Sometimes, people go to movies for a very specific reason. Maybe it's because one actor's performance is incredible, or because the soundtrack is killer. For Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, it's definitely the film's visuals that are its biggest draw. But is Valerian in 3D worth it? In other words, will the movie's crazy alien worlds and breathtaking special effects be just as stunning in standard 2D, or is it worth shelling out the few extra dollars to take in all the wonder that director Luc Besson has created in 3D?
If you're going to see Valerian in theaters, you're going to want to see it in 3D. Without question, the main reason to see this film is for the spectacle of it — it looks unlike any other movie. Nobody's going to see it for the plot or for Cara Delevingne's performance (well, probably some people are), they're going to escape for a couple hours to a colorful and fantastical alien universe. That's not to say that the plot or Delevingne's performance are bad, but this movie's calling card is its insane special effects. There's a reason why this film based on a French comic book you've probably never heard of has a production budget that's higher than Spider-Man: Homecoming, Wonder Woman, and War for the Planet of the Apes; and it's because no expense was spared when it comes to the film's special effects thanks to Besson's passion and vision.
As is evident from the trailer, Valerian's visuals are out of this world — no pun intended. While Avatar remains the benchmark for 3D films, Valerian looks to be the first serious competitor to its throne. That's no accident, either. Besson has been working on the film for a very long time, and he even threw out the first version of his script after paying a visit to James Cameron on the set of Avatar because he felt he couldn't compete with what that film was doing. Now, a decade later, it seems his time has come.
The film features a whopping 2,355 visual effects, which according to The Hollywood Reporter is 600 more than Rogue One. And when your movie has 600 more special effects than a Star Wars film, you can bet that it's going to be a visual feast. There are countless species of aliens inhabiting the titular city and its thousand different worlds, and this diversity means you never know what type of crazy thing you'll see next in the film.
The bottom line is this: if you're going to see Valerian, see it in 3D. The film's main selling point is its ridiculous visuals, so you might as well see it in all its intended glory.