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What to know: Excellent, ahead of its time, special effects, great stunt work and cool story.
Recommended age 12-18
137 minutes
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VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS cover image Click to play video trailer
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets fascinated me because of its excellent, ahead of its time special effects. The stunt work is top level. The spectacular direction adds flair to the story.

The movie is about Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne), who are operatives that maintain order in the human territories. Under operation from Commander Filitt (Clive Owen), the team embarks on a mission to Alpha, the City of a Thousand Planets. While on the mission, the team meets shapeshifter Bubble (Rihanna), who helps them. However, a mystery at the center of Alpha could threaten the existence of every person in the city. Only Valerian can unlock the secret beneath the threat.

Dane DeHaan as Valerian bravely presents his character who tries to save the universe, while at the same time impress his partner, Laureline. Dane is excellent in his battle scenes, especially in the final showdown. Cara Delevingne, as Laureline, expresses her extreme love and confidence in her effort to rescue Alpha. Clive Owen as Commander Filitt seems heroic, but puzzles Valerian with his classified files. He is my favorite character. Rihanna, as Bubble, can transform into any shape to help the team. She also represents a slave who craves freedom. Sam Spruell as General Octo Bar is noble and firm in how he presents his orders and also tries to solve the mystery of the classified files of Commander Filitt.

The direction by Luc Besson is splendid. Innovative camera techniques are used to present most of the locales, especially in The City of a Thousand Planets. My favorite scene is when Valerian takes a shortcut across the city. It is a treat to watch, due to how the environments switch. My only problem in this film is that it jumps everywhere following various sub-plots, which makes it difficult to follow. Despite that flaw, the special effects make it worthwhile.

The film's message is that it is sometimes necessary to break conventional rules for a worthy cause. I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 because of its intense action and brief language. The movie releases in theaters on July 21st, so check it out for one, ahead of its time sci-fi film.

Reviewed by Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

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VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS is the new adventure film from Luc Besson, the director of The Professional, The Fifth Element and Lucy, based on the comic book series which inspired a generation of artists, writers and filmmakers. In the 28th century, Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) are a team of special operatives charged with maintaining order throughout the human territories. Under assignment from the Minister of Defense, the two embark on a mission to the astonishing city of Alpha-an ever-expanding metropolis where species from all over the universe have converged over centuries to share knowledge, intelligence and cultures with each other. There is a mystery at the center of Alpha, a dark force which threatens the peaceful existence of the City of a Thousand Planets, and Valerian and Laureline must race to identify the marauding menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe.
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