Tonight, I rented and watched Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.
After watching this film, and recalling what I saw in The Fifth Element a few years ago, I’ve come to a few conclusions.
The first and most obvious conclusion that comes to my mind is the fact that both Valerian and 5th Element despise male aggression. Potent, masculine, unapologetic virility is, in fact, vilified in the antagonists of these two movies. In Valerian, they choose to have an out-of-control 5-star English general be the bad guy. In that movie, the general was eager to fight a war over a planet inhabited by primitives aka “noble savages”, and the rubble from the battle destroyed their planet. In 5th Element, the bad guy was an arms dealer who spoke with an American accent who was reckless in getting what he wanted. Both antagonists in both movies were white, violent, portrayed as reckless, careless, unloving caricatures.
As for the heroes, in both movies, the protagonists are heroic and daring. But their heroism is caged in a certain way. Their path is controlled by the boundaries set by the androgynous society they live in within each film. They can “be all they can be,” but within certain limits. Each hero seems to have some sort of a collar on that keeps him effectively neutered in a certain sense.
The second thing I’ve concluded is that both Valerian and 5th Element loves androgyny. These two movies love to blur the lines between what makes a man or a woman. The 5th Element, for example, if filled with effeminate, gay-looking men, including Chris Tucker’s character Ruby Rhod. At the end of Valerian, the emperor, though a male, has the voice of an English actress. And like The Fifth Element, Valerian is filled with effeminate side characters who could easily be assumed to be sodomites. The main protagonist, Valerian himself, seems masculine, but he spent the entire film with a female alien in his mind–a plot point the movie makes sure to remind us about a few times. I can feel the director’s smirk. Quite creepy.
Finally, at the end of both The Fifth Element as well as Valerian, the good guys can only win if they “give in to love.” In 5th Element, Bruce Willis’ character has to come to terms with loving the alien girl Leeloo. Once he proclaims his love for her, she is able to let go, and turn her body into a light show that somehow saves the day from evil. In Valerian, the protagonist has to be lectured by his love interest, and he is told that if he is going to truly express love, he has to turn in a rare alien species to the “noble savages” he’s worked to discover. And only by doing the right thing, and giving in to love, will his partner agree to marry him.
Both Valerian and The 5th Element are visually stunning. All the better to reel you in, my dear. Once in, you can be spoon fed a world of misandry, effeminacy, and a kind of “love conquers all” emotionalism that you typically can listen to on FM radio’s pop stations.
These two films are the products of European minds. When it comes to science fiction, this is what Europe has to offer, it seems. When it comes to world-building in this day and age, the Europeans are only capable of extolling the most twisted, utopian, effeminate ideals imaginable. If these films were a signal of where European culture was headed, I’d say it’s to the gutter. I watch a film like this, and I say to myself “My God, they’re damned soft,” and it comes as no surprise to me that the entire continent is being taken over by invaders who could give a damn about their perverted deviancy.
Surely I’m wrong. Somebody, please, correct me. Surely there’s pockets of good writing and good talent over there who ardently desire to produce good science fiction without the faggotry. I hear Eastern Europe is a bit tougher than Western Europe. Hungary’s cool, from what I read. But honestly, this spectacle I watched tonight seemed like an ill omen.