Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)

valerian and the city of a thousand planets

Director: Luc Besson

Cast: Dan DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Sam Spruell, Kris Wu, John Goodman, Ethan Hawke, Rihanna

A dark force threatens Alpha, a vast metropolis and home to species from a thousand planets. Special operatives Valerian and Laureline must race to identify the marauding menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe. – IMDB

Adapted from a French comic series titled Valerian and Laureline, Luc Besson’s latest piece takes us on a sci-fi adventure to Alpha, the City of a Thousand Planets where we follow the adventures of two young agents and partners, Major Valerian and Sergeant Laureline. Luc Besson heading back to a sci-fi premise and seemingly calling back to The Fifth Element days is an endearing thought. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is a visually stunning adventure full of new aliens and characters to discover, perhaps more so for those that have not read the source material. While filled with great performances what does let  down the overall experience is the story itself being adventurous and fun but slightly predictable.

The performances here focus mostly on Cara Delevingne’s Laureline and Dan DeHaan’s Valerian. As a team, they work together well and while on missions, there is a friction and conflict they have as Laureline fights for her recognition and importance. While some of their dialogue feels cheesy and oddly out of place, they have a certain chemistry that helps in certain ways. It adds in some laughs here and there and their bickering while overused in movies does help ease in some relaxing moments between the action. There are some bigger names here as well such as Clive Owen as the Commander who gets taken by an alien race that was deemed to have been destroyed. While not a huge role, he excelled at commanding his scene. What is also a nice face to see here is Kris Wu, a young actor that appeared earlier this year in XXX:The Return of Xander Cage, who gives a good performance while in a supporting role as well. Aside from that, Ethan Hawke has a cameo role that draws similarities to Jack Sparrow’s free spirit and this leads to Rihanna who is really showing off as a performer more than she is an actress as she dazzles us with a beautiful on-stage transformational dance which is followed shortly after with an emotional scene that falls short from its intentions.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets does lack depth in its story. Perhaps the length of over two hours did more harm than good, as there was a certain level of suspense in the beginning however, the ending became increasingly predictable. What does make this flick worth your time is how Luc Besson brings this world to life in every single way. The City of a Thousand Planets is fascinating to discover at every corner and the effects are done incredibly well. While some may complain about the drawback of having too much CGI, this is a strength in creating this fictional fantasy world. The action and technology here makes those moments feel like we are immersed in great adventures as Valerian and Laureline go on their own mission. It almost feels like we are in a video game. The best example is when Valerian’s gun can shoot platforms as he vaults through a gap with all these fantastical creatures that are both beautiful and dangerous simultaneously.

Overall, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets has its flaws. It is meant to be a popcorn flick that will dazzle its audience visually with its beautiful and mesmerizing world along with its action-packed sequences. There is no doubt that this one has decent cast that delivers even with a story that lacks depth however it is a fun and entertaining flick.

Arthur and the Invisibles Trilogy (2006-2010)

Another little movies series!

Arthur and the Invisibles (aka Arthur et les Minimoys) has been on my to-watch list for a while.  Mostly because I really love Freddie Highmore in any age of acting.  He’s very impressive all the time and this one is adventure and animation all wrapped up together.  It sounds extremely fun! Netflix decided that it was going to expire in about a week the second and the third so I couldn’t watch those without the first one so I spent the weekend checking this out 🙂

Let’s see how it turned out!

Arthur and the Invisibles (2006)

arthur and the invisibles

Director: Luc Besson

Cast (live and/or vocal): Freddie Highmore, Mia Farrow, Ron Crawford, Madonna, Snoop Dogg, David Bowie, Jimmy Fallon

Ten-year-old Arthur, in a bid to save his grandfather’s house from being demolished, goes looking for some much-fabled hidden treasure in the land of the Minimoys, a tiny people living in harmony with nature.- IMDB

arthur and the invisibles

Arthur and the Invisibles or the Minimoys (as referred to in the movie also) is a fun family adventure animation.  I love movies that blend the whole live action and animated sequences and this movie transitioned between the two and used real life world blended into the animated worlds for different tools and names.  Its shows a certain level of creativity and imagination that makes it even more enjoyable.

When the movie starts, the  narrator takes us into the life of Arthur, who is an intelligent 10 year old that seeks to discover and explore the world and its mysteries.  He tries to figure out why his grandfather is missing and also save his grandmother’s home, leading him to his brave adventure to ask for the help of the Minimoys.  The vocals here are great.  Although, the plot here is a little generic and predictable and why I believe its mild enough for a younger audience and is probably targeted to a younger audience.  8-10 (?) years old might be my best guess.  I don’t have kids so I can’t really determine it.

Regardless, the best part of this was actually hearing Freddie Highmore’s actual accent.  Since I’ve watched Freddie Highmore, I’ve always thought he was American until a few years back when I realized he’s actually British.  Imagine my surprise, right? So its refreshing to hear that voice here, plus these movies work for the younger him.  I didn’t expect much from Madonna voice for Selenia but it was pretty good as well.  And c’mon, Jimmy Fallon is great in general so I don’t even need to mention that much about it. David Bowie does the voice of Evil M, the villain in this trilogy, although not voiced by him after this one.  Evil M is effective as a villain for an animation geared for a younger crowd, meaning I found him more funny than threatening 😉

Arthur and the Minimoys was a pretty enjoyable animation (more for a younger crowd). There were some slower parts but the sum of it was pretty good.  It keeps everything with a level of intensity that is well balanced with using natural elements in the human world and implementing into the world of the Minimoys who actually live underground and in the garden.  Creativity and imaginative points there as well.  I’d say to give it a watch if you get a chance 🙂

Arthur 2: The Revenge of Maltazard (2009)
(or Arthur and the Great Adventure)

arthur 2 the revenge of maltazard

Director: Luc Besson

Cast: Freddie Highmore, Mia Farrow, Selena Gomez, Jimmy Fallon, Lou Reed, Fergie, Snoop Dogg

Arthur answers a distress call from Princess Selenia, who is menaced by the nefarious Maltazard. – IMDB

arthur 2 the revenge of maltazard

Continuing on from the previous one, Maltazard (aka Evil M) returns with a cunning plan. I’m not going to lie to you.  I absolutely believe that Arthur and the Minimoys should have ended with the just the first one.  Continuing it was pointless especially when it was pretty hard to finish.  The second movie was so empty and boring that I fell asleep somewhere in the middle and woke up near the end and shut off the movie, to resume the next morning with a big cup of tea.  The vocal changes comes from Selenia (who doesn’t show up much) with Selena Gomez and Evil M is now voiced by Lou Reed (who I don’t think I’ve heard of before).

The majority of the movie is spent trying to get back to the Minimoys kingdom to answer the distress call.  So its a lot of venturing around, finding Betameche and then seeing characters from the last movie that helps them on the way.  I have nothing much to say about this one except that whole Evil M suddenly having a revelation that being little didn’t make sense and to take over the human world being his main goal was a little too much for my taste.

The animation is fine, the vocals were fine but the plot of The Revenge of Maltazard wasn’t really eventful or fun.  It felt a lot like the first movie replicating into the second.  You wouldn’t miss much if you had stopped with the first one in my opinion.

Arthur 3: The War of  theTwo Worlds (2010)

arthur 3 the war of the two worlds

Director: Luc Besson

Cast: Freddie Highmore, Selena Gomez, Jimmy Fallon, Mia Farrow, Ron Crawford, Robert Stanton, Penny Balfour, Richard Davis

With Maltazard now 7 feet tall and Arthur still 2 inches small, our hero must find a way to grow back to his normal size ans stop the Evil M once and for all, with the help of Selenia and Betameche. – IMDB

arthur 3 the war of the two worlds

With Maltazard now in the real world, the third movie is a blend of being in the animated Minimoys immersed in the real world with the live characters bringing Arthur’s extremely silly parents and his knowledgeable grandparents into the movie more.  That is a good thing because it gives this one a little more dynamic interaction and just a little something more.  Arthur, Selenia and Betameche also end up exploring Arthur’s actual life in their house as they find a way to stop the now full human size Evil M.

Although The War of the Two Worlds is a whole lot more fun and entertaining than the second one.  Trust me it is. There still is a little something that makes it feel unnecessary.  The second one ended with to be continued, which leads to this one, which made the second one feel even less important (more like a bridge).  There were some great moments during the whole process in the house and with the parents and M and whatnot.  The whole exploration reverse mode of the tiny Arthur trying to grow up again, focusing more on the inappropriate timing of the relationship between Arthur and Selenia.  It just felt like a ton of loose ends forcing to be tied up. Plus, the ending was just stretching it quite a bit.

arthur 3 the war of the two worlds

I’m not saying I didn’t have fun with this one.  I’m usually not too hard on animations but while this one was more fun, you actually have to get through the very boring second one to watch this one, making this not so necessary.  It entertaining and there’s a lot more adventurous moments here.  I leave it up to you whether you want to battle this through.  I hold true that if you have 8-10 year olds, they might enjoy it.


Arthur and the Minimoys was great decent fun.  The whole trilogy bit was a bit much though.  The second and third was not exactly necessary.  It kind of tried to give an extra mission for Maltazard and to cash some extra dollars.  The second wasn’t any fun but the third had some adventurous moments.  The premise itself is creative and imaginative with the characters and the details.  The vocals were pretty great.  The plot was the main thing that made or killed the whole movie experience in each of these.  By the end of the last one, I just didn’t really feel much for it. It killed the charm that I liked in the first one.  The more I think about it, the more I really wish I could undo those last two….haha!

Have you seen Arthur and the Minimoys? How about the whole trilogy? What did you think about it?

Brick Mansions (2014)

After the biggest deadline of the year is done, I was thoroughly drained.  It came to me that being a movie fanatic and feeling bad about the lack of reviews here, it was time for a movie.  I went to check the times and to my surprise, Brick Mansions was showing at my suburban (and frankly very francophone) theatre.  The fact that Brick Mansions was there and on first week with only one more day listed motivated me to go right away.  My friend didn’t want to go so after some errands, I went to check it out. Its the first time in Montreal that I’ve gone to see a movie by myself so now that I’ve done it once, I’ll willingly do it again.  Plus, it was the perfect time because of playoff game so there was almost no one at the theatres.  I walked into the movie 5 minutes before and I was all by myself.  As the previews moved along, 3 couples came in. I honestly wouldn’t have mind being by myself.  Imagine, I had a free ticket from my Scene points and I had the whole viewing to myself.  Now that would’ve been pretty cool, right? 😉

We’re not here to read about what happened in my movie experience but what I thought. Lets start with a little synopsis, shall we?

Brick Mansions posterDirector: Camille Delamarre

Cast: Paul Walker, David Belle, RZA, Gouchy Boy, Catalina Denis, Ayisha Issa, Bruce Ramsay

In 2018, Detroit has now separated the bad into their own little Brick Mansions area where its barricaded from the “able and honest” people.  In Brick Mansions, there are no privileges and no benefits.  The people there have no public facilities: police, medical, schools.  Brick Mansions is run by ex military Tremaine Alexander (RZA).  He is a drug lord that runs the area.  However, when a Brick Mansions do gooder Lino (David Belle) steals his stash from his top henchman, he seeks him out every way possible to make him pay until he gets him locked up.  However, at the same time, Detective Damien Collier (Paul Walker) is assigned to go undercover to retrieve a bomb that was hijacked and accidentally set off.  With only 12 hours (and less) to find a way to join forces with Lino to infiltrate Tremaine’s territory, save Lino’s girlfriend Lola (Catalina Denis) and to deactivate the bomb, both Lino and Damien are forced to team up and make it all work out.  If not, they will die trying.

Brick Mansions

I don’t know how many of you reacted to Paul Walker’s sudden death but I was devastated.  So much that I did my first marathon for an actor.  I got in a few movies that I had never seen on Netflix and postponed another one for this.  I didn’t get a chance to see Hours so knowing nothing about this movie, I just knew I had to see it. Plus, all the pictures of the mid air jumping was pretty cool on the poster.  What more can I say? To me, Paul Walker was a respectable man and he was part of one of my favorite franchises and a lot of movies he has done are pretty underrated.  Sure, they aren’t Oscar winning masterpieces but they always provide the entertainment that I look for.  Brick Mansions falls right in that category there and it may possibly be THE most fun outside of the Fast & Furious franchise.

brick mansions stunts


Brick Mansions is a remake of District B13, a french action movie.  I’ve never seen the original but through some research for this, I realized that David Belle, who plays Lino, was part of the District B13 franchise. I really like Lino a lot.  He was the source of a lot of the crazy and impressive stunts that went on throughout the movie. Plus, alongside Paul Walker’s Damien, they both jived really well together.  They had fights together, both against each other and against the same bad guys.  The dialogue they had were at times cheesy but I found it funny also. Together, they made this film stronger and more fun. Paul Walker always has the ability to make something like this work really well.  This movie gives me a similar feeling to when I saw Takers (review HERE).

" Brick Mansions " / Europacorp

There aren’t too many characters in this flick.  Its really a simple, straight forward race against time action movie, but we can’t mention the two main guys and not mention our bad guy just a little, right? RZA plays Tremaine Alexander.  Right off the bat, our first scene is always in that dark kitchen of his cooking and making metaphors to his grandma’s recipes and whatnot.  A part of me wasn’t sure if I was going to take him seriously but at the same time, it gives it a entertaining twist to his “ruthless” character, I guess.  I can’t really pinpoint what it is, but I found him convincing enough.

Brick Mansions

There isn’t much to say about Brick Mansions.  If you go all nitpicky and try to find it to be a perfect whatever genre movie, you won’t find much.  But, if you sit down, shut your brain off and enjoy it for what it is: an action movie full of cool stunts and cheesy lines, you will have fun with this.  Its not a thick storyline but the characters do well enough to make you have a lot of fun with it.  I was entertained the whole time and I totally fell in love with Lino and Damien because they were both noble in their own ways, even if you look at the character of our bad guy, Tremaine, he also had his own reasons for doing what he did in Brick Mansions, regardless if it was good or bad. Regardless, I’m sure there will be haters for this one because its nothing complex or whatnot, but I had a lot of fun with it and I felt entertained at the end.  Seeing Paul Walker’s last movie also gave it bonus points especially when I felt that everyone did a great job with what they had. Thats what matters, right?

Have you seen Brick Mansions? What did you think of it? Have you seen the original? What do you think of Paul Walker’s career?