Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets isn’t an original idea — it’s based on Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières’ comic series, Valérian and Laureline — but it’s unlikely we’ll see a more innovative-looking movie at the box office this year. For one thing, the $180 million blockbuster looks like Avatar-meets-Jupiter Ascending-meets-staring at one of those psychedelic posters in Hot Topic for too long. Also, it’s written and directed by Luc Besson, the mind behind Léon: The Professional and The Fifth Element. Come to think of it, Valerian — with its imaginative world-building and literally colorful characters — is like The Fifth Element, if The Fifth Element starred Rihanna as an alien stripper.
Here’s the official premise:
In the 28th century, Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) are a team of special operatives charged with maintaining order throughout the human territories. Under assignment from the Minister of Defense, the two embark on a mission to the astonishing city of Alpha—an ever-expanding metropolis where species from all over the universe have converged over centuries to share knowledge, intelligence and cultures with each other. There is a mystery at the center of Alpha, a dark force which threatens the peaceful existence of the City of a Thousand Planets, and Valerian and Laureline must race to identify the marauding menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets opens July 21.