How did the new Luc Besson movie “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” compare to the now-two-decades-old film of his, “The Fifth Element“? Both were very funny and action-packed. It would be interesting to ask someone who saw the two movies but Valerian first. With that said, here are my impressions:
Valerian might as well have been played by Keanu Reeves, since the actor is basically channeling him. Actor Dane DeHann will inevitably be compared to Fifth Element’s much-older-than-the-female protagonist Bruce Willis. However, this time it is Valerian’s co-heroine Laureline who feels more like Willis’ “Corben Dallas”, doing both cracking-wise and kicking-ass. Actress Cara Delvingne apparently sang a song for the soundtrack, too, which is always fun. (That happened in a similarly trippy action fest from 2011, “Sucker Punch“, too.)
It has similar pacing, production design, fun dialog, and incredible visuals, just like Fifth Element. However, though the scale is much more grand – Valerian spans planets and thousands of creatures – the movie just doesn’t feel quite as important.
Both films have the process of a character coming to understand the horrors of war. In the Fifth Element, its “Leeloo” who in a heartbreaking scene, experiences it through a super-speed computer history lesson. In Valerian, it’s an entire group of tribal, peaceful characters who explain in a narrative flashback that they, after having their planet exterminated by an unrelated war from space, learned about the self-destructive human race who caused the genocide. It’s the same theme in both films, but Leeloo’s eye-opening scene just felt more important, perhaps because Fifth Element focused on just her individual evolution in that scene.
Leeloo is just more lovable than the tribe in Valerian.
It’s such a powerful paradigm shift for Leeloo that actress Milla Jovovich cries. In Valerian we’re told the same thing about the human race’s penchant for war and hate, but during a flashback about a group of characters, none of whom we really have any attachment to or character development for, so it’s just not as moving. One can still empathize for the tribe’s plight, but by the time the evolution in understanding happens to Leeloo, the viewer is already in love with her character.
In addition to being one of the main protagonists in the Fifth Element, Leeloo is also the title character and essentially the MacGuffin (the object around which the plot centers), all in one. However, as we learn in the film’s climax, the final element is more than just Leeloo – it’s love. Without it, they’d never have saved the world. In Valerian, the MacGuffin is a little creature that can reproduce and multiply whatever you stick in its butt. Besson’s message about love is present however, just in another way. In a movie with more than one self-important government agent character, Laureline is the character who puts love over the law at the climax of the film, in one of the film’s deeper moments. (more…)
Last week I had the opportunity to share a bit of my journey with folks at Anarchapulco. I subsumed my stories — from a racist phase, to a nationalist phase, to one more aligned with complete liberty — within the integral nature that ideas have in shaping our perception of the world and thus, our actions. And I underscored the role that language plays in communication, and the fact that individuals can change.
Originally launched in August of 2015, Cell 411 has since been installed 85,000 times, worldwide. Its primary purpose is to connect people with their friends, family, and neighbors in any emergency situation, from being pulled over, to a fire, to medical emergency. At that it’s been an incredible success, and it’s free to use. Now, by adding ride sharing, Cell 411 has gone to the next level. They’ve decentralized ride sharing even moreso than UBER and Lyft and Cell 411 did it without a single dollar from investors or publicity in advance. For those who have been watching Arcade City – Cell 411 has accomplished AC’s original vision while Arcade City’s app doesn’t even have ride sharing yet.
I’ve been a longtime supporter of Arcade City. Arcade City’s founder, Christopher David gave a great keynote speech at the 2015 Keenevention and is a blogger here at Free Keene. In its early days and through the summer I promoted AC on my radio show and became one of the top recruiters. However with the early September release of the current software, I was pretty bummed that ride-sharing was not included, and instead it was just a “game” involving earning and giving “karma points” to other people in the network. It didn’t make sense, especially since Arcade City already had ride-scheduling in their early 2016 app. Obviously the code from the first app could have been included in the September 2016 release and allowed drivers to get started giving people rides immediately.
Good-bye UBER, Cell 411 is here.
Arcade City had succeeded and building incredible buzz by moving operations to Austin, TX after the city council there drove UBER and Lyft out of town with their control-freak regulations. They made a facebook group, (since their old app had been pulled from the Android and Apple stores at this point in anticipation of the September-released app) and attracted 30,000+ participants into the group! The Austin facebook group garnered a bunch of media and even a police raid of the Arcade City offices.
Drivers of UBER and Lyft were understandably interested in Arcade City, which promised an app that would truly decentralize ride sharing. The original vision Chris David had was to cut the corporations out of the picture. No longer would UBER and Lyft (and their imitators) be able to control the drivers. Drivers would be able to set their own rates as well as accepted payment methods – cash, bitcoin, credit card, silver, or whatever. This vision would bring a new level of competition to the transportation business, while making it even harder for governments to target those involved with regulation. (more…)
It’s not a coincidence that New Hampshire has arguably the highest concentration of bitcoin and crypto-friendly people anywhere. For more than a decade there have been active migrations of libertarian, voluntarist, and liberty anarchists moving to New Hampshire. Many of these movers are activists who are into alternative currencies and the bitcoin community here has exploded as a result.
The oldest migration of libertarians to New Hampshire is the Free State Project, which as of September 2016 boasts nearly 2,000 participants already in New Hampshire, with 18,000 more pledged to move by the year 2021. There’s also the more decentralized Shire Society which has been encouraging liberty-loving people to declare their personal independence and move to “The Shire” since 2010.
These early movers are not only users of bitcoin, but are also some of the key developers and creators of the bitcoin world. Liberty migrants to New Hampshire created the iconic, most-installed-in-the-world Lamassu bitcoin vending machine in Manchester. Some are developing the evolutionary “Open Bazaar” and “LBRY” software. Decentralized ride-sharing app “Arcade City” has also sprung up just this year, and within a week of it being announced, signed up 1000 drivers worldwide. Arcade City founder and liberty migrant Christopher David said, “With its libertarian leanings and an influx of free staters, New Hampshire is perfectly positioned to become a major hub for bitcoin and blockchain startups. That’s a big reason why I moved here.”