Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)

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Date Created: 04/02/2018
Date Modified: 04/02/2018
Runtime: 137 min -
A dark force threatens Alpha, a vast metropolis and home to species from a thousand planets. Special operatives 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 (French: Valérian et la Cité des mille planètes) is a 2017 English-language French 3D space operafilm[10] written and directed by Luc Besson, and co-produced by Besson and his wife, Virginie Besson-Silla. The film is based on the French science fiction comics series Valérian and Laureline, written by Pierre Christin and illustrated by Jean-Claude Mézières. It stars Dane DeHaan as Valerian and Cara Delevingne as Laureline, with Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, Herbie Hancock, Kris Wu and Rutger Hauer in supporting roles. Besson independently crowd-sourced and personally funded Valerian. With a production budget of around $180 million, it is both the most expensive non-American and independent film ever made.[11]

Valerian was released by STXfilms on 21 July 2017 in the United States, and in France on 26 July, by EuropaCorp.[12][13] It received mixed reviews from critics, who criticized the plot and some of the casting, but praised the visuals. It grossed $225 million worldwide,[14] but due to its high production and advertising costs, was considered a commercial failure.
In the 28th century, the former International Space Station has reached critical mass, making it too dangerous to keep in Low Earth Orbit. Relocated to deep space, it became Alpha, a space-traveling city inhabited by millions of creatures from thousands of planets. A special police division is created to preserve peace through the galaxy, including happy-go-lucky Major Valerian and his partner, no-nonsense SergeantLaureline.

En route to a mission, Valerian dreams of a planet where a low-tech humanoid race lives peacefully. They fish for pearls containing enormous amounts of energy, and use small animals to replicate them. Wreckage begins plummeting from the sky, followed by an apocalyptic explosion. Moments before her death a young princess manages to send out a telepathic signal.

Shaken, Valerian awakes. After an analysis reveals he might have received a signal from across time and space, he learns that his mission is to retrieve a "Mül converter", so-called for being able to replicate anything it eats. It is the last of its kind, and currently in the hands of black marketdealer Igon Siruss. Before setting out, Valerian asks Laureline to marry him, but she brushes him off, due to his many affairs with female colleagues and his aversion to commitment.

Travelling to a massive extra-dimensional bazaar called Big Market, Valerian disrupts a meeting between Igon and two hooded figures who look like the humanoids from his vision. They also seek the converter, which is revealed to be one of the small animals he saw in his vision. Valerian and Laureline recover the converter, and he surreptitiously steals one of the pearls. Aboard their ship, he learns that Mül was destroyed 30 years earlier, and all information about it is classified.

They return to Alpha, where their superior, frosty Commander Arün Filitt, informs them the center of the station has been infected by an unknown force, rendering it highly toxic. Troops sent into the area have not returned, and the infection is growing. Laureline and Valerian are assigned to protect the commander during an interstation summit to discuss the crisis. Against the Commander's wishes, Laureline maintains possession of the converter.

During the summit, the humanoids suddenly attack, incapacitating everyone before kidnapping Filitt. Valerian chases the kidnappers to the infected area and crashes his vehicle. Evading arrest for insubordination, Laureline enlists the help of some aliens to track Valerian, and finds him unconscious at the edge of the infected zone. She wakes him, but is kidnapped by a primitive imperial tribe emigrated from planet Goara[17] called "Boulan Bathors" that lives nearby. Valerian infiltrates the tribe's territory with the help of a shape-shifting dancer, Bubble. They save Laureline and escape, but Bubble is mortally wounded. As she dies, she convinces Valerian to never give up on his feelings for Laureline.

Valerian and Laureline venture further into the infected area, realizing it is actually not toxic and contains some wrecks of antique spacecraft. They reach a large shielded hall where they find the humanoids, known as Pearls, with an unconscious Filitt. Their leader, Emperor Haban Limaï, explains that his people lived peacefully on Mül until a battle broke out in orbit between the human government's fleet and another species. The human commander, Filitt, ordered the use of a doomsday weapon that annihilated both the enemy and the planet. Upon dying, Princess Lihö-Minaa transferred her soul into Valerian's body. A small group of survivors took shelter in a crashed human spaceship. They managed to repair it, and learned of the humans' technology and history. They eventually came to Alpha, where they assimilated more knowledge and built a ship that could recreate their former home. They needed only the converter and the pearl to launch the ship. Filitt admits his role in the genocide, but argues that it was necessary to end the war, and the cover-up to prevent the humans from being expelled from Alpha. Valerian and Laureline disagree, stating that the commander has only been trying to save himself from the consequences for his actions, before Valerian knocks him out again.

Valerian hands over the pearl he stole, and Laureline convinces him to return the converter too, ignoring procedures. While the Pearls' spacecraft prepares for takeoff to no more bother the other species in Alpha, Filitt's pre-programmed robot K-Tron soldiers attack the Pearls, the government soldiers who were sent to assist Valerian, and their support staff, but are ultimately defeated. The spacecraft departs and Filitt is arrested. Valerian and Laureline are left adrift onboard a still working Apollo Command/Service Module, which is identified by radio technicians as "Destiny 2005", and Laureline finally accepts Valerian's marriage proposal as they wait for rescue.

Cast[edit]Delevingne, DeHaan and Besson at the San Diego Comic-Con 2016 presentation of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, at Camp ConivalDane DeHaan as Major Valerian, a United Human Federation soldier and Laureline's partner/love interest[12]
Cara Delevingne as Sergeant Laureline, a United Human Federation soldier and Valerian's partner/love interest[12]
Clive Owen as Commander Arün Filitt, Valerian and Laureline's commander[12]
Rihanna as Bubble, a shapeshifting alien entertainer[13]
Ethan Hawke as Jolly the Pimp[12]
Herbie Hancock as the Defence Minister[13]
Kris Wu as Sergeant Neza[18][19]
Rutger Hauer as the President of the World State Federation
John Goodman as the voice of Igon Siruss, a Kodar'Khan pirate captain and the galaxy's most-wanted criminal[20]
Elizabeth Debicki as the voice of Emperor Haban Limaï[21]
Sam Spruell as General Okto Bar
Ola Rapace as Major Gibson
Alain Chabat as Bob the Pirate
Thom Findlay as the voice of the Pirates
Mathieu Kassovitz as Camelot on Big Market
Jonas Bloquet as K-Tron Warrior/Control Room Soldier
Sand Van Roy as Jessica Rabbit Creature
Sasha Luss as Princess Lihö-Minaa
Louis Leterrier as Captain Welcoming Mercurys
Olivier Megaton as Captain Welcoming KCO2
Gavin Drea as Sergeant Cooper
Eric Lampaert as Guide Thaziit
Directed byLuc Besson
Produced by
Screenplay byLuc Besson
Based onValérian and Laureline
by Pierre Christin
Jean-Claude Mézières
Music byAlexandre Desplat[1]
CinematographyThierry Arbogast
Edited byJulien Rey
Distributed by
  • EuropaCorp Distribution
  • STXfilms
    (United States)
Release date
Running time
137 minutes[3]
  • €197 million (gross)[5]
    (~$209 million)[6]
  • $177–205 million (net)[6][7][8]
Box office$225.9 million