Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets Roundtable

**what do you think of Valerian? are you a fan of luc besson or do you feel he is overhyped? can a new sci fi universe crack thru all the huge existing franchises??***

Brendan Campbell

I don’t really know anything about Valerian. I can write something to reflect that, if need be though!

One possible idea for a roundtable could be the news on how Matt Reeves is tossing out the script Ben Affleck, Chris Terrio and Geoff Johns had worked on and is starting the story from scratch, wanting to take it in a Noir direction. Now it’s up in the air as to whether or not Joe Manganiello (who was scheduled to play Slade Wilson /Deathstroke) will still be involved at all.

Mike Noyes

At first I was going to say Luc Besson is very hit or miss, then I looked at is IMDb page bad realized that the only films of his I’ve seen are The Professional, which is amazing, and Fifth Element, which was fun but I don’t understand the cult following it’s developed. I guess the other films I thought he directed he just wrote. So as for an opinion on his entire career up to this point I don’t think I’ve seen enough of his films to have one.

As for Valerian, I’m not at all excited for it. The trailers I’ve seen have done nothing to make me want to go out and see it.

I was going to say I hope it succeeds thinking it was original idea. But some quick research tells me this is based on a comic. So, I really don’t know what else to say about this one.

Travis Leamons

Having seen Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets twice now, the best way to describe it is “Luc Besson has a color-gasm.” Based on the French sci-fi comic series “Valérian and Laureline”, which began publication in November 1967, nearly a decade before George Lucas released “Star Wars”, the movie is pleasing on a visual level but aside from the eye candy available in Big Market and Paradise Alley, “Valerian” is a bit of slog at nearly 140 minutes and will struggle to find crossover success. Fans of “The Fifth Element” will find things to enjoy, though I’ll admit that Dane DeHann – who looks like an emaciated Leonardo DiCaprio (and was 11 years old when The Fifth Element was released in theaters!) – was miscast as Valerian. The best character, surprisingly, was Bubble, a “glampod”, played by Rhianna. Her involvement is of little consequence to the overall story, but is indeed the film’s biggest highlight. When you see it, you’ll know what I mean.

Now, the biggest surprise of the weekend will be “Girls Trip”. This is something I initially wrote off, because, let’s face it, a comedy with such a generic title (see also “Rough Night”) does not seem at all enticing. But I watched the comedy and was pleasantly surprised. The humor is on par with “Bridesmaids” with situations that were totally unexpected (I’ll never look at grapefruit the same way again). The ensemble is pretty good as Queen Latffah and Jada Pinkett Smith have a nice reunion on screen – at one point one of the characters acknowledges that they are about to “set it off” in here – along with Regina Hall (“Scary Movie” series, “About Last Night”) and the scene-stealing Tiffany Haddish as the raunchiest of the foursome known as the “Flossy Posse.”

Malcolm D. Lee may have a small output as a director since his 1999 debut “The Best Man,” but he is very consistent with making fun comedies that look to target a certain demographic that tends to be overlooked. His comedy “Undercover Brother” with Eddie Griffin, Dave Chappelle and Neil Patrick Harris among others (released the same year as “Austin Powers: Goldmember”) is very funny and well worth it for those who like Blaxploitation flicks – this is much better than “Black Dynamite” in my humble opinion. Lee, unfortunately, has “Scary Movie 5” on his resume. But he also did “Roll Bounce” and “Soul Men” on his resume, the latter of which pairs Samuel L. Jackson with the late Bernie Mac.

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