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by yo go re

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets was based on a comic called Valérian et Laureline. We already reviewed the "Valerian," now let's review the "et."

With her superior intelligence, determination, and independence, Laureline has been Major Valerian's partner for two years. She undertook her first real assignments in the field with him, and they have a 100% success rate. They form one of the most prominent partnerships in the human army.

Valerian or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) completely ignores one of the coolest things about Laureline. If you remember the Valerian review, we said he was kind of a time-cop. [ATCAB --ed.] His mission in the first comic arc involved travelling 28th century to the 11th, where he promptly got captured by a plant. Unable to extricate himself, he was rescued by a local girl - Laureline, naturally. Despite being a peasant from the Middle Ages, she figured out that Valerian was a time-traveller, so he had no choice but to bring her back to his future to keep her from contaminating the timeline. And that's how she joined the Spatio-Temporal Service and became his partner! It's presumably still true in the film, just unmentioned. A little more exposition wouldn't have been the worst thing in the world.

Laureline, in the comics, was a redhead, because of course she was. In the movie she's blonde, because Luc Besson didn't want people to confuse her with Leeloo Dallas - a fair choice to make, since Leeloo's red hair (actually orange, but you know what we mean) was inspired by comic Laureline in the first place. She was played by Cara Delevigne, displaying a ton more personality (and talent) than she did as Enchantress in the Oscar-winning Suicide Squad, and the toy has a fair likeness. Bonus fact: although the name "Laureline" is fairly popular in France (and Belgium) today, it didn't exist prior to 1967 - it really was fully invented for the comic character!

Valerian and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn: And As It Is Such, So Also Such Is It Unto You is a crazy, colorful movie, but the toys feature the dark, boring spacesuits. Those made sense in the film, since it helped them stand apart from the sugar-rush world in the background (the opposite of the way the Mystery Men comic worked, and the way the movie failed to), but as toys they're dull, no matter how well-sculpted they are. Laureline's suit is technically the same model as Valerian's was, though of course she wears hers better. Call it the Wolverine principle: a woman wearing an identical outfit to a guy will look nicer in it. Or is that a theorem? Whichever, it holds true. There are plenty of details in the armor, but a lady in gunmetal grey isn't going to stand out on shelves.

Laureline's articulation is the same as Valerian's: swivel/hinge/swivel ankles, swivel/hinge knees, swivel thighs, swivel/hinge hips, swivel/hinge wrists, swivel/hinge elbows, swivel/​hinge shoulders, a balljointed chest, and a balljointed head. Valerian and the Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire came out in 2017, before NECA was really doing double-elbows all the time, which is why Laureline's only got singles. And like with Valerian, the knees seem too low on the leg. Her long hair hangs straight down, as it should, but that means you can't do a lot with the head.

Her only accessories are the same gun and knife as the other figure had. It's been a while since I watched Valerian and the Sun Beneath the Sea or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (Featuring Dante from the Devil May Cry Series), but I definitely don't remember a knife being a part of it. [That's not true any more: it happened to come on TV after writing but while I was taking photos for the review; still no knife though. --yo] Why not give her the adorable little transmuter creature? They had the opportunity, but missed it.

Honestly, "missed opportunity" sums up the Increasingly Poor Decisions of Valerian: Of Course You're Still Single, Take a Look At Yourself, You Dumb Slut line very well. There are plenty of things NECA could have done before Valerian and Laureline in their space suits. Give us their "tourist" disguises from the Big Market, give us Bubble in her natural form or in one of her fancy Rhianna cabaret costumes, give us one of the Pearl aliens, give us any of the aliens, give us Ethan Hawke's techo-cowboy pimp, give us Bob the awesome submarine captain (though that might tread dangerously close to infringing on Mezco's Captain Nemo)... but no, instead we get two grey humans and one black robot. How insanely dull. Valerian and the Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood is not a bad movie. It deserved better than it got, both at the box office and in toy stores.

-- 12/04/21

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