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?


Quotes on Film Posters- an Opinion Piece

My rating of a film will never appear on the poster for a film. Nor (I imagine)will Jeremy Jahns, Chris Stuckman, Moviebob or any of the other film critics that inhabit YouTube. And yet, if I worked for a newspaper or magazine, I imagine that my musings on the latest Hollywood offerings would (if favorable) wind up on the poster thus hopefully ensuring more attention for me and bigger box-office takings for the film.

I bring this up because I saw a poster for Terminator:Genysis in my paper yesterday, and the sole quote for quite a large blockbuster assuring me that I was going to ‘love this.’ came from a Mr. James Cameron. Aka the Directer of the first two films. A person who if you want a neutral viewpoint about whether or not this film is good or not would, I imagine probably be quite low on the list of people that I would trust to be impartial.

But this got me thinking, why do people trust newspaper critics more than others? To the best of my knowledge we have no guild, no formal training scheme or qualifications required to be a film critic, just write/video/tweet/speak your opinion and there you go, your a film critic!

Or maybe its an experience thing, newspaper film critics have been doing this for decades and have probably watched a wider variety of films then myself or many other internet film critics have had the ability to do. But this experience comes with time.

Also, I don’t trust all newspaper critics the same. I know that some are more, shall we say enthusiastic than others with their high ratings and indeed if I see only some newspapers on the poster than I know already that a certain film is probably going to hurt.

At the end of the day though, my personal opinion is that people have always trusted newspaper critics, they are seen as more respectable, dedicated and somehow more honest than people such as myself.

What do you guys think?


I imagine that my reaction on hearing that the new Spider-man (according to the BBC it’s with the hyphen) was pretty much the same as everybody else.

Who the hell is this?

And it’s a valid point, Tom Holland who will be playing the webslinger has only done one Hollywood blockbuster before ( The Impossible, budget 45 million, gross 180.2 million 81% on Rotten Tomatoes, I’ve never seen it.) He was also in the highly received Wolf Hall by the BBC and was a voice on a phone in the incredible film Locke (Budget less than 2 million, grossed 5 million, 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, highly recommended). On the stage,he was also in the stage musical of the film Billy Elliot.

But how he got this role, I don’t understand.  With the exception of Billy Elliott I don’t see any leading roles in his CV, it is possible that he blew everybody away with his amazing audition and i’ll reserve judgement until I see at the very least a trailer of him as Spider-Man.

However, i’m still uncomfortable with the idea that the latest adventure of Spider-Man has gone to someone white, when in the comics he’s being portrayed by someone of Hispanic origin or that his stand-alone film has pushed Black Panther, the first superhero film to star a colored actor since Steel (Just don’t.) has been pushed back to accommodate it’s release.

Either way, it’s a bit of an interesting move from Marvel and i’ll keep my eyes open for more updates.