any way if it was a silent film. This, and other factors, also leads to non of the characters being likeable or even relatable.

    There is zero character development. This is in part because the movie rarely slows down and is too enamoured with its visual exploits. In the end the whole thing feels incredibly superficial, but it could also be because the MCs are just inherently not interesting. Simply, it doesn't give you time to care, and given the content, it doesn't give you a reason to want to, as the plot itself is pretty simplistic, and full of holes. It has most likely been crippled in post-production, as it feels at times they have edited out nexus scenes that could make sense of some parts of the movie (although everything is kinda dumbed down anyway, so it's not that obvious maybe, except for those who have some knowledge on basic storytelling).

    The acting was also subpar. Most of it was both underacted and overacted. Simultaneously. Really. I don't even know how that is possible. The smallest dull remarks pass as clever and draw exaggerated, sometimes even illogical reactions from other characters. And the more "poignant" scenes (and that's stretching the term, as there's nothing even remotely emotionally impactful) fall off thanks to a combination of bad dialogue, underachieving acting, bad use of pace, and the mishandling of thematic coherence, plucking unrelated elements out of thin air not previously explored, but suddenly placed at the forefront for only a minute, to never be discussed of again after the scene is over.

    I'll leave it at that. I feel a bit better now, but this has been a much bigger disappointment than Batman vs Superman, and that's saying something. Sadly, my next movie will be The Dark Tower, and I hear it also is not great, which will finish off my broken heart.:sick: So much potential wasted lately! Maybe Dunkirk will wash away this bad aftertaste....
     
  2. Cli-Fi

    Cli-Fi Well-Known Member

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    Yeah the reviews for Valerian kinda said the same thing. I am not surprised. It means no sequels or franchise opportunities. Too bad, because it's so hard to get a space epic off the ground. Jupiter Ascending failed in the same way. So did Passengers, but that movie wasn't such an epic as the other two. Even the Expanse is having trouble, but syfy loves it and it's their baby. I don't know what this means for the future of the space opera industry.

    Can't we have another Star Wars? Or was that just one-off dumb-luck? No one can beat George Lucas? No one?
     
  3. Brian G Turner

    Brian G Turner He's a very naughty boy! Staff Member

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    All I know about this film is that it's based on a French comic that ran for over 40 years - so it's possible that they tried to put too much in, but the wrong details (kind of like the first Judge Dredd film).
     
  4. Ihe

    Ihe Forum Revolutionary

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    Apparently it has flopped big time, and they're hoping to break even in the European market, where the Valerian comics were more widely known. I've been checking out reviews now, and indeed there is consensus on the negative aspects of the movie.
    Really? I didn't know that. That series blew me away, and whatever reason it's in trouble, I wouldn't think that the story is to blame.

    Anyway, producers and directors should know by now that epic sci-fi is a hard formula to get right in the big screen, so why not strengthen the area most reviewers usually bash? (pace, character development, relatability, overindulgence in cliches and overused tropes...). The world-building overtakes character development, and many times overshadows the plot itself. I would think that after so many big-budget flops (ie, Ghost in the Shell was one of the last ones to hurt me :cry:), producers would start making smart movies. HBO, some other incredible TV series (Breaking Bad, etc), and even Marvel, have upped the ante, and viewers are no longer that easily impressed by shiny things, they should know that. Reviews do matter. I'm not asking for perfect movies, just movies that are at least 50% good. Is that too much to ask? I won't say I feel robbed with Valerian, mainly because the visual experience alone is worth the money, but c'mon, "well, I guess technically I didn't get robbed..." shouldn't be the thought leaving the cinema after a $200m movie.
     
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  5. Cli-Fi

    Cli-Fi Well-Known Member

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    The expanse is not a ratings gainer (avg 500K-1 million viewers per season) and it seems like the only reason syfy keeps renewing it is because they love it and they are behind it 100% even if hardly anyone watches it. It's a show for scifi fans and one has to happen upon it or hear about it from word of mouth and in the days of 400 TV shows and game of thrones, that's almost impossible to do.

    I think a lot of it comes from the executive/corporate side. It's the reason so many movies fail. Cable TV seems to let the creatives do their thing without much interference.
     
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  6. Nick B

    Nick B author Nick Bailey, formerly Quellist.

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    I thought this would be another Jupiter Ascending (which wasuruly awful). Shame, but expected. Too much importance given to the visual experience.
     
  7. Droflet

    Droflet I don't teach chickens how to dance.

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    Thanks for the heads up. I'll give it a miss.
     
  8. Cat's Cradle

    Cat's Cradle Time, now, to read...

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    I went in with no expectations except the hope of seeing good or interesting visuals. And there was a lot of really cool looking stuff. But the story was bleh, and the acting was even worse...probably the most annoying part of the movie for me. Clive Owen, who I often like, was a petulant, over-acting tosser; what a nothing role for someone of his stature (or at least his fame). And the male lead, DeHaan seemed to be channeling Matrix-era Keanu. I closed my eyes a number of times, and I swore the voice I heard was Keanu's.

    Not the worst thing I've seen in the last year (Jupiter Ascending, was perhaps, the worst) but not good. I doubt there could be a sequel.
     
  9. WaylanderToo

    WaylanderToo Well-Known Member

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    the saving grace for any potential sequel is that:

    1 - it wasn't studio money
    2 - it many make it back in Europe and (especially!) the far east

    The major problem IMO is Carla Deligveine [sp] who is truly atrocious with her co-star not that far behind

    The visuals though, the visuals........ just WOW! Quite possibly the best looking film of all time
     
  10. Ihe

    Ihe Forum Revolutionary

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    That, and that alone might be the only reason to watch it. I'll say it again: on the big screen, in 3D. Otherwise there's no point.:cool:
     
  11. MemoryTale

    MemoryTale Good with a stick

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    So basically only watch it if you're planning to spend a lot, don't bother when it comes out for free on TV?
     
  12. WaylanderToo

    WaylanderToo Well-Known Member

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    I think you could say - think of the best, most amazing (or indeed maddest) scenes in the Fifth Element. You have that mental image there? That is an average scene in Valerian!
     
  13. Cli-Fi

    Cli-Fi Well-Known Member

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    Come to think of it, I never truly liked the simplicity of the Star Wars stories. It was just that the characters were good in an almost in your face type of way. I'm Darth Vader! I'm evil and have the Dark Side. I'm Luke Skywalker. I'm good with the Force on my side. Even the names of the characters told you if they were good or evil.

    As you mentioned with Valerian the actors weren't good and it was miscast. The story wasn't good. Kinda similar to Avatar but I'm not sure why Avatar was so successful and this was not. People went to see that movie 5 times in a row! I have a feeling it was because this was also attached to Luc Besson, and everybody remembers the let-down from Fifth Element. If they had a top notch director and an A-list rugged male as the lead. It would have done better.
     
  14. Nick B

    Nick B author Nick Bailey, formerly Quellist.

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    I actualy like Luc Besson! I liked fifth element, taken and from paris with love is a great film.
     
  15. Ihe

    Ihe Forum Revolutionary

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    If it's free and you have a good TV, go for it :D, but don't expect much apart from pretty visuals.
     
  16. Cli-Fi

    Cli-Fi Well-Known Member

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    I did too I was too young to appreciate it when it came out, but I liked it when I watched it recently for the first time. I think the film had high expectations as did Valerian.
     
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  17. WaylanderToo

    WaylanderToo Well-Known Member

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    people keep referencing 5th Element (for obvious reasons), I will say that at least Valerian does not have DJ (effing) Ruby Rhod in it! Single handedly one of the worst characters to ever 'grace' the silver screen!
     
  18. Ihe

    Ihe Forum Revolutionary

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    Really? I thought he set that world's tone of absurdity and outlandishness pretty well. Annoying as hell, yes, but he fit right in and strengthened the setting's "personality". When someone says "Fifth Element", the first thing that comes to mind is DJ, not the MCs. For me, he's the face of that movie :D. Granted, being memorable isn't synonymous with quality, but oh well.
     
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  19. Nick B

    Nick B author Nick Bailey, formerly Quellist.

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    That particular award goes to Jar Jar Binks. Hands down.
     
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  20. 2DaveWixon

    2DaveWixon Shocked and Appalled!

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    Apparently, it's close to unanimous...
    As did all of you, I found this a visual stunner.
    Having done that, Bresson should have gone ahead and hired a couple of good writers...I think that creative people could simply erase the soundtrack and dub in new dialogue (and a plot that made some sense); and it might have come out better.
    Key to my view: I kept thinking that Valerian was a teenager and his partner was Harly Quinn at 13 years old...
     
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