Category Archives: Movie Reviews

What To Watch? I Am Dragon

If you didn’t get your romantic fix during your summer holiday, don’t worry. You can get it when watching this fantastic (literally 😀 ), Russian movie I found on Amazon!

I Am Dragon

IAmDragon_1_W700.jpg

Cast

The first thing that strikes you is how well the two main characters have been chosen.

Maria Poezzhaeva plays Miroslava (Mira), the girl who gets taken by the dragon. Although she was twenty-six years old when the movie was made (in 2015), she looked about fourteen which I think would be a believable age to be married in a fantasy medieval Russian setting.

My favorite of the movie is, however, Matvey Lykov as Arman. I had to look him up, to see if he plays in other movies. I was not surprised to find out he’s actually a model. He is in two other movies, Peterburg: A Selfie, a Russian movie, and Woodkid: Iron which is a French movie but English spoken. I hope to see him in more movies to come. This man’s body is fantastic. He is so skinny and sinewy. A perfect match to the dragon!

The two of them together is magic on screen. At first I thought Maria’s performance was a bit ‘wooden,’ but soon you get swept away by the chemistry between the two.

Next to these two, there are Stanislav Lyubshin as Prince (Miroslava’s father), Ieva Andrejevaite as Yaroslava (Miroslava’s sister), and Pyotr Romanov as Igor (the groom).

Matvey Lykov as Arman
Matvey Lykov as Arman

Plot

In the past, girls to be wed were offered to the dragon. The people would sing a song to accompany the ritual during which the dragon would come and take one girl away.

Two generations ago, the betrothed of the girl taken didn’t take no for an answer, went after the dragon, and killed it (although his bride-to-be had already perished).

Now, Mira is betrothed to Igor, the grandson of the dragonslayer. For years, the dragon song hasn’t been sung, but Igor insists the song is sung again to honor his heritage. To everybody’s surprise another dragon shows up and takes Mira.

Will Igor get Mira back?

What I liked about I Am Dragon

The best thing about this movie is that it takes you away into this other world and you feel the yearning of two loved ones who cannot be together. Credit to Indar Dzhendubaev, on his directing debut.

Even though the movie was 85% CG, the setting was incredibly real, and I never felt some of it was fake. Okay, sensibility tells you it can’t be real (like the waterfall at the top of the ‘mountain’), but it looked and felt real! Especially the dragon looked as real as it can get. What more does one want?

Mira and the dragon
Mira and the dragon

What I didn’t like about I Am Dragon

As mentioned earlier, Maria’s performance felt a bit fake at the start of the movie, but she soon gets into her role.

Summary

This is a movie for the whole family although probably not too young kids as some scenes may be scary/threatening. Even though there are ‘naked’ shots (without genitalia shown), at no point was there any embarrassment necessary for it.

The film is about tradition, arrogance, true love, and standing up for yourself. DON’T watch the trailer as it gives away way too much! Instead, let yourself be swept away by the dragon…

I am Dragon
I am Dragon

PS: I cried in the end, so keep the tissues ready!

What to Watch? Incredibles 2

Excuses for posting this a day late. I’ve been working my ass off to get my second newsletter out (in online magazine form). It takes a lot of time to do the editing, but I love it. You can sign up for it on my home page, if you like :).

Last weekend we watched Incredibles 2. For those adults who say ‘I don’t watch animated movies,’ let me tell you that Incredibles 2 is the  ninth highest-grossing film of all-time domestically and the highest grossing animated film domestically. That’s got to say something, doesn’t it?

Incredibles 2

Increadibles 2_W800.jpg

Cast

Obviously, this movie only has voice-overs. The most known ones are done by Holly Hunter (Elastigirl), Samuel L. Jackson (Frozone)(surprisingly, he actually never says ‘motherfucker’ in this movie 😀 ), and Usher (as Lucius’ best valet). You can check out the full list of the cast on Wikipedia.

Plot

The new movie starts where the first movie stopped; chasing The Underminer. He escapes, but as the superhero family tries to stop his mining machine, there is a lot of damage done to the city. As a result, the relocation program is shut down and all superheroes find themselves not only illegal (they can’t use their superpowers) but also homeless.

Not to worry, a superhero fan called Winston Deavor, owner of DevTech, and his sister Evelyn, creator of the communications technology of DevTech, come to the rescue. They propose a publicity stunt to show the world that superheroes do good things. They choose Elastigirl to head the stunt to defeat Screenslaver, a supervillain who hypnotizes people through TV screens.

Bob is slightly disappointed that they have chosen his wife Helen as the superhero to battle Screenslaver, but he agrees to look after the kids, Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack. While Helen is away, Jack-Jack finally starts to show his superpowers.

What I liked about Incredibles 2

This movie is as entertaining as the first movie. Obviously, there is a bigger theme underlining the concept of good vs. evil. The interactions between the family members are so funny as they portray common teenager issues as well as seeing Bob’s resentment against having his wife doing all the hero stuff while he has to deal with the kids at home. It’s probably slightly over the top, but shows oh-so-well the problems most mothers have to deal with on a daily basis. Except for the superpower part, of course!

What I didn’t like about Incredibles 2

Honestly, I don’t think I can mention anything here. It was clear who was the supervillain early on, but it didn’t take away from the entertainment at all.

Summary

This movie is a great one to watch, by young and old. It contains lots of humor, surprises, and most of all recognizable situations. Go and see it with the whole family!

 

 

What To Watch? Immortals

Last Thursday, we were deciding what to watch on Netflix. We read the blurb for Immortals, but the rest of my family wasn’t too convinced. As I held the TV remote (a rare occasion), I pressed play and, to my surprise, everybody was pleased I did afterward.

Immortals

Immortals_W700.jpg

Cast

The movie has a spectacular cast and, for the life of me, I don’t know why I had never heard of this movie before. As the main characters, it has Henry Cavill as Theseus and Mickey Rourke as King Hyperion. The role of Zeus is shared by Luke Evans, in the role of the god, and John Hurt, in the role of the old man-form of Zeus.

And then, for the vampire-lovers amongst us, there’s Kellan Lutz (aka Emmett Cullen in Twilight) as Poseidon, Joseph Morgan (aka Niklaus “Klaus” Mikaelson in The Vampire Diaries and The Originals) as Lysander, Stephen Dorff (aka Deacon Frost in Blade) as Stavros, and Daniel Sharman (aka Kaleb in The Originals) as Ares.

The two women in the movie are Isabel Lucas as Athena, goddess of wisdom and daughter of Zeus, and Freida Pinto as Phaedra, an Oracle priestess who joins Theseus on his quest (and being the love interest).

Plot

King Hyperion, who wants to free the Titans (to revenge the death of his family) and hopes to slay the gods this way, is hell-bound to find the Epirus bow, the only weapon that can free the Titans. He uses the visions of Phaedra, the Oracle priestess, to locate it.

Immortals2In the meantime, Theseus, his mother, and many others try to flee from Hyperion and his approaching Heraklion army. Unfortunately, Theseus’s mother gets killed by Hyperion and Theseus is imprisoned. At a chance meeting, the Oracle Priestess sees Theseus being part of the future and organizes to set him free. Zeus tells the other gods not to interfere with the troubles of men, but, of course, they do.

What I liked about Immortals

The first and foremost thing that struck me watching the movie was the beautiful aesthetics. The director, Tarsem Singh (The Cell, The Fall, Mirror Mirror, Self/less), is known for his unique visual style, and Immortals is a wonderful example. The colors and texture jump off the screen when the story is good and beautiful, yet are bleak and colorless (except for the color red) when dark and gloomy. You could say it is the enhanced version of 300 (I actually only found out it was from the same producers as 300 after I watched the YouTube trailer 😀 ).

With such a cast, you can’t expect otherwise than the performances to be excellent. They draw you into the story from beginning to end.

As this is a movie based on Greek mythology, there are quite a few fight scenes. All done impeccably, easy to follow, and believable, with lots of blood gushing out of inflicted wounds (I can see why they did a 3D-version of the movie).

What I didn’t like about Immortals

Immortals3As the common critique was when the film came out in 2011, it could do with a bit more character development and (hence) better script. I actually quite liked the overall story.

I must admit I didn’t like Luke Evans in the role of Zeus. They should have taken someone to match, if not surpass, the physical appearance of Micky Rourke.

Summary

This is a beautiful movie to watch if only for pleasing the eye. Beautiful colors, beautiful people, beautiful scenery. The story isn’t real (at least, it’s not a ‘real mythological’ story), but I thought it believable (as far as Hollywood movies go). It does have quite some gruesome moments (crushing of testicles, cooking of humans, and the necessary blood-shed) in it, so I’d recommend it for older teenagers and up.

What to Watch? Shooter

Excuses for my lateness of posting my weekly What to Watch? I was still travelling from Holland to Scotland yesterday (driving from Newcastle to Aberdeen), and I can tell you that typing on a laptop in a driving car isn’t easy 😀 . So, why Shooter (the TV series and not the film)? Because my son recommended it to me.

Shooter

Shooter.jpg

Cast

The Netflix TV series is based on the film Shooter, with Mark Wahlberg as the main character, which is based on the book Point of Impact by Stephen Hunter which again is loosely based on the US sniper Carlos Hathcock (but none of the story in the TV series has anything to do with Hathcock).

The retired US sniper veteran, Bob Lee Swagger, is played by Ryan Phillipe. He’s not a new kid on the block as he’s been in front of the camera since 1992. His wife Julie is played by Shantel VanSanten, and Cynthia Addai-Robinson plays Nadine Memphis, the investigating FBI agent. Omar Epps, also know from his doctor role in House, plays the Secret Service agent and ex-commander of Swagger, Isaac Johnson. I need to mention Eddie McClintock, who plays Jack Payne, and David Marciano as Memphis’s boss, Howard Utey.

Plot

Bob Lee Swagger is a retired US sniper, now spending time with his wife and daughter. His ex-commander, Isaac Johnson, seeks him out and asks for his help. There are rumors that a sniper is going to take out the US President during a visit to Seattle. Swagger reluctantly agrees and tries to figure out where the sniper could shoot from. All angles seem to be covered, until Swagger figures out something is wrong and tries to prevent the shooting. Unfortunately, Swagger is too late, and the visiting Ukrainian President is killed. As Swagger is on the spot of the crime, he’s arrested for suspicion of being the murderer. Swagger must prove he’s set up for a crime he didn’t commit.

What I liked about Shooter

As you may know, I’m not a fan of senseless violence. So, why did I like Shooter? Because the first few episodes were very suspenseful and were (somewhat) believable.

Someone, in a review on Rotten Tomatoes, mentioned there was no humor in the series at all. They are wrong. I loved the character of Jack Payne. He was so funny. Intentionally or not, he made me laugh out loud and care for him more than for Swagger. Same goes for Howard Utey. His character was less believable, but still gave it a less dramatic twist for me.

What I didn’t like about Shooter

As I said, I don’t like senseless violence. This series is supposed to be realistic, but people are being killed left, right, and center without any remorse. I don’t mind if this happens in fantasy movies with non-existant creatures but not in a series about humans and by someone who’s supposedly the good guy. Besides this, Ryan Phillipe reminds me of a pouting school boy, not a seasoned veteran. Maybe it’s just my age…

The further you get into the series, the more unbelievable it becomes. We finished the first season, but I doubt we’re going to watch the following two.

Summary

Shooter is a good show to get away from it all and have you on the edge of your seat for a couple of evenings but don’t expect it to be too realistic or see fantastic performances.

I haven’t seen the movie with Mark Wahlberg as the sniper, but I’m dying to see it now.

What To Watch? The Limehouse Golem

Ever since I saw The Boat That Rocked/Pirate Radio in 2009, I’ve been a fan of Bill Nighy’s work. Obviously, I like him best in Underworld, but he also plays in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, another two of my favorites. He didn’t disappoint in the movie I’m about to talk about in this post.

The Limehouse Golem

Limehouse_Golem.jpgCast

Bill Nighy plays Inspector John Kildare, the main character who has to solve the murders. Originally, Alan Rickman was given the role of the inspector, but he had to withdraw due to declining health. I would have liked to have seen Rickman in the role as I think his appearance and voice would have suited the role better, but Nighy does a great job as well.

The second main character, Lizzy Cree-charged with murdering her husband, is played by Olivia Cooke. She puts down a very good performance, reminding me a bit of Helena Bonham Carter. Douglas Booth plays Dan Leno, the actor/cross-dresser, and I wouldn’t mind seeing more of him on the screen. Acting, of course. Daniel Mays was a very convincing constable George Flood, Sam Reid the weird and creepy John Cree, and Maria Valverde the jealous Aveline Ortega.

Plot

Nighy plays Inspector John Kildare, a man appointed to investigate seemingly unsolvable Limehouse Golem murders. These murders, graphically depicted, are so gruesome that people think no human being could have committed them. Lizzy Cree is the wife of John Cree, found dead in his bed. When the maid, Aveline Ortega, hands the police officer a vial with poison she found in the kitchen, Lizzy is taken into custody on the suspicion of murdering her husband. Kildare links the murder of John Cree to the Limehouse Golem murders. Throughout the story, the interrogation of Lizzy by Kildare is interrupted by flashbacks of what has happened to Lizzy in the past. Only at the very end does Kildare figure out who has committed the murders.

What I liked about The Limehouse Golem

It is a wonderfully done period drama, mixing a whodunnit with horror (says who you can’t cross genre in one story?). I loved the women’s hairdos, the clothing, the setting. It was all very convincingly done.

The story starts slow, picking up the pace and keeping you on the edge of your seat as more as more red herrings are thrown into the story. You keep on guessing until the very end when the revelation is made.

It was nice to see some new faces on the screen.

What I didn’t like about The Limehouse Golem

Toward the end it became increasingly clear who had done it. There just wasn’t any evidence yet.

Summary

Overall, I thought it was a most enjoyable story, taking you back to Victorian London (a favorite time of mine). It is a nice way to spend an evening, trying to guess who the perpetrator is and seeing the elimination process develop. Performances are great, enhancing the enjoyment. I recommend this movie to those with a strong stomach due to the graphic depictions of the murders.

What To Watch? Cargo

Cargo is a movie we watched over a week ago, but it is still lingering in my brain. It certainly had good enough qualities to do so. It was written by Yolanda Ramke for the Adelaide Film Festival, and this version is directed by her and Ben Howling.

Cargo

Cargo-Movie-poster.jpg

Cast

Martin Freeman is the main character of this movie, Andy. He’s himself, a father and husband this time, with the same frustrated/not-getting-it expression that we all love about him. And a beard, which is something new. The other main character, Thoomi, is played by Simone Landers. She’s a young Aboriginal girl who did a great job. Other actors are Anthony Hayes (from Rabbit-Proof Fence), Caren Pistorius, David Gulpilil (from Rabbit-Proof Fence, Ten Canoes (a very funny movie), Crocodile Dundee, and many other Australian movies), Susie Porter (as Kay, Andy’s wife), Kris McQuade (from A Country PracticeHome and AwayThe Flying Doctors, Blue Heelers), Bruce R. Carter, and Natasha Wanganeen.

Plot

The world is thrown into chaos as a virus turns people into zombies. The government has handed out kits to kill yourself/those infected, including a watch that tells you how much time you have from being bitten to turning into a flesh-eating monster.

Andy, his wife Kay, and their one-year-old daughter, Rosie, are trying to stay safe on a riverboat in the Australian bush (yes, there are rivers in the bush in Australia 😀 ). When they stumble upon an abandoned boat, they forage there for food. Kay gets bitten by a person hiding on the boat but doesn’t tell Andy. When she turns and bites Andy, he’s got forty-eight hours to find someone to take care of their daughter.

What I liked about Cargo

It is a heart-wrenching story. A father who knows he’s going to die/turn into a zombie tries to find a carer for his daughter. What’s not to love? Freeman is portraying the role very well. Personally, I’d be a bit more frustrated and impatient, but that’s just me 😀 .

I loved the incorporation of the Aboriginal culture, dealing with the threat in the most natural way. The culture of ancient tribes is disappearing faster than you can think, and it makes you realize that this may not be for the good of humankind.

What I didn’t like about Cargo

Some parts of the story are very predictable, but that’s about it. It’s still a very entertaining story with incredible performances that pluck your heartstrings.

I thought the special effects were a bit tacky (lol, almost literally!), but it did the job.

Summary

Cargo is a movie about hope, survival, and humanity (good and bad) that will make you laugh, scream, and cry. Honestly, get the tissue box ready!

What To Watch? Solo

This weekend my son wanted to watch Deadpool with his mates. We were chartered to cart him and his buddies to and fro. As we live a forty-five-minute drive away from the cinema, it was no use going back home again. So, we decided to watch a movie ourselves. We wanted to see Deadpool as well but didn’t want to spoil the boys’ fun. There wasn’t a lot of movies that my husband and I both wanted to watch, so we settled on Solo.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Solo-a-star-wars-story.jpg

Cast

It is very hard to find an actor who can pull of being the younger version of a famous actor, especially one that has to portray Han Solo, i.e. Harrison Ford. Alden Ehrenreich was a very good choice. Although he kept reminding me of a young Leonardo DiCaprio, he does look like the ‘old’ Han Solo when you take a better look. He sure seems to have his charm (or is it DiCaprio’s charm?).

I hadn’t seen any previews of the movie and was surprised to see Woody Harrelson as Tobias Beckett, the criminal/friend of Han, and Emilia Clarke (aka Daenerys Targaryen from GoT) as Han’s girlfriend Qi’ra. It took me a few minutes to actually recognize Harrelson, but it was his typical acting that gave it away.  I didn’t recognize Clarke with the bob hairdo either. Only when she changed her hairstyle did I see her smile (with the amazingly pretty teeth). Donald Glover did a good job portraying the young Lando, Phoebe Waller-Bridge was very funny as Lando’s droid companion, and Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca.

Alden_Ehenreich_vs_Harrison_Ford.JPG

Plot

Qi’ra and Han live on a shipbuliding planet called Corellia and are made to steal to survive. When they get their hands on some coaxium, a powerful hyperspace fuel, they use it as their ticket to get off the planet and start a new life. Unfortunately, only Han makes it out and Qi’ra is captured.

Han enlists and becomes a pilot but is expelled for subordination and now fights in the infantry. For three years he tries to get back to Corellia to save his sweetheart Qi’ra, but things don’t go as planned.  He teams up with outlaw Beckett to steal a big score of coaxium. With the profit, he hopes to finally go back to Corellia.

What I liked about Solo

I liked seeing a new face as the main character, even though he did resemble other actors. I liked seeing Emilia Clarke making a career outside GoT. I’ve seen her in the fifth Terminator movie, Terminator Genisys, but thought that was just a one-off. Good for her to continue her career outside GoT! I liked seeing Woody Harrelson as I think he’s funny. Whatever role he has, he’s always Woody. And I like that.

What I didn’t like about Solo

I won’t lie. The movie was extremely predictable. Obviously, we already know Han ends up with Chewie as his best mate, that he hasn’t got a girlfriend, and that he flies the Millenium Falcon. I guess I expected more twists, more one-liners, more… something. I recently read that screenwriters did a bad job if you can speak the lines before the actors did. That’s what happened while I was watching this movie.

Summary

Even though the movie was incredibly predictable, it was still good entertainment, and as I grew up a Star Wars fan, I couldn’t pass this one up.

Solo

What To Watch? Rampage

Yesterday, we decided on a whim to go to the cinema again. The only option we had, with our daughter in tow, was Rampage, a science fiction monster movie. We were not disappointed.

Rampage

Rampage_2

Cast

The main character, and probably the main reason why people go and watch this movie as you know it’s going to be a good one, is Dwayne Johnson. He plays primatologist David Okoye, working at San Diego wildlife preserve. During his anti-poaching unit days, he rescued albino gorilla George and raised him, teaching him sign language. Okoye happens to have a special forces background (very handy).

Naomie Harris plays his side-kick, Dr. Kate Caldwell, the scientist who knows everything that is going on. Another major player is the cowboy OGA (Other Government Agency) agent Harvey Russell, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. The bad guy in the movie is a woman, CEO of Energyne Claire Wyden, played by Malin Åkerman.

Plot

Energyne has done some experiments in space that are too terrible to perform on earth. Unfortunately, things go amiss, and the space station blows up. Amidst the debris that falls to the earth are three samples of the experiment which change the DNA of the three animals that come into contact with them: George the gorilla, a wild wolf, and a crocodile. They grow out of control and get very aggressive. Claire sends out a signal from the top of the company’s building, luring the genetically modified animals to the city. She hopes that the animals kill Dr. Caldwell and so prevent her from spilling the beans on the terrible things Energyne has done.

What I liked about Rampage

Rampage is a good old-fashioned humoristic action movie, up there with 2012, San Andreas, and Godzilla. Having Dwayne Johnson in there is a big attraction although I was a bit disappointed he didn’t show off his pecs bounce 😀 . The humor is funny, sometimes predictable, but well spaced.

Rampage_3.jpgThe CG is spectacular. George is almost human with very life-like facial expressions. The people who have put their minds together to come up with the changes of the wolf and crocodile have been extremely creative. There was one revelation that made my jaw drop. They missed out on some opportunity for George, though.

What I didn’t like about Rampage

There were an awful lot of ‘WTF?’ moments in this movie. At one point, a whole building wall falls over while Johnson jumps out of the window (several stories high), yet there is not a scratch on him. Bullets don’t seem to hurt him either. Those are the little moments that take you out of the otherwise spectacular action scenes. But, as I already stated, the movie needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

Summary

Rampage is a fun movie that can be watched by teenaged children (there’s one graphic sexual innuendo at the end) and any lover of huge monsters. It is 107 minutes of fun, spectacular action, and awesome CG.

Rampage_1

What To Watch? The Blues Brothers

Yesterday evening I was browsing through the Netflix assortment for a good movie and stumbled upon The Blues Brothers. It was a movie I wanted to show my kids for a long, long time. I’m not sure for how long this movie will be available, but I suggest you watch it while it’s there!

The Blues Brothers

Blues_Brothers.JPG

This musical comedy is from 1980, nearly forty years old, and a classic. It brought back good memories of my teenage time. I was amazed at how I still could sing every song along 🙂

Cast

The cast in this movie is outstanding. Next to John Belushi as Jake ‘Joliet’ Blues and Dan Ayckroyd as Elwood Blues, there’s a whole list of music greats such as singers James Brown, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, John Lee Hooker, musicians Steve “the Colonel” Cropper, Donald “Duck” Dunn, Murphy “Murph” Dunne, Willie “Too Big” Hall, Tom “Bones” Malone, “Blue Lou” Marini, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, and “Mr. Fabulous” Alan Rubin. There are guest roles of actors Carrie Fisher, Henry Gibson, John Candy, and model Twiggy.

Plot

When Jake Blues comes out of a three-year stint in prison, he finds out that the ‘Penguin,’ i.e. the nun who runs the orphanage where Jake and Elwood grew up, owes $5000 in taxes. When they visit the church (where James Brown delivering the gospel), Jake is enlightened, and they decide to ‘put the band back together’ to raise the money to save the orphanage. Unfortunately, in the past three years, the band has been dissolved and Jake and Elwood have to convince their ex-band members to leave their current jobs to join the band again.

What I liked about The Blues Brothers

This movie is extremely funny and just rocks! It’s not a true musical where dialogue is sung. This is rather a show of great songs with some (dubious) acting around it. Most of the songs texts have some link to what is happening, but mostly it’s about the music itself. The plot is fun, slapstick like, the dialogue full of funny one-liners (see image above), and the car chases unbelievable (making it one of the most expensive comedies according to Wikipedia).

Another thing I liked about this movie is its unpretentiousness. Even though the movie was made in 1980, there is no hint of any form of discrimination (leaving out the far right extremists in this remark, of course 😀 ). Yes, there is a scene where Aretha Franklin is left by her ‘man’ (so he can join the band) after her pleading him not to go, but she is the owner of the shop; a very independent woman. There are no remarks about looks or disabilities, and people of all shapes and races sing and dance together without putting emphasis on the fact. What I’m trying to say it that I like that people are in it for their abilities, not for what they look like.

What I didn’t like about The Blues Brothers

Don’t expect to see great acting. They must have been time-deprived when filming John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd tiptoeing to the music as any five-year-old would be able to do it better 😀 . It’s a fact that John Belushi’s drug problem made filming take longer and more expensive, but this didn’t make his acting better. Their singing is also not of the best quality and is better left to the professionals 😀

Even though John Landis edited Dan Aykroyd’s script, the dialogue is still quite stinted most of the time.

Summary

The Blues Brothers is a fun movie with great music that needs to be watched at least once in your lifetime.

The Blues Brothers is available on Amazon.

What To Watch? Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

It’s the school holidays, so we’ve been going to the cinema a few times and watched a couple of movies on TV. With my daughter, I went to see Coco on Friday morning, a very entertaining and musical movie. I didn’t keep a dry eye watching that one, no matter how hard I tried. On Saturday evening, the whole family went to see Ready Player One. My daughter had read the book and told us the movie didn’t follow what happened in the book. Nevertheless, it was an entertaining movie. But, what was in the front of my memory queue was Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, a movie on Netflix. Here’s my review.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Valerian1

Cast

This epic sci-fi movie is written, directed, and co-produced by Luc Besson and is based on the French comics series of Valérian et Laureline, written by Pierre Christin and illustrated by Jean-Claude Mézières. Although there are some great names in the supporting roles list, with Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, Herbie Hancock, Kris Wu, and Rutger Hauer making an appearance, the main characters were played by Dane DeHaan as Valerian and Cara Delevingne as Laureline, actors I have never heard of or seen before.

Plot

The setting is a huge, ex-earth space station, called Alpha, floating in deep space where millions of creatures of a thousand planets reside.

The story is about two Alpha ‘space agents,’ Valerian and Laureline, who need to rescue a creature, the last of its species. It’s a special creature as it is able to replicate anything and is very valuable on the black market.  Of course, nothing goes as planned, and all sort of excitement and mishaps happen. A thread throughout the story is the relationship between Valerian and Laureline.

Valerian2

What I liked about Valerian and the City if a Thousand Planets

This is an incredibly colorful movie, full of strange creatures, adventure, and action. Even though the movie lasts well over two hours, I only got bored one moment. Mostly there was so much to see and so much happening. I don’t know if it was my writer’s brain or not, but I want to watch it again just to see all the creatures in the background. The ideas are all wonderfully unconventional, a nice change from the usual.

The special effects are phenomenal and the choreography of the action was good to follow. The scene with Rhianna performing was perhaps a bit over the top, but very entertaining.

Valerian3

What I didn’t like about Valerian and the City if a Thousand Planets

As you can see on the image with the comics illustration above, the actors don’t really look like the comics characters. I didn’t know the movie was based on the comics series before I watched it, so it didn’t bother me. What I did find annoying was that Cara Delevingne doesn’t have a lot of facial expressions and has extremely thick eyebrows and that Dane DeHaan comes over as a spoiled teenager rather than a handsome, dashing space agent. For such an expensive movie (apparently the most expensive non-American and independent film ever made), you’d think they could have gotten better actors for those roles.

As I mentioned before, toward the end there was one moment my thoughts drifted away as the story was getting a bit bland. According to my husband, I didn’t miss much.

Summary

If you like sci-fi, adventure, and strange creatures, this is the movie to watch! It’s a movie for all ages that will keep you in your seat for over two hours.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is available on Amazon.

 

valerian4.jpg