Whats going to go wrong with Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets?

So far in this series, I have waited for the films to be released into the cold, hard, unforgiving world for their brief moment in the light before dissecting their still warm corpses to see what lessons we can learn but for this one, I’ve got enough evidence to say that there’s no need to wait.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is going to bomb and it is going to bomb bigly. The only question is how much it will bomb by and how many careers will be destroyed by it.

Now, on paper, Valerian seems like a pretty safe bet. Based off of Valérian and Laureline a French science fiction comics series, created by writer Pierre Christin and artist Jean-Claude Mézières. First published in Pilote magazine in 1967, the final installment was published in 2010. So plenty of source material to work from, the fact that the series has been sold all over the world implies that there is some sort of market out there.

Legendary French director Luc Besson has allegedly been given 209 million dollars to play with and had assembled a cast of stars including Cara Delevingne, Dane DeHaan, Ethan Hawke, Rihanna, Clive Owen and John Goodman.

So, a legendary (in France anyway) series of graphic novels comes to Hollywood for its moment on the silver screen. Wheres the issues?


Valerian didn’t come to Hollywood to play. It stayed in France. This is France’s highest budget film…. ever. And it’s not close in any way shape or form.  The closest contender is a French movie called Asterix at the Olympic Games, which cost $82 million to make. Now, with the budget for Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets reportedly coming in at a staggering $209 million, that puts it at almost triple the budget of the previous record holder. Now, most Marvel films don’t have budgets of 200 million dollars and they’re as safe as films can get. This is an untried, untested franchise that has very little, if any name recognition outside of its native France.

But, thinks you Luc Besson is directing it! He directed The Fifth Element! That he did, 20 years ago. And it’s been dividing audiences ever since. I feel that I should also point out that nothing he has done in intervening two decades has come anywhere close to the scale of this project. Yes, Besson has done Stopmotion, CGI  and action films but none of them have had budgets anywhere near a hundred million dollars, let alone 209 million! And he’s not consistent in the quality of his films either. For every Lucy he’s made, there’s a Taken 2 or 3. I don’t he’s ever made a flop, but he’s no Spielberg.

But leaving all that aside, you then have the issue that we are currently experiencing something of a glut of blockbusters at the moment. At least Jupiter Ascending (the last time anyone tried to do a new space opera franchise) had the good sense to be released in the wasteland of January, a time when there was very little to compete with because to my mind, even if Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets had no direct competition it would be a tough sell, but the week before Fox is releasing War for the Planet of the Apes and Christopher Nolan’s WWII epic Dunkirk will be competing with it directly. Not to mention that Spider-Man: Homecoming will still be hanging around for its third weekend at the box office. With so many tried and true franchises out there, why would you sped your hard earned money on anything else?

And then we move on to star power.

There isn’t any really.

I’m not saying that Cara Delvigne isn’t a star, but she’s a new one and she has never headlined a major film before. Her role in Suicide Squad was little more than a glorified cameo and as for Dane DeHaan, his highest profile role was as Harry Obsbourne in the Incredible SpiderMan 2. I’ve seen him in a few films and whilst he never disgraces himself, he’s never looked like leading man material to me. Especially when according to Wikipedia his character can be described as “as a typical square-jawed hero figure, who is strong and dependable”

Even looking at two comparable films Enders Game and Jupiter Ascending, you find nothing to cheer about. Enders Game had a budget of 110–115 million but made only
125.5 million,  As of January 2014, Lionsgate was waiting to make a decision on a sequel film, and was also considering a television series. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Jupiter Ascending on the other hand had a budget of $176 million and made a mere
184 million with any talk of a sequel being met with hysterical laughter. Hell, even The Wachowskis have claimed that it’s pretty much killed their career as far as high budget blockbusters go.

So there you go, all the reasons why, as far as i’m concerned,  Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets will be one of, if not the biggest bombs of the year.

But what do you think?


Apple to Introduce Theater Mode

When I come to power, anybody caught using their phones in a cinema will have their thumbs removed. No trial, no appeal, no excuses.

Sadly though, I have not yet ascended to Downing Street and as such am forced to merely grit my teeth when someone in front of me is incapable of  going two hours without checking Facebook or going onto Google to find out where they know that actor from.

Happily though, my torment may soon be partially at an end because iPhone users will reportedly get to ring in the new year with the latest Apple iOS update, version 10.3, which is rumored to include a new feature that may affect the usage of cell phones in movie theaters. While no official details about the update, dubbed iOS 10.3, have been released yet, this feature is reportedly called Theater Mode, which users will be able to access through a popcorn-shaped control panel. Apple’s iOS 10.3 is rumored to drop on January 10, but that date hasn’t been confirmed by Apple yet.
The news first surfaced from a Twitter user named Sonny Dickson, who regularly leaks inside information regarding upcoming Apple products. While Sonny Dickson wouldn’t elaborate what could be accessed through the “popcorn-shaped Control Center icon”, The Daily Mail adds that Apple filed a patent back in 2012, and while it doesn’t specifically mention “Theater Mode” by name, it describes technology that would automatically activate this mode when entering a theater, through GPS coordinate. Here’s an excerpt from the patent below.

“While the user is in the movie theater, the mobile device deactivates its cellular communications interface and/or automatically sets the device to a silent mode. When the user leaves the movie theater, the portable device enables phone communications and/or restores the ringer setting to the setting utilized prior to the device’s deactivation.”

Another report claims this Theater Mode will, “quickly disable sound systems and haptic feedback, block incoming calls and message and reduce initial screen brightness during a movie.”

It’s possible that a dimmer screen could encourage users to use their phones and/or start texting even more during a movie, but it’s worth noting that there already is a very common fix for this problem, simply turning one’s phone off during a movie, manually. The Alamo Drafthouse New York suggested moviegoers follow this simple advice in a tweet earlier today, in response to news of this iOS upgrade.

If this feature is confirmed as part of the new iOS update, it will be interesting to see how movie theaters will respond to this upgrade. Last year, AMC Theatres enlisted a strict no-texting policy, after briefly considering an option of setting aside certain screenings where viewers would be allowed to text and use their phones. Which, whilst it’s a screening I would avoid like the plague, it would be nice to have all of these being quarantined away from those of us that actually want to enjoy the movie that I remortgaged my flat for.

But what do you guys think and more importantly, do I have your vote?


Why Can’t I Watch Gods of Egypt?

Gods of Egypt was released in the rest of the world on February 26 will be released in the UK on…. You know, I actually have no idea.

No, seriously, according to all the promotional material Gods of Egypt was supposed to be unleashed on a (mostly ignorant) public the exact same date as the rest of the world, thus forcing me to prepare to review 2 Gerard Butler films in 2 weeks.

Except it hasn’t been released to any of the major cinema chains here in the UK (ODEON, Cineworld and VUE have no screenings of this film on their websites) So how am I meant to check it out? I mean the last time we got a film featuring the Gods of ancient Egypt, we got The Mummy films which I really enjoy watching. And if its a mess, so much the better.

All IMDB has to say is ‘2016’ which does me no good. (And for those of you thinking ‘just download it’ I want you to sit in a corner and think about how your destroying the film industry) Besides, a film like this deserves to be endured in its (inevitable) 3d on the biggest screen I can find.

Come on Hollywood its not like the UK is one of the biggest film markets in the world or anything! Surely we deserve this more than the Philippines!

Fine, you know what. Keep your stupid flop that only made back 10% of its budget on its opening weekend. I’m waiting for Divergent when I get to watch Miles Teeller ‘acting’ again.

Cinemas at Christmas?

I spent most of this Christmas in a food/alcohol come trying to follow the Doctor Who Christmas Special when I could only hear about 10% of the dialogue. The closest I got to a film was the adverts during Downton Abbey (It was either that or Quantom of Solice….) 

And yet, a few miles from where I was located, my local cinema as open for business. And i’m not sure how I feel about it.

It wasn’t that unsuccessful either. They managed to sell 3000 tickets where on Christmas Eve and Boxing day they sold roughly 5000 tickets. So for the money men safe at home it was a success, and probably something that they will do again and in a large number of cinemas.

Should I be surprised? The UK is becoming more multi-cultural and I have no issue with cinemas being open on Easter, Diwali, Eid or Bank Holidays.  It’s not illegal to open on Christmas Day, it’s a cultural thing. SO why do I feel uncomfortable?

Again, I feel it’s more a cultural thing. Christmas is the one time of year I see most of my family (and then remember why I only see them once a year) It’s also the one time of year that people who work in retail can spend time with their families without having to pray to the shift Gods/ take leave.

Because that’s where this is going. 15 years and it will be normal for shops/cinemas/ gyms to be open on Christmas Day.

I accept it. I understand that as the UK becomes less Christian, it’s holidays will slowly hold less cultural significance and that’s sad. I want to spend my Christmas in the food coma watching the Queens Speech and  Doctor Who. 

And if your waiting me to file a review on Christmas day? Keep waiting.