‘VALERIAN’ looks like ‘THE FIFTH ELEMENT’ on steroids – and we’re totally into it


Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne in VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS. Courtesy of STX Entertainment.

Courtney Howard // Film Critic

Confession: It took me two sittings to fully comprehend the greatness that is Luc Besson’s THE FIFTH ELEMENT.

When I saw it in its initial theatrical run, I thought it was way too goofy and out bizarre and that lone highlight was Leeloo’s Chanel instant eye make-up contraption (of which, twenty years later, I’m still waiting for this to be mass marketed). My appreciation for that beloved film didn’t appear until it hit video and my Suncoast (remember those?!) manager forced us to play it during her shifts. It was only upon the third time hearing “Azziz! LIGHTS!” did my love take shape.

I don’t think this will be the case with Besson’s latest sci-fi space opera, VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS – though I will say that, judging by its final trailer, we will all want to see it more than once.

This trailer emphasizes the aesthetics and action, whereas the previously released teaser (below) also managed to spotlight the two characters, Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevinge), at the heart of this story.

Adapted from Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières‘s wild comic book, Besson’s vision is akin to THE FIFTH ELEMENT only on steroids. That said, we’re totally into it!

Here’s the official synopsis:

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.


About author

Courtney Howard

Courtney Howard is a LAFCA, CCA, OFCS and AWFJ member, as well as a Rotten Tomatometer-approved film critic. Her work has been published on Variety, She Knows and Awards Circuit.