Twenty years after his movie The Fifth Element wowed audiences with its visually arresting depiction of a high-tech world, Luc Besson is making his return to futuristic science-fiction with the summer 2017 release Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. That title alone screams “ambitious production.” If you happened to catch one of the trailers for Valerian, you know the movie promises to deliver crazy visual spectacle along with Besson’s signature brand of operatic action.
It’s easy to look at the Valerian trailers and think the movie could become bogged down in visual spectacle and technical wizardry instead of delivering real thrills. Has Besson created something truly memorable with Valerian or is it just another over-designed, over-the-top sci-fi movie? The man who plays the title character in Valerian says the movie delivers the goods.
In an interview with Screen Rant, star Dane DeHaan talked about what Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets has in store for audiences. DeHaan promises not only an awesome experience but a unique one as well. Audiences will be pleased with what Besson has created, according to DeHaan:
“Well, Valerian, I think, is really going to be very mind-blowing and really crazy. A franchise movie that I think will be a breath of fresh air, in terms of its voice. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had making a movie, so I hope it’s the most fun people have watching a movie.”
Based on a comic book by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mezieres, Valerian transports audiences to the massive city Alpha, where beings from all over the universe mingle in an inter-species melting pot. Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne play time-traveling special operatives sent to Alpha on an investigation. The impressive cast also includes John Goodman, Ethan Hawke, Clive Owen, Rihanna and Rutger Hauer. The look of the characters will be a big part of the visual wow-factor in Valerian, just as it was in The Fifth Element.
Sci-fi spectacle on the scale of Valerian is always a risky proposition. For every successful movie like The Fifth Element, there’s a disaster like the Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending. As movie-making technology becomes more and more sophisticated and special effects more powerful, there’s greater temptation for directors to craft breathtakingly gorgeous worlds that lack the story underpinnings necessary to hold them up. There’s more to world-building than just creating visual spectacle.
World-building thankfully is something Luc Besson does very well, as The Fifth Element proved. Dane DeHaan indicates that besides being great-looking, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets will also be a lot of fun. If Besson has indeed pulled off creating a gorgeous futuristic movie that also happens to be genuinely entertaining, then Valerian will be poised to become a massive hit, and maybe launch a franchise.