Director Luc Besson’s new sci-fi epic may actually have a thousand planets in it. I tried counting once, and began to drift off.
But the movie itself is a big, black hole.
Based on a long-running French comic, the film stars Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne. You know, the mope from “A Cure for Wellness” who always looks like he’s hungover? And the drip from “Suicide Squad” who can’t stop rolling her eyes like a bored 7th grader?
A thousand planets? This thing doesn’t even have two real stars.
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It does, however, have a tedious plot about a dying civilization, an intergalactic robbery and a nefarious conspiracy. Interstellar agents DeHaan and Delevingne are on the case, though, so don’t worry.
Because not only are these young heroes clueless, the actors playing them are charmless. And the story itself quickly turns juvenile, with cute aliens, silly comedy and hard-to-justify guest stars.
Look, there’s Clive Owen as a snippy military man! Ethan Hawke as a skeevy pimp! Rihanna as a shape-shifting pole dancer!
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At least Ri briefly wakes things up, when she does a kind of deep-space Liza Minnelli, complete with bowler hat. But she doesn’t stick around for long, old chum.
“Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” does get off to a nice start, as we see how that floating city came to be. And Besson — who also gave us the equally unhinged “The Fifth Element” — certainly has a good time with the effects.
There’s a wild sequence early on when DeHaan’s agent takes a trip into an invisible fourth dimension. Also a pull-out-the-stops ending, with heavily armed robot soldiers and a ticking time bomb.
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But the movie is its own empty rocket ship, piloted by a giddy teenage boy and a crew of two sullen children, slowly creeping its way toward airless oblivion. It never stops for a minute, yet it never goes anywhere.
And much as it promises to take you to a thousand planets, it can’t find one sign of intelligent life.
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