Results 1 to 13 of 13
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2011

    Default Valerian and the City of a Thousand Plot Holes

    I finally watched this movie last night, and my poor soul aches at the lost potential. I woke up this morning with a bad taste still in my mind, which tells you how awful it was.

    From the previews I was really looking forward to it, since it seemed visually imaginative and thoroughly wild. But it never seemed to actually be in the theaters—I blinked and missed it, which should have told me something.

    Despite this, I loved the opening sequence, especially the use of “Major Tom,” even though the few attempts at science were thoroughly laughable. (If you do the math, after 400 years Alpha has only moved a little ways past the orbit of Mars, rather than sailing into the true interstellar void.)

    But from there, the movie fully lived down to its origins, pompous and cartoony, with some of the clunkiest dialogue and most cardboard acting I’ve seen in years—at least for a movie so immensely overhyped. The dialogue between Valerian and Laureline is a textbook case of everything you should avoid in a script: clumsy exposition riddled with cliches and anachronisms, revealing shallowness instead of depth.

    It doesn’t help that the two main characters have zero chemistry between them, owing to zero acting ability, and for the entire movie I really couldn’t have cared less what happened to either of them. This is just as well, because what passed for a plot was smothered in an overstuffed hodgepodge of digital effects run wild. The “romance” was ludicrous and unbelievable, and the storyline was thoroughly muddled with unnecessary tangents and digressions.

    But even cutting out the side quest for the telepathic jellyfish or the ludicrous rescue from the tubby alien chief, the movie still barely makes any sense, and there are too many questions which it never even attempts to answer. If the evil genocidal mastermind knew where the Pearls were hiding all along, why didn’t he send in his Cylon brigade to annhilate them long before? If Valerian’s super-suit lets him crash through bulkheads, rocket through water and walk on air, why did he need Laureline to rescue him? If the Intruder is such a competent and sophisticated AI, why didn’t it just follow the Pearls’ ship at the end and pick them up, rather than apparently waiting tamely back at Alpha while they were marooned in space? And why does the “Discovery module” look like an old Apollo command module?

    And on and on. Beneath the mad whirl of CGI glitz, the movie is a small plate of warmed-over balderdash, without a single character to really care about—much less a coherent storyline to follow. If you haven’t seen this movie…please, please don’t.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Kitten Champion's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2012

    Default Re: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Plot Holes

    I had much the same reaction when I watched it for the first time a few weeks ago. Some of the worst protagonists I've seen who are still nominally the heroes, like self-involved and self-righteous college students who are deciding to take a semester off together to see the world and expect everywhere to just bend to them personally. They're like Torchwood protagonists, I genuinely dislike them personally. Dane DeHaan keeps doing Valerian as a Keanu Reeves from the 90's for some reason, while Laureline's there to complain and make fun of him... constantly.

    The actual plot of the movie might be half an hour of content, but they keep sidetracking the characters with pointless side-quests with no real dramatic pay-off, while the mystery the movie was being built around is pretty much ruined in the beginning or as to make it as obvious as possible to curb any suspense you might feel.

    The only character I liked was the non-evil human commander dude, who was just sort of quietly doing his job with professionalism and ethics.
    Last edited by Kitten Champion; 2017-11-24 at 04:37 PM.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Britain
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Plot Holes

    I've never seen it but yea that's the impression I got from the trailers my response was basically. Huh I've never heard of this, oh it looks pretty cool, wait that's the protagonist, yeaaa I don't think so.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    theMycon's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Plot Holes

    I had pretty much the same reaction. I really wanted to like it, and I appreciate that it had some elements that were just bizarre. But the acting & the dialogue were just so bland. And I have a love-hate relationship with Rhianna's bit- it's hokey, awkward, and unnecessary, but I laughed hard when I understood the white hat.

    I recently discovered a 2007 animated series on Vrv- Time Jam: Valerian and Laureline. The dialogue is still pretty bad, but it works a hundred times better being loosely related, silly comic-book adventures. Rather than the "rapey dude begging for marriage from a woman who treats him like a mom", we have "partners who bicker like an old married couple and swear they're just friends." It revels in the bizarre, and it's aggressively by and for French socialists (which I find hilarious).
    Last edited by theMycon; 2017-11-25 at 10:20 AM.
    If it's not obvious, insert a after my post.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2011

    Default Re: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Plot Holes

    Originally Posted by Kitten Champion
    Some of the worst protagonists I've seen who are still nominally the heroes, like self-involved and self-righteous college students who are deciding to take a semester off together to see the world and expect everywhere to just bend to them personally.
    And they actually assumed “undercover identities” exactly like that, when they were pretending to be tourists at the beginning—and while “undercover” they acted exactly like they did throughout the rest of the movie.

    Originally Posted by Kitten Champion
    …the mystery the movie was being built around is pretty much ruined in the beginning or as to make it as obvious as possible to curb any suspense you might feel.
    Exactly this.

    There’s got to be a term for an upper-level conceptual choice which is executed as closely as possible, but which ends up ruining credibility because it was such a poor choice in the context of the movie. This is a textbook example.

    The opening on the happy-pearl-planet was incredibly confusing, because you barely had time to absorb the world and identify individual characters before everything snaps to Valerian’s perspective. This was a tremendous jolting of gears, which set up nothing but confusion throughout the rest of the movie. And honestly, the pearl-princess was more interesting to watch than Valerian.

    That long opening should have been presented at the end, as an extended flashback or mind-meld or something, to provide a humanizing backstory for the creatures who, by rights, should have been consistently presented as barely-glimpsed villains throughout. That would have been a nice “twist” (since Hollywood is obsessed with twists) and would have made for a less confusing first half-hour of the movie.

    It wouldn’t have helped with the thoroughly pointless side-quests, but it would have been something.

    Originally Posted by theMycon
    …but I laughed hard when I understood the white hat.
    Huh. I didn’t know the white hat was something to be understood. I barely noticed it.

    So, what does it mean?

    .
    Last edited by Palanan; 2017-11-25 at 10:34 AM.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

    Join Date
    May 2007

    Default Re: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Plot Holes

    Well, that she`s one of the White Hats (ergo Good Guys) I assume. Didn`t actually remember it until I read it above. But yeah, that sequence, while forced, was fun.

    I watched the Movie with some friends and we all walked in with very very low expectations (and nonsoever foreknowledge of the comics).

    Too bad the truly stunning visuals very the only thing sans some funny m9oments ad the Intro that were worth it.

    The Market part for example was well done...not that it made much sense (I am picking up a pattern here) mind...
    A neutron walks into a bar and says, “How much for a beer?” The bartender says, “For you? No charge.”


    Later: An atom walks into a bar an asks the bartender “Have you seen an electron? I left it in here last night.” The bartender says, “Are you sure?” The atom says, “I’m positive.”

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Knaight's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Default Re: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Plot Holes

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    It doesn’t help that the two main characters have zero chemistry between them, owing to zero acting ability, and for the entire movie I really couldn’t have cared less what happened to either of them.
    Both actors have managed good acting elsewhere - this suggests a problem in direction, probably to the effect of the actors being told to come across as inhuman and robotic.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Kitten Champion's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2012

    Default Re: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Plot Holes

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    The opening on the happy-pearl-planet was incredibly confusing, because you barely had time to absorb the world and identify individual characters before everything snaps to Valerian’s perspective. This was a tremendous jolting of gears, which set up nothing but confusion throughout the rest of the movie. And honestly, the pearl-princess was more interesting to watch than Valerian.
    The thing is, they immediately explain it. Valerian has a vision and it's simply shrugged off by our heroes as a "well, that was weird" once its confirmed by the ship's AI to be this random psychic phenomenon, then it affects absolutely nothing until the exposition at the end.

    They shouldn't have explained it for one, and not treat it like a particularly odd dream a coworker described to you. Then have it so Valerian might be questioning his sanity or whether he was under the influence of some external power... at least as a covert agent for a galactic power maybe felt more concern for what was happening to him and why.

    Lastly, for the sake of the movie as a work of basic entertainment, have him piece together its meaning as the vision unfurls over the course of the narrative rather than just ignoring it until the mid-point of the final act.

    Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within did this better dammit. The alien vision its protagonist was having factored into the plot and character motivations significantly, pointed at a mystery without ruining it for the audience, and had dramatic potential which was realized in the rest of the script. She was making decisions and arguing positions on the basis of those visions, which rightfully make her suspect in the eyes of every other character in a Cassandra-esque sort of way.

    Really, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within did this basic story better and it's Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. It even had an antagonist which was allowed some degree of moral ambiguity and basic humanity, which Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets easily could have had if it was trying to do anything remotely interesting with its script.

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    That long opening should have been presented at the end, as an extended flashback or mind-meld or something, to provide a humanizing backstory for the creatures who, by rights, should have been consistently presented as barely-glimpsed villains throughout. That would have been a nice “twist” (since Hollywood is obsessed with twists) and would have made for a less confusing first half-hour of the movie.

    It wouldn’t have helped with the thoroughly pointless side-quests, but it would have been something.
    It wouldn't have been hard for some level of misdirection, really. One really easy one is they need to wear Quarian-esque suits outside of their natural environment which disguises them at minimum, but that's just one of a over a dozen ideas I came up with while typing this sentence.

    I know there's a comic and maybe everything I've complained about is due to the movie's fidelity to it, but I don't care. If you can improve on the weaknesses of the source material I will never criticize you, Hollywood movie.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Lizardfolk

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Plot Holes

    I think the sadest thing with valerian was that it came very close to the MiB genre of fantastic detectives, was visually stunning and fell immensely short of that series. They should have focused on the buddy cop vibe and not the romance angle.
    Now if everyone could please "Sig" something along the lines of "Gosh 2D8HP, you are so very correct (and also good looking)", I think that would be good progress.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    theMycon's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Plot Holes

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    Huh. I didn’t know the white hat was something to be understood. I barely noticed it.

    So, what does it mean?

    .
    You almost certainly understood. Do you remember what went through your head in the 2-3 seconds after "well that looks a lot like a lemon wedge and a seafood cracker"?
    Last edited by theMycon; 2017-11-25 at 11:12 PM.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2011

    Default Re: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Plot Holes

    I’m confused—from your phrasing, I thought you meant that Rihanna was wearing a white hat.

    The lemon wedge and the conveniently exposed upper cranium, yes, I got that. And didn’t laugh, being thoroughly fed up with the movie by that point.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    danzibr's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Back forty.
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Plot Holes

    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    some of the clunkiest dialogue and most cardboard acting I’ve seen in years
    Quote Originally Posted by Kitten Champion View Post
    Some of the worst protagonists I've seen who are still nominally the heroes
    Quote Originally Posted by theMycon View Post
    the acting & the dialogue were just so bland
    Well. I don't have much to add.

    I too really wanted to like this movie. The Fifth Element was my favorite movie for many years.

    For this, I liked the setting.
    I liked the plot.
    I liked the villain in particular. I hate one-dimensional bad guys.
    I liked the visuals.
    The sounds... I don't recall. Not distinctly bad.
    I disliked the two protagonists.
    I disliked the dialogue of the two protagonists.

    I find it ironic the worst parts of the movies for me are the protagonists and what they say.
    My one and only handbook: My Totemist Handbook
    My one and only homebrew: Book of Flux
    Spoiler
    Show
    A comment on tiers, by Prime32
    Quote Originally Posted by KillianHawkeye View Post
    As a DM, I deal with character death by cheering and giving a fist pump, or maybe a V-for-victory sign. I would also pat myself on the back, but I can't really reach around like that.
      /l、
    ゙(゚、 。 7
     l、゙ ~ヽ
     じしf_, )ノ

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Montreal
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Plot Holes

    Most of the plot holes are.. technicalities. I mean, they are definetly plot holes, but they dont have real consequences on the movie's thematics.

    Instead, what bothered me the most was the Villain's backstory. His motivation, his actions that led to the destruction of Pearlworld.

    I mean.. why was the battle staged there? Why is it a big deal that he ordered TORPEDO LAUNCH when what destroyed Pearlyworld wasnt the torpedoes, but merely the wrecks of destroyed ships. Which would still have wrecked the world had there not been the torpedoes.

    Who decided to fight there? Who were these bad guys? Why did the Federation had to fight there and then? Couldnt they have waited out? Was there a ticking clock?

    I think this plot hole is much, much more important because the whole movie builds up to The Reveal of that information. When you center your movie about a big ass mystery revealed at the end, you better hope its a solid answer. I will give a pass to small consequentless problems and plot holes. But i will.never give leeway to a movie who makes a point of telling me how important the answer is when the answer is stupid.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •