I Went to See Valerian and It Abused All of My Senses

The summer movie season is a mess of big-budget blockbusters, and this particular one is especially dispiriting: one existing property after another, wringing the last few cents out of their franchises as they assault your senses. Here’s how much we rely on things we’re already familiar with: there is a movie coming out this week starring the smiley or vomity faces you put in text messages. Give me something new, I cry. Show me something I haven’t seen three times already! Well, be careful what you wish for. I saw Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets the other night, and my soul just tendered its letter of resignation. I have been dazzled to death, entertained to the brink of epilepsy, and I think I might have accidentally gotten Lasik. Valerian —which actually is based on an existing property, a French comic series from the 1970s which I haven’t read and neither have you—begins on Space Station Alpha. Alpha has been built to accommodate Earthlings of all races and nationalities, because Earth itself has gotten too crowded. And as we move into the future, Alpha opens its space doors all sorts of aliens and monsters and weirdos from […]

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