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Movie Review: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)

This is a review of this movie’s opening scene only.  Why?  Because it’s so good it deserves it’s own review, that’s why.

First of all, if you don’t know who Luc Besson is…then get out from under your rock and check him out online.  After reading this post, of course.  He is responsible for many of the great movies I love.

Do any of these  ring a bell?

  • Point of No Return (1993) – love it
  • Leon: The Professional (1994) – love it
  • The Fifth Element (1997) – love it
  • The Transporter movies (2002, 2005, 2008)
  • The Taken movies (2008, 2012, 2014) – awesome
  • Columbiana (2011)
  • Lockout (2012) – great fun
  • and the exciting District movies filled with amazing Parkour action scenes

The Fifth Element movie is one of my family’s all-time favorites.  So when I heard that Valerian: City of a Thousand Planets was a dream science fiction movie project of his, I was already primed to love it.

There have rarely been as satisfying a movie opening scene.

[spoiler alert – keep reading at your own peril]

With the iconic David Bowie song Space Oddity (featuring Major Tom, of course) playing over the scene, we watch as the early days of the international space station are imagined progressing through time.  Countries from all over the Earth, one by one, join their freshly minted sections up with the now ever-growing construct in orbit.  Each new team is greeted with our common and traditional hand shake.  Continuing to steam through the future, soon beings from outside our solar system begin to be attracted to the station.  They, in turn, also join and are again greeted with our handshake.  We see this through many iterations of various human hosts and a wonderful myriad of creatures of every design.  The menagerie is a primer in the imagination of Luc Besson and great homage and call-back to earlier works (Fifth Element, I’m looking at you!).

In a similar vein, another terrific opening is found at the start of every Star Trek: Enterprise TV episode.

I love the imagery.  I love the music.  I love the “we are explorers” vibe.

If you haven’t seen it yet.  I’m jealous.  You can only watch it for the first time once.

 

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