Bil’s rating (out of 5): B. France/China/Belgium/Germany/United Arab Emirates/USA/United Kingdom/Canada, 2017. EuropaCorpm, Fundamental Films, Grive Productions, Gulf Film, Novo Pictures, Orange Studio, River Road Entertainment, TF1 Films Production, Universum Film. Screenplay by Luc Besson, based on the comic book series Valerian and Laureline by Pierre Christin, Jean-Claude Mezieres. Cinematography by Thierry Arbogast. Produced by Luc Besson, Virginie Besson-Silla. Music by Alexandre Desplat. Production Design by Hugues Tissandier. Costume Design by Olivier Beriot. Film Editing by Julien Rey.
Luc Besson tries to recapture the spirit and look of his problematic but still superior Fifth Element with this adaptation of a comic book series, the most expensive film made in France to date (a record, incidentally, that Element also held at the time). Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne are inexplicably cast as intergalactic security officers whose assignment to retrieve a “converter”, a little creature that can be fed any substance and replicate it in massive quantities, takes them across the universe away from greedy humans and towards a dying, peaceful alien race. A picaresque narrative and a bubbly look should be enough to guarantee empty-headed fun, but Besson does not have a history of being light-hearted enough to understand when he is making a guilty pleasure, and the whole thing lacks energy or bounce. The lack of chemistry between the leads, who are both terrible, doesn’t help much, but even that would be bearable if the pop-science design, sort of a computer generated Barbarella aesthetic, didn’t look so cheap.