The “Lucy” and “The Professional” filmmaker’s latest feature is based on the French sci-fi comics series “Valérian and Laureline,” written by Pierre Christin and illustrated by Jean-Claude Mézières. It was a childhood favorite of Besson, one that was originally distributed as two-page panels in the weekly magazine “Pilote.”
Even the visionary Besson thought the story, complete with a slew of complex alien creatures and space-set locations, was impossible to make. Then technology caught up with him, allowing him to bring his beloved vision to life. But it didn’t come cheap.
The ambitious $180 million production bowed its latest trailer at this week’s CinemaCon to a mostly appreciative audience filled with theater owners and press. The film follows a pair of “spatio-temporal agents,” played by Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne, who are charged with keeping the peace across the universe. When a mysterious force threatens the so-called “city of a thousand planets,” Alpha, they’re called in to help.
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The newest trailer opens on a desert planet that fans of “Star Wars” will likely instantly gravitate towards, complete with a laid-back and smirking DeHaan and his partner Delevingne (in the books, a hero in her own right). Even while threatened by plenty of menacing creatures — and Besson promised lots of creatures — the spirit and tone remains light and fun, no heavy stuff here.
But once we are introduced to Alpha and its out-of-nowhere battle, things hedge towards the more dangerous, and the action ratchets way up. So does the ambition, with aliens and settings reminiscent of “Avatar” and space-set action that should enthrall “Valerian” fans and sci-fi lovers alike. Earlier this week, Besson told a group of journalists that he could easily assemble a whole new trailer without duplicating a shot — but what’s on the table already is certainly bold enough.
Check out the film’s newest trailer below.
“Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” opens July 21 in theaters nationwide.