What's it all about?
In the 28th century, Valerian and Laureline are special operatives charged with keeping order throughout the human territories. The two undertake a mission to Alpha, an ever-expanding metropolis where species from across the universe have converged over centuries to share knowledge, intelligence, and culture. At the center of Alpha is a mysterious dark force which threatens the peaceful existence of the City of a Thousand Planets, and Valerian and Laureline must race to identify the menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe.
If you haven’t heard of the movie yet, the question to ask would be, “Which planet were you living on?”, which seems appropriate as it turns out there are more than just a handful of them in Luc Besson's latest science-fiction epic, Valerian: The City of the Thousand Planets. But let’s dive into why exactly you need to pay attention to this big-budget summer tentpole.
1. It’s ORIGINAL.
With the number of pre-existing franchises milking the box-office with sequels, prequels and spin-offs, Valerian is a refreshingly new story based on the French comic book series Valerian and Laureline by Pierre Christin and artist Jean-Claude Mézières. The series follows the titular characters who are two spatio-temporal agents that can travel through time and space, and stop rogue time-travellers from creating time-paradoxes. The series itself predates several from the same genre and even films like Star Wars and Besson’s own The Fifth Element, take cues from Valerian concepts and art!
2. Luc Besson is a genius.
Love him or hate him, Luc Besson’s visionary style is undeniable. The man has been behind some of the memorable action films including La Femme Nikita, Leon – the Professional, The Fifth Element. If those films are a bit before your time, then look no further than the Scar-Jo starrer Lucy as well as the fan-favourite Taken series. He’s a master auteur with a flair for slick action thrillers and for Valerian he gets back into the director’s chair to make a comic book that he has been in love with from the time he was 8 years old, come to life. Here’s another huge fact: Besson forfeited his entire salary to keep the budget he wanted in place!
3. The Visual Effects.
Anyone who has seen The Fifth Element or even 2014’s Lucy, knows that Luc Besson films come with top-notch VFX. Interestingly enough, Besson didn’t think he could make this film because of the sheer number of aliens and otherworldly territories he would have to. Fortunately, James Cameron’s Avatarblew his mind enough to convince him that he could accomplish the task, that’s right, Luc Besson literally waited for technology to become better for him to make this film for you and even got Weta Digital AND ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) on board for the VFX. Now that’s commitment!
4. The Cast.
Apart from the leads Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne, the supporting cast of this film has some heavy hitters in the form of Clive Owen (Children of Men, Shoot Em’ Up), Ethan Hawke (Boyhood, Predestination) and John Goodman (Argo, The Big Lebowski). The movie’s musical stylings are equally impressive with Rihanna making her return to the big screen and even jazz legend Herbie Hancock makes an appearance. Besson went on record to say that Hancock’s music was an inspiration for him as a younger man.
5. The Future of Valerian.
Valerian is the start of a whole new world that actually deserves its own universe, unlike certain franchises that are being turned into 'universes' just to cash in on a trend (*cough*themummy*cough*). The comics have been around for ages, and the worlds featured in them have a rich backstory as do their progressive and charming leads Valerian and Laureline. Besson has already finished writing the script for the sequel and he has begun working on the third instalment! With its PG-13 rating and action-comedy tags it could be the franchise to define a whole new generation of science fiction fans!
Another no-brainer to go watch Valerian could be to be one of the first few to break the spatio-temporal continuum and watch it in India at exclusive India premiere happening in Delhi, Bombay and Bangalore on the 26th & 27th of July! Click here to find out!