Final trailer for Luc Besson's Valerian hints at a worthy successor to The Fifth Element

Ben Bussey
UK Movies Writer

20 years on from his beloved sci-fi hit ‘The Fifth Element,’ writer-director Luc Besson looks to be returning to similar territory with ‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.’

The full, final trailer for the upcoming movie just landed, and it looks like pretty spectacular stuff.

Based on French comic book series ‘Valerian and Laureline,’ the movie casts Dane DeHaan in the title role as 28th century special agent Valerian, who works alongside Laureline (Cara Delevingne) as intergalactic peacekeepers.

The duo are sent by their Commander (played by Clive Owen) to Alpha, the thousand-world metropolis of the title, where a dark force threatens to wipe out all life in the system – not entirely unlike the gargantuan ball of fire which threatened to destroy the Earth in ‘The Fifth Element.’

This futuristic-apocalyptic bent would not appear to be the only thing the two films share either. ‘The Fifth Element’ was noted for its loud, bright, striking visual aesthetic, which looks to have been developed here, perhaps with a few hints of ‘Avatar’ picked up along the way.

Alpha, the setting of ‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets’ (credit: Lionsgate)

‘The Fifth Element’ also drew heavily on pop culture, and ‘Valerian’ looks to do likewise: keen ears will note the use of an orchestral version of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Pastime Paradise’ (more familiar to some for its sample in Coolio’s ‘Gangster’s Paradise’) on the soundtrack.

We can expect some musical stars on screen too, with roles for Rihanna and jazz legend Herbie Hancock. Also listed in the cast are Ethan Hawke, Rutger Hauer and John Goodman.

Dane DeHaan is Valerian (credit: Lionsgate)

Will ‘Valerian’ strike a chord with today’s audiences? This sort of space opera material does run the risk of being a little over-familiar, particularly in the wake of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2.’ We might also question why Delevinge’s Laureline, though named in the title of the original comics, has been effectively demoted here, and is heavily under-emphasised in the trailer.

Even so, based on this trailer it certainly shows some promise, and at the very least should make up for the fact that we never got a ‘Fifth Element’ sequel.

‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets’ opens in UK cinemas on 4 August.

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