My best Beloved and I went to see Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, last night. Because we’re huge nerds.
The advertising video looked amazing, as I recall. And the one I saw made it look like there was a female protagonist: go watch it here. Now I’m all over female protags like flies on a backyard barbie, so I was anticipating the shit out of this.
What’s not to love? Cool aliens, ladies taking charge and kicking butt. A space station that could be the same mass as a planet… My kind of jam.
And then I actually saw the movie.
Don’t get me wrong. The David Bowie Montage in the beginning five minutes was enough to fall in love with the universe. It seemed like this station was being built on a foundation of peace and understanding.
…but it was kind’a suspicious how the station commanders were all white guys. However hundred years of exploration and sharing knowledge and the person in charge just happens to be a white DUDE all the firkin time? That’s stretching credulity.
And then, when the white dude who happened to be in charge of Earth sent Alpha Station off into the wild black yonder, I muttered, “Cut to utter chaos and devastation.” And I was pleasantly surprised.
For all of five seconds.
Because our lead white dude was revealed in the first minute of screen time to be [drumroll] your stereotypical fuckboy douchecanoe white male lead with no actual redeeming features for the first three quarters of the god damned film.
And for the first half of the movie, it seems like Lorelai is the last human woman in the population. Background and bit characters don’t count.
The camera work is obsessed with aliens’ breasts [even though the aliens clearly don’t have nipples] and the pointless nipple-tease moments with the Doomed Princess were moot and a waste of what could have been valuable screen time. You know… to actually build a character we might have cared about?
And remember that montage about peace, love, and mung beans?
Yeah that entire philosophy got thrown out the firkin window just so they could have the plot for this movie. Because war is exciting and scriptwriters in Hollywood can’t imagine anything else that would get bums on seats. Besides, of course, copious amounts of chestal fat sacks.
The original Valerian series started off like so much good Sci Fi in the 1960’s, and finally ended in 2010. It’s 2017 now and you’d think that people would have learned to upgrade a few characterisations. But no. Lorelai gets her backstory surgically removed because time travel on top of everything else would just be too complicated (9_9) and her initial characterisation of a deliberate antithesis of the usual scifi bimbos is erased in favour of…
The bog standard initially-hostile-but-secretly-in-love-with-the-hero fighting f*cktoy that’s in EVERY OTHER MOVIE. If you followed the link, there, you know I’m tired of seeing this. And there were copious amounts of Pervy Cam as well.
It’s the twenty-first century, people. We need more three-dimensional women and less pervy cams rubbing all over their bodies.
And speaking of women, there’s a sum total of six speaking roles for women. None of them have lines with each other. So this movie doesn’t pass the Bechdel Test either.
It also didn’t pass the Brown Test, my own test for diversity on screen. To pass, you have to have two black people in the film, who have names and lines, and either don’t die during the movie, or fail to speak to each other in a way that is very plainly racist stereotyping on the side of the scriptwriters.
There’s a sex slave who’s coded as a woman of colour and she exists as a plot device before she dies. The other POC with a name and lines is also murdered as part of the evil guy’s backstory.
Slow clap. So innovative.
And, to add insult to injury, there are plot holes large enough to pilot Alpha Station through.
They could have done so much better with all of this.
Visuals – Gorgeous
World-building – Amazing
Characterisation – FLAT!
Plot – Swiss-cheese’d
Camera work needs improvement, see me after school. You must write one thousand times, The boobs or butt are not the most important part of the girl.
Visually amazing. Emotionally disappointing.