In November 2015 I had the chance to visit the Luc Besson's Cité du Cinéma and at that time some studios were in preparation phase for the making of the adaptation to the screen of the very well known classic French comic book Valerian by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières by Luc Besson.
I didn't grew up with the comic book, knew of it but that was it. So after visiting the Cité I started inquiring about Luc Besson's project, asked around what it was to work with him and read his unauthorized biography. To say the least he's a man who carries lots of different opinions about him, some adore him, others hate him, rarely have I encounter some mild judgements. But the bottom line is that he built along the years a very unique way to become a real independent movie maker able to achieve blockbusters. No questions he's a "Monsieur du cinéma".
When I saw that Valerian and the city of a thousand planets came out I definitively wanted to go and then... I watched the trailer... what a disappointment... why would I spend 2 hours to see a series of special effects and CGIs? I let it go. Fortunately two friends of mine went to watch it and were quiet impressed by it. They convinced me to take a chance.
Glad that I did! The movie is indeed a serious piece of work. You have to watch it on the big screen, the effects are superb, the story well crafted and I went along in Luc Besson's sci fi world... amazing! If you have the chance go, watch it! It's in the same vein as Avatar, yes it's a blockbuster, so don't go if you're the 'independent film' type of person (all good, but definitively not your type of movie) but the level of craftsmanship, technology and end result on screen is very impressive and stunning. The story makes sense, too bad the trailer doesn't picture it well as lots of cool, beautiful and thrilling things happened during the 2 hours. My only disappointment was the choice the lead actor who plays Valerian. Not that he does a bad job as an actor, he's a fine actor but he looks way too young for me to carry what it takes to save the univers. At one point in the movie, they're talking about getting married... he seems just on his way to grade 12... didn't convince me at all.
Having said that each movie goer is unique with a specific taste and that's the magic with cinema, every body can have an opinion. As Luc Besson said in one of his interview, when the movie is out, it doesn't belong to him anymore, everyone makes it his/her, he's right, so go and forge your opinion!
Editor-in-chief and founder of the Frenchman Mag.