The highly-anticipated action-adventure film, Valerian & the City of a Thousand Planets, hit theatres in the UAE on 20th July.
Written and directed by legendary French director Luc Besson, responsible for some of film’s most celebrated features such as Leon: The Professional (1994), The Fifth Element (1997) and Lucy (2014), the movie has been a project of love for Besson for several decades.
The visually spectacular adventure is based on the graphic novel series Valerian & Laureline by Pierre Christin and Jean-Claude Mézières, which inspired a generation of artists, writers and filmmakers.
Luc Besson said: “When I was 10 years old, I’d go to the kiosk every Wednesday. One time, I found this magazine called ‘Pilote.’ Inside, I discovered ‘Valerian and Laureline.’ I thought, ‘Oh my God, what is this thing?’ That day, I fell in love with Laureline and I wanted to be Valerian”.
Besson wanted to bring Valerian to the screen in the 1990s, however, constrained by the relatively primitive visual effects technology that was available, he knew it would be some time before he was able to create the wondrous “Valerian and Laureline” universe he knew the source material deserved. Instead, he created the seminal sci-fi movie, The Fifth Element.
Involving three companies and over 80 VFX designers on-set, together they produced 2,734 special effects shots for Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and accomplished the ambitious mission set forth by Besson with a production budget of over $200 million.
The intergalactic adventure stars Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne as agents Valerian and Laureline respectively. The movie also features appearances from seasoned actors Ethan Hawke (Gattaca, Before Sunset), Clive Owen (Children of Men, The Bourne Identity) and international pop star Rihanna.