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Re: Review Thread 

Message par NihilisticNinja » Mer Août 17, 2016 2:49 am

Here's a lengthy diatribe against the Steins;Gate movie, copy and pasted from my review on another site:

Spoiler : Spoilers. You've been warned. :
I'd heard very mixed things about this movie. Some "It's decent" and some "It's horrible". So I decided to give it a shot myself. And I ended up on the "con" side.

Now, I'll just kind of grant them the retcon the movie needs in order for its plot to function. It's a blatant rewrite of how story mechanics worked, but in the end, I can let that slide, more or less. There are much bigger issues here.

It's worth noting that the animation does look very nice, as should be expected with the increased budget (and lesser runtime) of a film production. The voice acting is also very good. However, in the end, that part isn't that important. What is important is the story, characters, and whatnot.

The first thing that annoys me about this movie is the pacing. Outside of two incidences of foreshadowing, nothing significant in this movie happens until twenty minutes in, and the plot proper doesn't begin until thirty-three minutes in. So, if one were to be ungenerous, they could argue that roughly one-third of the film is buildup and filler.

This wouldn't necessarily be a problem if those twenty to thirty-three minutes were used to advance characterization, show how the characters have grown in the last year since the conclusion of the series, or even be entertaining in some new way. But it's not. Aside from the foreshadowing, you get characters acting essentially the same way that they did in the series, the same unfunny and dumb ruka, tsundere, pervert, and fat jokes that you got in the series, and absolutely no sign of these characters growing.

The only real exception is Okabe and Kurisu's relationship. Kurisu clearly has an interest in Okabe being more honest about his feelings for her, while Okabe seems to still want to keep this a secret. I'd be willing to be generous and say that why this is was covered in the series by the end, but the movie itself makes it entirely unclear why Okabe is so gunshy about making his feelings public, making it feel, more than anything else, like he's stringing Kurisu along. There's also a minor aspect where Kurisu starts to overcome her skepticism regarding the whole "time travel" deal. But these are incredibly minor aspects of the first thirty minutes of the film.

Then the film finally starts proper. It feels like the first portion of this film could have been interesting, with Kurisu continually having creeping sensations that something is wrong, and then something confronting her with that fact and moving her to action. We could also have gotten a better perspective on what the characters were like, and how they were different, if Okabe had never been in their lives. You would expect Mayuri in particular to be a relatively different person. But because so much run time was devoted to filler, we rush through the initial revelation in a couple minutes, and get Kurisu aware of the problem almost immediately.

Not that it matters, the characters are essentially the same anyway, which seems like a shocking ignorance of the impact of the butterfly effect for a time-travel story. Not to mention that even without Okabe, everybody knows each other and are friends. It'd have been interesting to learn how that happened, but we just don't have time for that evidently.

And then even after the plot starts, it stops so that we can have a several minute exposition dump about what's happening. Which, I wouldn't mind as much, except that the first thirty minutes were spent mostly wasting time, so I want the movie to actually cut to the chase. But it doesn't. Instead we then get Okabe lecturing Kurisu on how she shouldn't change things and let things stay as they are. While I was slightly irritated by Okabe's self-righteousness, he at least made an interesting argument; that when you travel in time, you can never truly "win". You'll end up losing something even if you gain something else in the end and suffer that pain, along with the pain inflicted on you when you lose. Now if Suzuha or Kurisu had actually engaged Okabe on this point and it had actually been discussed, that could have been interesting. But it isn't. Kurisu just makes some emotional appeals and then the scene ends. It just feels like a lot of wasted potential.

And then, after a couple stops and starts, the plot REALLY starts at 69 minutes in. Now, you could argue that this constant struggle of Kurisu wanting to accept Okabe's wishes but not being able to overcome her feelings for him is interesting and intriguing, but it just doesn't function as anything resembling a skilled character study, mostly because no factors are considered beyond Kurisu's feelings for Okabe. There is no cost-benefit analysis, nothing about her character is truly analyzed, no counter-arguments made to Okabe's position. Kurisu just goes ahead and does it, thus making the last dozen minutes feel like a waste of time.

The closest we get to a rationale (and the closest we get to any sort of Butterfly Effect-type deal regarding Okabe vanishing from the timeline) is that the Future Gadget lab will shut down, because Daru simply doesn't have the motivation to keep it running. Now, you would think that if Kurisu cared enough, she would be willing to offer to pay the rent out of her own pocket (as a renowned scientist and lecturer who can afford cross-country trips, I imagine she makes a decent amount of money), but let's set that aside. Overall the only impact Okabe missing has is just this generic "glue that keeps the group together", which isn't particularly original or interesting.

And sadly when the plot finally starts, it's just a rehash of the plot of the second half of Steins;Gate crammed into a couple dozen minutes. You would think changing the protagonist would actually mix tihngs up, but it doesn't really. The only really difference isn't due to Kurisu's personality or Kurisu's beliefs per se, but in essence things OKABE told them. Okabe manages to dominate the narrative in a story revolving about him vanishing from existence. How's that for irony?

So then things finally happen and they're pretty interesting I guess, there's some good moments in there. But all the time spent having to waste getting to them essentially burnt up all my good will towards the movie and just made me wish that they had been in something better.

This movie had potential. I think the concept does work and could be interesting, but the pacing and lack of care for characterization or really, interesting things to happen just doomed this movie from the start. I'm not mad, honest. Just disappointed.
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Re: Review Thread 

Message par Calvinball » Mer Août 09, 2017 9:00 am

So, a movie called Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets came out. I saw it. It's... probably best described as not terrible, but really not good either. It's the worst movie I've seen that I also enjoyed watching. It's not "so bad it's good," but it's entertaining at times, and if you're the sort of person, you might be amused at where it falls short.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is based off an old French comic called Valérian and Laureline, published from 1967 to 2010. The comic is a landmark in Western sci-fi, and its inspiration can be seen in stuff like Star Wars and everything that inspired. Personally, I decided to watch the movie because of the history behind the franchise, though I know too little about the comics themselves to know how much the movie lived up to that. So my review will be from the perspective of a guy who saw the movie but knows pretty little about what it's based on.

To say anything more about my thoughts would be spoilers, so... here goes. Don't expect anything too organized, but hopefully you'll get my thoughts on the film clearly enough.

WARNING: This is pretty ranty. The good things about the movie are, for the most part, obvious enough, but there's a LOT that I don't like, and I spend almost all of my time there.

Spoiler : Review of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, with SPOILERS :
Valerian is a movie that's being pulled in a lot of different directions, and not in the way you might suspect. Here's the fastest way I can describe this movie:

It is on the one hand a movie that ultimately becomes an allegory for the genocide of Native Americans and the need for the US government to more openly acknowledge its historical role in that and make amends.

It is also a movie that has some pretty deeply ingrained problems involving sexism, female objectification, and racism.

That's what I mean about being pulled in different directions.

Now, the allegory I could see being debatable, because that's pretty heavy for what's supposed to be a kind of summer blockbuster, but hear me out. The bad guy of the movie is a Human Federation military commander who, during a battle over a planet inhabited by a "primitive" people who lived in harmony with nature, gave the order to use weapons that everyone knew would cause colossal fallout and wipe out the planet below, intentionally deciding to sacrifice those people below for the sake of the march of "history," as he put it. During the movie, this commander goes to extreme lengths to cover up the existence of the survivors of this people and wipe the rest of them out, arguing that if the Human Federation were to acknowledge this heinous act, it would lose political standing, be forced to endure sanctions and reparations, and might no longer be the dominant force in the universe.

I'm not really sure what this is if it isn't supposed to be an allegory for American expansion across the North American continent leading to the decline and near-total-wipe-out of Native American civilization.

So, the movie deserves some credit for what is a pretty gutsy message. This does not feel like the sanitized, data-driven message a corporate boardroom would create.

And yet it feels undermined by so many other things in the film.

The movie opens with a montage of the construction of Alpha station, built through the collaboration of all of humanity, and a scene is repeated in different forms for the montage: a spacecraft docks onto the station, expanding it, and its crew steps in to meet the crew already present. For the part of the montage depicting earthlings, the captain of the station just so happens to always be a white male. At first, it's the same white male; no big deal, he's just the captain, continuing captaining. But as the montage goes on, there are new captains of the station, all still Euro-American male. Even when the aliens start showing up, and this is supposed to be a Human Federation station.

Now, that's not the hugest deal. It mostly just feels annoying within the context of all other Hollywood casts feeling dominated by white men. It happening in the film is fine, it's its place in the grand scheme of things that I take issue with.

Anyway. This is followed by a REALLY long section about those one-with-nature aliens I mentioned earlier. I'll admit that I was mostly just thinking that for a movie that mentions a guy named Valerian and a City of a Thousand Planets in the title, it sure takes its sweet time actually depicting either.

But, eventually, we meet the man. Valerian is our white, male protagonist, Laureline our white, female deuteragonist. They're federal agents for the United Human Federation, and we meet them on a beach in a holodeck type of thing.

Quick thing, while the comic is named after BOTH protagonists, the movie's title bills only Valerian. And it's not like this movie isn't about Laureline that much; she features pretty heavily and is very arguably the more fun and interesting character.

Further digression: while I don't know much about the original comic, I DO know that Laureline was, in that comic, a peasant from 11th century France time traveled into Valerian's time. Alas, while a fish-out-of-water subplot might've been interesting, they do away with that for the movie, or at least never mention that. But anyway.

The trouble with Valerian as a character is that he's one of the WORST people in the entire movie. He shows little respect for his partner (and lover?) Laureline, and while he talks about how much he appreciates her, he doesn't act like it very consistently. He says he'll only work with his partner, yet so often tells her to stay behind while he goes ahead to do stuff.

One time, they're both acting as I think bodyguards for a commander. They're just supposed to stand behind him in a meeting room, but Valerian tells Laureline to wait out in the empty hallway. For no really discernible reason. He doesn't mention her needing to stand guard, after all. And if that was important, you'd think at least ONE other person would be there too! Maybe some bodyguards for the other delegations at that meeting, representing all the species on Alpha station? Though apparently they feel safe enough without bodyguards, because the only soldiers and officers there are human ones. /shrug/ That last bit's really just an oversight in the scene, I guess.

Valerian does it again near the end of the movie. They're about to go through a portal with some aliens, and Valerian tells Laureline to wait outside and call backup. Laureline, in my opinion justifiably annoyed with Valerian's treatment of her, says that he should call for backup while SHE does something for once (her line is actually kind of similar to that, seriously), and goes through. Valerian... does NOT call for backup, and just goes in with her. So... they didn't really need backup after all?

And that's just ONE example of Valerian being a lousy dude. At one point, when Laureline's been kidnapped and needs rescuing, Valerian needs to recruit this shapeshifter pole dancer/stripper alien in order to infiltrate the bad guy camp. It's not important how this works. But when he goes to find this alien, she starts her dance... and he just watches. For some FIVE MINUTES, I think, while Laureline is just kidnapped, possibly in danger, who knows how long she has to live! I guess Valerian's all "well, that can wait for now while I enjoy some pole dancing."

And when he FINALLY talks to this alien about helping him, he doesn't ask politely, but by pointing a GUN at her head and threatening her. And this is just a civilian! Why didn't he just start with that if this is how it was going to end anyway? But no, I guess Laureline has to wait while Valerian... does his thing, or something.

At the end of the movie, Valerian and Laureline are now on the side of the nearly-extinct aliens, now knowing the truth of the situation, and Laureline's about to give them this alien rat-thing that will help them recreate their world. Again, not important how it works. But Valerian stops her, pointing out that the rat-thing was confiscated by the government and is federal property. Laureline rebukes him for this, and Valerian says, "I'm a soldier. I follow the rules."

Except, at the beginning of the movie, during the mission where he confiscated this rat-thing from a crime lord, Valerian ALSO stole some magic-pearl-thing from the crime lord's client. And he just took it, it wasn't part of the mission, and he kept it a secret after that. So... so much for following the rules? Plus, that pearl-thing he stole? It actually belonged to the nearly-extinct aliens I mentioned earlier. He almost doomed their people.

Also, because he took extra time to steal that pearl, Valerian ends up taking too long on the mission. Because of this, the crime lord is able to mobilize fast enough to kill the mission crew sans Valerian and Laureline. Obviously Valerian didn't mean to do this, but if he hadn't stolen the pearl, his crew might've lived.

And I know Valerian grabs the pearl because he saw it in his dream, but still, he behaved selfishly, and people DIED because of it! And he later tries to claim he can't return the rat-thing to the aliens because he "follows rules."

Near the beginning of the movie, Valerian sticks some gunk to a little alien kid's face, just to amuse himself! In fairness, this alien kid got that gunk on Valerian in the first place, and intentionally, but he's young enough to only know one word, so Valerian's reaction seems a bit harsh.

When Laureline accuses Valerian of being scared of commitment, he very lamely proposes to her some hour later. Just out of the blue. As if he thinks Laureline wants to marry him!

And all of this would be fine if the movie was clear about how awful a person Valerian was. If it made Valerian look like a complicated dude; a man who would save the world, but was still messed up. But it just doesn't. Valerian is unabashedly drawn up as a hero. He seems to be fairly well-regarded as a major, enough for the Federation minister to overlook how he's taking too long (and apparently ask NO QUESTIONS about the crew they met up with all being totally dead). He's a ladykiller, with tons of sexual conquests (enough for his "playlist" to take up a wall when displayed). And Laureline is CONSTANTLY sticking her neck out to save him and help him, and ultimately is in love with him.

So... Valerian, who doesn't really change TOO much by the end of the movie (besides being convinced to give the rat-thing to the aliens and save their people), is considered by the movie to be a hero. Even though he's... pretty awful.

Laureline is MUCH better and more fun and interesting, though there's also problems surrounding her. My first problem with her is how much she loves Valerian; when she's in trouble, she calls out for him, and she escapes from military custody in order to find him and rescue him early on in the movie. If she just ditched Valerian, this movie would be WAY better.

Laureline has attitude and is tough and no-nonsense. She's very talented and skilled, but it's also a bit implied that in some ways her willingness to let her frustration with the world show sometimes holds her back. When she tries to go rescue Valerian, she's promptly arrested by the military for her own safety (though she escapes handily enough in a pretty cool fight scene). She has a temper that flares and rejects Valerian's marriage proposal all the way through the movie (though unfortunately remains firmly in love with him).

However, there's an issue Laureline and Valerian share. They're both REALLY violent. And I know that violence is par for the course in an action flick, but... it kind of goes pretty far. Let me put it this way: in the first action sequence, the bad guys trying to stop Valerian don't shoot to kill. They shoot magnetic spheres at him that just slow him down and incapacitate him; (some of) the bad guys are non-violent (though other ones, like the crime lord and his thugs, are VERY violent).

Compare that to our heroes. When Valerian needs the help of that shapeshifter alien stripper, he puts a gun to her head. When Valerian needs a gun, he freeze-rays a random station police officer solid and never goes back to un-freeze him. When Laureline is buying information from three unarmed and harmless-looking civilian information brokers and they press her for more money (money which she IS capable of giving them), she shoots one of them in the shoulder and threatens to kill one. In the finale, when Laureline and Valerian have the Big Bad captured, while Valerian fights his mooks, Laureline... punches him in the face over and over again. Completely serious. And I have no idea WHY. They have enough evidence to arrest him, and the general later does, so they didn't need a confession. Laureline just beats the dude up (for a second time that day) for... no real reason I can think of.

But enough about our protagonists. There are other problems.

This might be the last one I talk about. It's about Rihanna's scene. She plays the alien shapeshifter prostitute/stripper. And as mentioned, we get like, a solid five minutes of her doing PG-13 alien shapeshifter prostitute/stripper stuff.

Ah, but then the gravity turns on! When Rihanna (who's character is named Bubble, believe it or not) is pressed into Valerian's service, she reveals that she's an illegal immigrant, far from home, pressed into this industry when she was four-years-old. It feels superbly clunky, and the line delivery is... um... what it is. But I so badly WANT to give the movie credit for trying to be serious about such a serious thing.

...Except it comes AFTER the five solid minutes of oversexualization and objectification of Bubble/Rihanna who has just danced for Valerian after he has paid money to what can only be her pimp to watch her dance.

Kiiiinda undermines the whole scene about Bubble's backstory, if you ask me. With the right hand, the movie tries to show how DEEP and MEANINGFUL and CURRENT it is by being serious about prostitution and how many involved are victims of human trafficking and coercion. With the left hand, it gleefully takes your money in exchange for parading that character in front of your for five minutes (while Laureline is in danger, might I remind you!).

And yet... I did enjoy the movie. The visuals were pretty legitimately dazzling. The Big Market action scene was REALLY cool. I was always rooting for Laureline, and those I watched the movie with really liked Rihanna. And, as I said, the movie IS a kinda gutsy allegory about the US government and Native Americans. I don't know HOW that got in, but it's there and it's hard to un-see it. Also, the Big Bad is as hammy and blustery as it gets, and I'll admit to being a sucker for that.

So, yeah. This movie is not good. But it's not COMPLETELY terrible. It is possible for you to have fun while watching it, even though there are SO MANY things wrong with it.

I give it a final rating of:

Turnabout Storyteller / 5
The score is still Q to 12. Shirley Homes avatar by my Invisible Friend. They're an awesome artist!
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Shirley Homes
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A big thanks to gotMLK7 for this Shirley Homes and Connie Harper art. He is an awesome artist!
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Re: Review Thread 

Message par Tiagofvarela » Mer Août 09, 2017 4:45 pm

There are a few things I'd like to point out, since this is, like, the first recent film I've watched in ages. Most of them not direct counter-points but merely my opinion.
My responses are in bold.
Calvinball a écrit :
Spoiler : Review of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, with SPOILERS :
Now, that's not the hugest deal. It mostly just feels annoying within the context of all other Hollywood casts feeling dominated by white men. It happening in the film is fine, it's its place in the grand scheme of things that I take issue with.
Ah. Interesting. I'm certainly not bothered, and never have been, by the 'dominance' of white men in roles for such films. First because I don't watch enough of such films, and second because I live in Europe and I'm simply used to seeing white people everywhere. I wonder how my opinion would differ if I were from somewhere else in the world where there wasn't such a white majority...?
I get where you're coming from (as I love when an organisation representing all nations has all sorts of people in it, and reminds me of a Disney film), but it feels artificial to me to 'create' an ethnic variety. I think it's just something that occurs with me when I think on a conscious level: "Oh, we have to have diversity!" is not something I think would should have to 'think' about. Frankly, I'd like it if stuff like this was something people didn't think about, but if you're going to do what feels natural, then it's natural that white males will create white characters. (depends on the person, but the familiar tends to be more natural)
And then it cycles back to the problems with over-saturation.


Quick thing, while the comic is named after BOTH protagonists, the movie's title bills only Valerian. And it's not like this movie isn't about Laureline that much; she features pretty heavily and is very arguably the more fun and interesting character.
Despite this being less than comprehensive research I feel compelled to note that it's gone by many names, the majority of which do not include Laureline. I know for a fact that the Portuguese versions mention only Valerian in the title. Not particularly strange for this to be.

Further digression: while I don't know much about the original comic, I DO know that Laureline was, in that comic, a peasant from 11th century France time traveled into Valerian's time. Alas, while a fish-out-of-water subplot might've been interesting, they do away with that for the movie, or at least never mention that. But anyway.
Interesting...

The trouble with Valerian as a character is that he's one of the WORST people in the entire movie. He shows little respect for his partner (and lover?) Laureline, and while he talks about how much he appreciates her, he doesn't act like it very consistently. He says he'll only work with his partner, yet so often tells her to stay behind while he goes ahead to do stuff.
I don't find that to be inconsistent behaviour. I find that to be the behaviour of a guy who wants to be with someone but doesn't want that someone to get hurt.
Unfortunately, this is also highly connected to the idea that, being a man, he feels he has to protect the woman. I don't like to think about in those terms, but I can't deny that it may convey that message.
In that sense, I think it'd be interesting if those roles were reversed...


One time, they're both acting as I think bodyguards for a commander. They're just supposed to stand behind him in a meeting room, but Valerian tells Laureline to wait out in the empty hallway. For no really discernible reason. He doesn't mention her needing to stand guard, after all. And if that was important, you'd think at least ONE other person would be there too! Maybe some bodyguards for the other delegations at that meeting, representing all the species on Alpha station? Though apparently they feel safe enough without bodyguards, because the only soldiers and officers there are human ones. /shrug/ That last bit's really just an oversight in the scene, I guess.
Putting aside the fact that only the commander of the whole... station(?) ended up getting such bodyguards, are you sure he didn't mention needing to stand guard? It's highly possible I have a bad (actually, it's good) habit of automatically filling in gaps with my most logical assumption, but I came off that scene believing one of them had to stay outside (due to protocol and making sure nothing suspicious happened outside the room), and it was just a case of Valerian insisting on her being the one.

Valerian does it again near the end of the movie. They're about to go through a portal with some aliens, and Valerian tells Laureline to wait outside and call backup. Laureline, in my opinion justifiably annoyed with Valerian's treatment of her, says that he should call for backup while SHE does something for once (her line is actually kind of similar to that, seriously), and goes through. Valerian... does NOT call for backup, and just goes in with her. So... they didn't really need backup after all?
They're both rather gung-ho individuals most of the time, but yes, I agree that there was one logical course of action to take here and Valerian didn't want her to go in alone, ditching the logical course. Again with the whole not wanting her to be hurt but/and wanting to be with her.

And that's just ONE example of Valerian being a lousy dude. At one point, when Laureline's been kidnapped and needs rescuing, Valerian needs to recruit this shapeshifter pole dancer/stripper alien in order to infiltrate the bad guy camp. It's not important how this works. But when he goes to find this alien, she starts her dance... and he just watches. For some FIVE MINUTES, I think, while Laureline is just kidnapped, possibly in danger, who knows how long she has to live! I guess Valerian's all "well, that can wait for now while I enjoy some pole dancing."

And when he FINALLY talks to this alien about helping him, he doesn't ask politely, but by pointing a GUN at her head and threatening her. And this is just a civilian! Why didn't he just start with that if this is how it was going to end anyway? But no, I guess Laureline has to wait while Valerian... does his thing, or something.
Whilst I will agree that Valerian was needlessly enamoured with the pole dancing, and that the sense of urgency was killed here, I feel you may have missed something in this scene, or I may have imagined something.
The 'pimp' insists that the people who go in disarm themselves. Then, once the pole dancing is over, Bubble approaches him and goes ever closer... whilst behind Valerian she was slowly trying to touch him with her normal self. What was this?
When I consider that the 'pimp' had, right before this scene started, said something that I can only recall as "I hate this part" (or just the opposite -- something that emphasised what was about to happen), I watched the scene as Bubble being used by the 'pimp' to kill/kidnap or whatever the people who came into his shop. Hence the disarming just earlier.
Which is why Valerian ends up pulling the gun just before she touches him with her tentacle thing on the back of his head.
Or so I ended up concluding as I watched.


At the end of the movie, Valerian and Laureline are now on the side of the nearly-extinct aliens, now knowing the truth of the situation, and Laureline's about to give them this alien rat-thing that will help them recreate their world. Again, not important how it works. But Valerian stops her, pointing out that the rat-thing was confiscated by the government and is federal property. Laureline rebukes him for this, and Valerian says, "I'm a soldier. I follow the rules."

Except, at the beginning of the movie, during the mission where he confiscated this rat-thing from a crime lord, Valerian ALSO stole some magic-pearl-thing from the crime lord's client. And he just took it, it wasn't part of the mission, and he kept it a secret after that. So... so much for following the rules? Plus, that pearl-thing he stole? It actually belonged to the nearly-extinct aliens I mentioned earlier. He almost doomed their people.
I understand the hypocrisy. I think of such things as a matter of "By stealing this pearl from a dirty crime lord I am in no way harming the King and country, and therefore not really violating their rules, if they even have rules for this sort of thing.".
Furthermore, I can understand your stance here, but! Before his interference, the nearly extinct alien species had just been betrayed, and were on path to their doom regardless. Not only did he give them a chance, he could not have known, at the time, of the consequences of his actions.
However, this is ultimately irrelevant. Both parties in that negotiation room were actively undermining the government Valerian works for. They stole the replicator from the government, and the government got it back. The nearly-extinct race was already doomed by the government to begin with.
I'm sorry, but there is absolutely no way in which I can be convinced that stealing a pearl he saw in his dreams from a crime lord was particularly out of line or contemptible behaviour.
In other food for thought: Let's say the trade did go off successfully. Replicator for pearl. Then... what? That was the only pearl, meaning the nearly extinct aliens can now do nothing with it! ...I'm assuming I misunderstood the trade and they actually promised the crime lord a bunch of pearls after they had gone home and replicated them.


Also, because he took extra time to steal that pearl, Valerian ends up taking too long on the mission. Because of this, the crime lord is able to mobilize fast enough to kill the mission crew sans Valerian and Laureline. Obviously Valerian didn't mean to do this, but if he hadn't stolen the pearl, his crew might've lived.
As I understood it, the problem was that his arm thing failed to change dimensions as intended, having malfunctioned, meaning he was now a susceptible floating arm which I think he didn't even realise until he was spotted.
I did not think this 'coincidence' was at all connected to the pearl.


And I know Valerian grabs the pearl because he saw it in his dream, but still, he behaved selfishly, and people DIED because of it! And he later tries to claim he can't return the rat-thing to the aliens because he "follows rules."
Because it belonged to the government.
He immediately returned the pearl he had taken from the crime lord when he learnt of the circumstances.


Near the beginning of the movie, Valerian sticks some gunk to a little alien kid's face, just to amuse himself! In fairness, this alien kid got that gunk on Valerian in the first place, and intentionally, but he's young enough to only know one word, so Valerian's reaction seems a bit harsh.
Eh... Let's just say I have no problem with this. At all. You got gunk on my face? Well, have a taste of your own medicine.
Age matters little here, and it should even help the kind understand why not to do that to people.
My own crazy mother used to lightly bite me as I child when I hurt my younger sister by biting her, so I'd understand what not to do.


And all of this would be fine if the movie was clear about how awful a person Valerian was. If it made Valerian look like a complicated dude; a man who would save the world, but was still messed up. But it just doesn't. Valerian is unabashedly drawn up as a hero. He seems to be fairly well-regarded as a major, enough for the Federation minister to overlook how he's taking too long (and apparently ask NO QUESTIONS about the crew they met up with all being totally dead). He's a ladykiller, with tons of sexual conquests (enough for his "playlist" to take up a wall when displayed). And Laureline is CONSTANTLY sticking her neck out to save him and help him, and ultimately is in love with him.
I see where you're coming from, or maybe not, because for me it's the opposite. Valerian is chock full of character defects. I actually appreciate how the film doesn't spend its time with a sermon on how he's got a bad personality, but neither does it go out of its way to paint such traits as a good thing. He is, for example, in constant conflict with Laureline because of these defects.
His competence as a major is well regarded, but not much else, or at least I got that impression from how people reacted to his cocky attitude.
As for the Federation Minister, I was actually more annoyed at him. "Oh, you're ten minutes late!" "Sorry, I just had to perform a top secret mission with every chance of going wrong and fight my way through hordes of criminals and guards."
It's very much a case of, from his point of view as a minister, these "on terrain" details don't really matter, and he just waits results. "Oh, they died? We'll dispatch a new team then."
(I will also take a moment to mention just how much I liked the way he went into a panic/OCD every time somebody drove a vehicle badly)


So... Valerian, who doesn't really change TOO much by the end of the movie (besides being convinced to give the rat-thing to the aliens and save their people), is considered by the movie to be a hero. Even though he's... pretty awful.
Yes. People have a thing for conflicted anti-heroes and so, but I love my heroes to be complete pricks that have just enough of a sense of morals to actually be the hero.
From my point of view, his main change over the course of the film was understanding just how important his love was to him, and how to respect her more, for the sake of their relationship. (i.e., I'll take risks with the government for you)


Laureline is MUCH better and more fun and interesting, though there's also problems surrounding her. My first problem with her is how much she loves Valerian; when she's in trouble, she calls out for him, and she escapes from military custody in order to find him and rescue him early on in the movie. If she just ditched Valerian, this movie would be WAY better.
Hmm...
It's at this point I realise that what 'would make the film better' is different from 'this makes no sense and has no justification', which is more or less how I've been replying to these. When you bring up this point, I can't exactly tell if it would be better, but it very well could.
Regardless, I will continue to explain why I have no issue with the developments as they took place.
Laureline being in love with Valerian is but another example of how love can try and bind you to bad people, and influence you badly, and cause you to have stupid emotions and take stupid actions you absolutely wish you hadn't on retrospect.


However, there's an issue Laureline and Valerian share. They're both REALLY violent. And I know that violence is par for the course in an action flick, but... it kind of goes pretty far. Let me put it this way: in the first action sequence, the bad guys trying to stop Valerian don't shoot to kill. They shoot magnetic spheres at him that just slow him down and incapacitate him; (some of) the bad guys are non-violent (though other ones, like the crime lord and his thugs, are VERY violent).

Compare that to our heroes. When Valerian needs the help of that shapeshifter alien stripper, he puts a gun to her head. When Valerian needs a gun, he freeze-rays a random station police officer solid and never goes back to un-freeze him. When Laureline is buying information from three unarmed and harmless-looking civilian information brokers and they press her for more money (money which she IS capable of giving them), she shoots one of them in the shoulder and threatens to kill one. In the finale, when Laureline and Valerian have the Big Bad captured, while Valerian fights his mooks, Laureline... punches him in the face over and over again. Completely serious. And I have no idea WHY. They have enough evidence to arrest him, and the general later does, so they didn't need a confession. Laureline just beats the dude up (for a second time that day) for... no real reason I can think of.
I have already explained my interpretation of the Bubble scene.
Ah, that guy. It looked to me like he mistakenly thought he might be pursued by the government for heading into the forbidden zone and then coming back. Which is why he non-lethaly stopped that guard from sharing his location (he was in an urgent situation of saving Laureline and could not afford to be brought back to base/be interrogated -- later contradicted by watching the whole pole scene as if he had all the time in the world), and took the opportunity to steal a gun. (the guard spotted him first, I believe? Or maybe we don't know that)
Whether or not it really was non-lethal and whether he would come back to normal on his own is up to speculation, however.

Why do you believe she was capable of paying them at that point in time? I did not get that impression. I do agree that being violent is a character trait of hers, though, one I did not think Valerian shared. And I love Laureline for it, despite it being obviously cartoony and aggressive.


Kiiiinda undermines the whole scene about Bubble's backstory, if you ask me. With the right hand, the movie tries to show how DEEP and MEANINGFUL and CURRENT it is by being serious about prostitution and how many involved are victims of human trafficking and coercion. With the left hand, it gleefully takes your money in exchange for parading that character in front of your for five minutes (while Laureline is in danger, might I remind you!).
I'll admit I don't see how.
She does her work as a prostitute, and when the pimp can no longer control her, and Valerian tries to make her trust that he means no harm in truth, she reveals the reality of the situation, a reality Valerian had already presumed.
But then again, you may have noticed by now I'm not even close to being the most sensitive of people in such matters, and could not care less about the delivery of the scene.
I so badly want to find a reason as to why Valerian watched the show, like how he initially stressed this isn't what he was there for, but I guess he got to dazzled by her moves to have an sense of urgency.


As you can see, a lot of the things are in the details, and the way people piece things together. I will freely admit to mostly trying to piece things together in such a way that they make sense for me, often leading to deriving meaning where there was intended to be none, or a different one.
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Re: Review Thread 

Message par Calvinball » Jeu Août 10, 2017 12:05 am

Thanks for sharing your thoughts; it's often good to hear another opinion. There's a few things I'd like to mention, since I realize I wasn't thorough in some places in my original review. My responses are in blue.

Tiagofvarela a écrit :There are a few things I'd like to point out, since this is, like, the first recent film I've watched in ages. Most of them not direct counter-points but merely my opinion.
My responses are in bold.
Spoiler : Review of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, with SPOILERS :
I get where you're coming from (as I love when an organisation representing all nations has all sorts of people in it, and reminds me of a Disney film), but it feels artificial to me to 'create' an ethnic variety. I think it's just something that occurs with me when I think on a conscious level: "Oh, we have to have diversity!" is not something I think would should have to 'think' about. Frankly, I'd like it if stuff like this was something people didn't think about, but if you're going to do what feels natural, then it's natural that white males will create white characters. (depends on the person, but the familiar tends to be more natural)
And then it cycles back to the problems with over-saturation.


Fair enough, I think. I guess my thinking is that if people don't think about it and just do what's natural, then there will inevitably be very little minority representation in Hollywood and films will still be dominated mostly by Euro-American men, since American media has historically been dominated by Euro-American men, and the media people see growing up influences the media create.

Then again, it's also arguable that the more organic and long term solution is to encourage and foster a society and a Hollywood where creators from all sorts of backgrounds are welcomed and can succeed, and then when such creators make media influenced by their experiences, arguably more representation will arise as a result.


Despite this being less than comprehensive research I feel compelled to note that it's gone by many names, the majority of which do not include Laureline. I know for a fact that the Portuguese versions mention only Valerian in the title. Not particularly strange for this to be.

Ahh, my bad. While I would still like for Laureline to get named in the title too, I shouldn't complain about it as if it's a departure from the norm. So that's bad on me for assuming too much.

I don't find that to be inconsistent behaviour. I find that to be the behaviour of a guy who wants to be with someone but doesn't want that someone to get hurt.
Unfortunately, this is also highly connected to the idea that, being a man, he feels he has to protect the woman. I don't like to think about in those terms, but I can't deny that it may convey that message.
In that sense, I think it'd be interesting if those roles were reversed...


I can see how it isn't inconsistent. But as you said, it's connected to the idea of a man feeling like he has to protect the woman. It's that implication I take issue with. Again, it happening in this instance in this movie is not necessarily the bad thing. What troubles me is the pattern across the history of movies that is created.

Putting aside the fact that only the commander of the whole... station(?) ended up getting such bodyguards, are you sure he didn't mention needing to stand guard? It's highly possible I have a bad (actually, it's good) habit of automatically filling in gaps with my most logical assumption, but I came off that scene believing one of them had to stay outside (due to protocol and making sure nothing suspicious happened outside the room), and it was just a case of Valerian insisting on her being the one.

Hm... it's possible I missed Valerian saying it was about guard duty. I guess I figured it was an impromptu thing because of how surprised Laureline seemed, as if it wasn't normal.

They're both rather gung-ho individuals most of the time, but yes, I agree that there was one logical course of action to take here and Valerian didn't want her to go in alone, ditching the logical course. Again with the whole not wanting her to be hurt but/and wanting to be with her.

Whilst I will agree that Valerian was needlessly enamoured with the pole dancing, and that the sense of urgency was killed here, I feel you may have missed something in this scene, or I may have imagined something.
The 'pimp' insists that the people who go in disarm themselves. Then, once the pole dancing is over, Bubble approaches him and goes ever closer... whilst behind Valerian she was slowly trying to touch him with her normal self. What was this?
When I consider that the 'pimp' had, right before this scene started, said something that I can only recall as "I hate this part" (or just the opposite -- something that emphasised what was about to happen), I watched the scene as Bubble being used by the 'pimp' to kill/kidnap or whatever the people who came into his shop. Hence the disarming just earlier.
Which is why Valerian ends up pulling the gun just before she touches him with her tentacle thing on the back of his head.
Or so I ended up concluding as I watched.


Oh, I had thought that the reason Bubble touched Valerian's head with her blob-tentacle was to, like, read his mind or something. I figured that was how she knew what Laureline looked like so she couold transform into her. So I assumed that it was just part of the show. I guess I can see where your interpretation comes from, but it feels a little strange since Bubble insists that she's just an artist, which doesn't seem consistent with her being part and parcel to a kidnapping operation.

As I understood it, the problem was that his arm thing failed to change dimensions as intended, having malfunctioned, meaning he was now a susceptible floating arm which I think he didn't even realise until he was spotted.
I did not think this 'coincidence' was at all connected to the pearl.


This is one point at which I should have been more thorough, since it all happens kind of fast. The reason Valerian's transmatter box malfunctions is because an alien guard dog thing bites into it. The reason the alien dog had the chance to bite the transmatter box was because said alien dog got antsy and managed to get its leash out of its handler's grip. And the reason it got antsy was because it was sitting for so long with an intruder in the room. And the reason the intruder was in the room for so long was that Valerian stopped to steal the pearl instead of just leaving after getting the convertor.

And since his transmatter box malfunctions, he has hijinks that take long enough for the crime lord to get a bigger monster.

At least, that's what I thought the series of events implied. I guess it's possible the dog would've attacked him anyway, but I felt like there was a kind of buildup that Valerian could've avoided had he left more quickly.


Because it belonged to the government.
He immediately returned the pearl he had taken from the crime lord when he learnt of the circumstances.


On this note, though, I feel it's important to remember that the government basically stole the alien rat-thing-Mul-converter from the aliens in the first place, which is why I found it easier to side with Laureline. But fair enough about the pearl; he does return that right away.

Eh... Let's just say I have no problem with this. At all. You got gunk on my face? Well, have a taste of your own medicine.
Age matters little here, and it should even help the kind understand why not to do that to people.


I guess that's fair. I guess I couldn't help but feel like that wasn't really Valerian's place to do that to the kid, being a total stranger and the kid being like an infant/toddler.

I see where you're coming from, or maybe not, because for me it's the opposite. Valerian is chock full of character defects. I actually appreciate how the film doesn't spend its time with a sermon on how he's got a bad personality, but neither does it go out of its way to paint such traits as a good thing. He is, for example, in constant conflict with Laureline because of these defects.

That is a good point. Valerian's inability to trust Laureline to take care of herself is the cause of a lot of the friction between them, so that part of his personality is therefore quietly implied to be not-good.

(I will also take a moment to mention just how much I liked the way he went into a panic/OCD every time somebody drove a vehicle badly)

Now that you mention it, I kind of like that too. It's a nice little character detail.

It's at this point I realise that what 'would make the film better' is different from 'this makes no sense and has no justification', which is more or less how I've been replying to these. When you bring up this point, I can't exactly tell if it would be better, but it very well could.

I did talk about both things ("this is bad" and "this makes no sense") in my review and wasn't too clear about distinguishing them, so that's my bad. And what I think would make for a better or worse movie is subject to my own opinions, I'll admit.

Ah, that guy. It looked to me like he mistakenly thought he might be pursued by the government for heading into the forbidden zone and then coming back. Which is why he non-lethaly stopped that guard from sharing his location (he was in an urgent situation of saving Laureline and could not afford to be brought back to base/be interrogated -- later contradicted by watching the whole pole scene as if he had all the time in the world), and took the opportunity to steal a gun. (the guard spotted him first, I believe? Or maybe we don't know that)
Whether or not it really was non-lethal and whether he would come back to normal on his own is up to speculation, however.

You have a good point about why Valerian acts the way he does given the circumstances. I guess my criticism here was more on a metatextual level about how the writers of the story keep on showing our heroes being really violent while at least some of the bad guys aren't so violent.

Why do you believe she was capable of paying them at that point in time? I did not get that impression.

That's another thing I should've talked about more thoroughly, since it happens a little fast. When Laureline gives the alien information dealers diamonds and says she'd have to pay the rest on credit, one of them says that, if Laureline just so happened to have the Mul converter, then she could pay them the price easily by replicating the diamonds and making a whole bunch of them. Now, Laurelin does have the Mul converter. So she can replicate the diamonds to meet their price.

But instead of doing that, she shoots one.


But then again, you may have noticed by now I'm not even close to being the most sensitive of people in such matters, and could not care less about the delivery of the scene.

And since my main problem with the scene is that I think the movie delivered it poorly and undermined itself by trying to both sell sex appeal and speak out against the dark reality underlying the source of such sex appeal outside the movies and media, this may be a time where we just agree to disagree about that scene.


Like you said, a lot of this is just about how we view things and put together the movie in our minds. I hope I was able to clarify some of what I said, and thanks for telling me what you thought about what I said. It's rarely not good to reflect on one's own opinions and think critically about them, so it was good for me to read what you wrote.
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Re: Review Thread 

Message par Lind » Sam Août 12, 2017 12:57 am

Shame. I had high hopes for this based purely on Dane DeHaan being in it.

P.S: Dear Dane DeHaan, you are one of this generation's most promising young actors, so for the love of god stop making terrible decisions about what roles to take.
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Re: Review Thread 

Message par energizerspark » Sam Oct 28, 2017 9:33 pm

Love Exposure (dir. Sion Sono, 2008)
If you haven't seen this, and you've ever got four hours to spare, go watch this film. You will not regret it.
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