This film basically had all the ingredients for a good, if not great, sci-fi film. Based on a comic book series that most people have not read before (i had read some many years back, long enough to not remember ANY of it except Valerian), directed by Luc Beeson who gave us the wonderful 5th Element, modern special effects and a budget and running time for an epic.
So where did it go wrong?
It certainly wasn't the basic story. Naturally, it has been told many times in the past, but it was a coherent plot - alien species gets wiped out with a few surviving, they need materials to rebuild their world, said materials are in the possession of the race that has wiped them out. Nothing wrong with that.
OK, the story is set in the future, and there are lots of weird alien races. Yes, we really have no idea who they are and what they do. I admit, the other dimension market place was a little weird, but it was also cool to watch.
The main issue was with the leads. They had zero presence on the screen, and had zero chemistry between them. Valerian proposes early on, but i didn't see anything there. They were flat, no fizz, no sparkle. No matter how much the other elements of the film would work, they ruined it. The other casting was a little off as well. Clive Own can be a very good actor, but i feel like he was there for the money only.
I love a cheesy scifi film, and if they had different leads, then this would have been great. I didn't care that they were non household names, i just wanted them to have a presence on the screen.
Worth watching for the special effects and the basic plot, but only if you can watch it for free on the streaming services.