Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
After an absence of 18 years French director Luc Besson returns to the Science Fiction genre. Not since The Fifth Element from 1997 has he directed a hard-core SF movie in a move fans hope will return him to the spotlight. The movie, slated for July 2017, will not be a sequel to Le Cinquième Élément, instead it will be based on the bestselling French comic book series that launched in 1967 produced by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézieres’. It is entitled Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. It concerns two spies who work for mankind solving galactic problems. Besson was quoted as saying that ‘They’re super-agents who travel through time and space. They work for the Human Federation’. However he was unwilling to give up more details. Meanwhile Luc Besson has hired four artists to visualize his world. They were hired after he sent a thousand letters to art schools around the world. Their task was to create a world inspired by Blade Runner and Star Wars. The movie has already drawn attention at Cannes, where it was a hot pre-sale title, but criticism has also focused on Besson’s choice of leads. Both Cara Delevigne and Dane DeHaan are new to the acting world and are largely unknown.
For a movie with a 180 million dollar budget the announcement was incredibly low-key. To be sure, the movie is still two years away from release, but it is never a day too late to start get fans excited. With the hype surrounding the Star Wars movies and the success of Star Trek and Marvel Comic adaptations there is always the risk that there will be no hype surrounding Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Over the last few years there have been a number of notable flops. Movies such as John Carter of Mars almost brought down Disney while the Wachowskis have seen their last three movies (Speed Racer, Cloud Atlas and Jupiter Ascending) perform poorly. The recent abysmal performance of Disney’s Tomorrowland actually ensured that the third TRON movie was cancelled. All this leaves Luc Besson swinging in the breeze with a 180 million dollar project starring two unknown actors and a comic franchise not known outside of France. Yet, the director is not worried. In a quip at this years Comic-Con in San Diego the director stated that if he wanted to take no risks he would work at a post office.
For now I will be cautiously excited about Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. I hope Besson can take away my worry that this will flop. However, the director has been known to pull of the impossible. Lucy, the movie starring Scarlett Johansson released two years ago made 450 million on a 40 million budget. Valerian is at this moment in pre-production with principal photography to start in January 2016.
The Fifth Element
For those wanting to take a trip down memory lane can visit the dedicated page I have set up for The Fifth Element. It is still work in progress, but expect more sections to be added over the coming weeks. Enjoy!