VALERIAN – Directed by Luc Besson (Fifth Element) with Cara Delevingne, Dane DeHaan, Clive Owen, John Goodman, Ethan Hawke and Rihanna.

Valerian (DeHaan) and Laureline (Delevigne) are special operatives for the government of the human territories charged with maintaining order throughout the universe. While on a mission to the hyper-dimensional Big Market to retrieve a priceless Mul Converter (a small creature that can replicate anything it eats) from a black-market dealer, they stumble into an intergalactic conspiracy that takes them to Alpha, known as the City of 1000 Planets, and the discovery of an awful secret, hidden in the heat of a long finished space battle.

While in a very similar vein, this isn’t at the same level as 5th Element for me. Yet the CGI and imaginative futurology in this film make a slightly kitsch but enjoyably quirky film into    escapist winner for Luc Besson. Besides seeming mostly unconcerned about the extreme perils that dog their entire adventure, the charming and beautiful leads are well augmented by superb performances from Ethan Hawke, in the role of pimp to an absolutely enchanting shapeshifting performer named Bubble (Rihanna), Clive Owen, as Commander Filitt and appearances by Rutger Hauer and the voice of John Goodman.

RATING: 2.5 out of 5 (Michael, gave it an extra 0.5 for the CGI and the luscious leads!)

FACTOIDS: At $122m, this was the most expensive privately funded film ever made. The Hollywood Reporter called this film the worst of the year – with no need to wait till December. The film has grossed $114m worldwide, for a budget of $177m, making it (so far) a financial flop.