Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Due to come out on July 21st of 2017 (link to trailer), this is a science fiction movie adapted from the cult French comic book by Cristin et Mézières, Valerian. There have been teasers and trailers floating around for a few months now. One of the things I found odd about these teasers is how people were asked for their reaction to them.

My reaction was and still is Not amused...

The following might turn out to be a nerd rant where I will be making references to events, places, and characters that most readers won't get without some googling.

The Valerian comic books are part of my childhood as one of the few things I actually like and consider as art. The publications span some 40-odd years. That's cutting across a couple of generations. One could say there is a lot of expectations that need to be met in a movie adaptation. Stories with a lengthy span don't make faithful theatrical adaptations since 90-180 minutes would not be enough to cover what would satisfy even a moderate fan. Short stories make better movie adaptations in my opinion.

This movie was directed by Luc Besson. American audiences will most likely know him from the now probably classic The 5thElement. The trailers also mention his other movies like Leon (a.k.a The Professional in the US) and Lucy (really? Lucy? Does anyone really give a shit about that one?). His films vary in quality. Some good like Leon and 5th Element, some okay like the Taxi series. Others.. just.. weird.. like The Dancer. But generally lots of action.

This movie does seem like it will be shall we say, visually good to say the least. The plot on the other hand appears to have been reduced to the rather cliché two unlikely heroes save the universe type of deal.


The title of the movie misleads you into thinking that it might be about L'Empire des Mille Planètes or The Empire of a Thousand Planets, translated. The similarities really stop at the title though. Remember, this is an adaptation, and like we were reminded with the recent Dirk Gently adaptation on BBC America, adaptations may not always give a shit about the original. Also a City is so much less impressive than an Empire.

The "Alpha" city mentioned in the trailer is more like Point Central in the comics, the bureaucratic capital of the galaxy where all species have representatives and therefore need multiple environments and ecosystems close to each other. But yeah, other than that, seems like "new" stuff they are trying out. Adaptation..

Things that caused me to be, as mentioned above, not amused

The characters...

This is Valerian and Laureline.

Valerian et LaurelineValerian and Laureline

This, however, is a pair of idiot juveniles.

Stooge A and Stooge B, Stooge C looking on?Sleepy OnDruggerson and Eyebrows McPoutyGlareFace

The guy here looks like a wimpy kid who huffs excessive amounts of paint thinner and the girl is just trying too hard/seems to be constantly in photoshoot for cologne ad mode, while also huffing volatile chemicals.

I want to write more in depth about the comics some day but for now I'll just say that in comparison, they just don't feel at all like the original characters. Valerian and Laureline were just the last man and woman in the universe trying to find their way home after earth disappeared in 1984. They are time agents, not super agents. They don't go in guns blazing.

The adaptation makes them look like a couple of cocky asses who think they are the center of the universe (Disclaimer, again, this is only my impression from the trailer).

What (for the moment) seems like they got right.

The ship.

And yes, Star Wars seems to be visually similar to ValerianRemember, this was the very early 70's

From the trailers, it doesn't seem like they tried to modernise it too much. It does ping at the nostalgia strings a bit.

Other plus, it seems that at least some of the critters and sentient beings from the comics will be in this movie. Like this guy:

Transmuteur GrognonYou'd be grumpy too if you were made to poop money all the time.

Also, you may need to take a look at these..

Trailer 1:

Trailer 2, i.e. the latest one.: