Recently, I went to see the movie “Valerian.” The graphics were amazing, but…
I had some issues with it.
So, partially because of the cast, I thought it was more likely to have feminist messages and that it might be more likely to show diversity.
Gosh, was I wrong.
At the beginning of the movie, there’s a montage of the past years at space stations, and almost every astronaut is a white man. I don’t remember seeing any women.
Pretty much from the first moment you meet him, the character of Valerian makes clear that he is romantically interested in his partner, Loraline. Even when they’re on a mission, he won’t let it go. And eventually, she starts to flirt back, which seems ridiculous.
Valerian also looks to be very young, but he’s still the main character and his military rank is Major. It’s pretty clear Loraline is just there to help him, and not to succeed in her own right. Speaking of which, her name was in the title of the original comics, but somehow not in the movie title.
A large part of the movie is Valerian going to save Loraline, literally because she stopped to touch a butterfly and got trapped. But you know, that’s obviously how women are, always getting distracted by pretty things!
In fact, there’s another scene where a husband and wife are at a market, and the husband of course knows that the wife will want to buy too much stuff.
Not to mention the fact that 1,000+ years into the future, a bunch of old white men are still in charge. There’s one point where a minor character is supposed to be Arab, but I’m not sure that the actor is, and he’s wearing a ridiculously large turban and very stereotypical clothing.
There’s also a race of aliens that has an emperor (which is a whole other thing, implying other civilizations must not be as advanced as the ones we specifically know), and his wife almost never speaks. She just sits there and smiles and lets him talk.
And another thing—there are no gay couples anywhere. It might seem like that would be a part of life in the future, but apparently not. I think it’s important for everyone to see a love story that they can relate to, and this movie was sorely lacking. There weren’t any interracial couples either.
Essentially, the graphics and the fight scenes in Valerian were epic, but the story was something I’ve seen a million times, and grossly underrepresented many different groups of people.