Expert Pick: ‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets’ – Sci-Fi at its best!
Review by Marcus K. Porter
Introducing the Best Sci-Fi Series America Did Not Know Existed
Prepare yourself, cinema and especially sci-fi fans, for total sensory overload arriving to cinemas Summer of 2017 with the July 21st release of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. This fanciful feast for the eyes will be brought to the silver screen thanks to director Luc Besson (The Fifth Element and Lucy) with some of the most stunning visuals imaginable. The uber detailed production takes you on an incredible adventure that hopes to capture forty three years of sci-fi comic glory that has strongly influenced such intergalactic notables as Star Wars, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Fifth Element and Avatar (the similarities are uncanny if not blatant as evidenced in the photo references). The trailer alone will come at you at so many angles you will be as perplexed as you are wanting more.
The story revolves around two heroes, Valerian and Laureline, who are spatio-temporal agents who maintain order through the universe for the government of the human territories. The French science fiction comic series, Valerian and Laureline (this title is way more inclusive), created by writer Pierre Christin and artist Jean-Claude Mezieres first published in Pilote magazine in 1967. The final installment was published in 2010 and all of the Valerian stories are now gathered in graphic novels comprising twenty-one volumes. The special operatives are also played by some interesting choices in casting.
Valerian is none other than Dane DeHaan who played Green Goblin/ Harry Osborn in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Laureline is played by Cara Delevingne who mesmerized audiences as Suicide Squad’s Enchantress and Paper Towns). The universally dynamic duo maintain order throughout the universe for the government of the human territories. Under orders from their commander (Clive Owen), the duo embark on a mission to Alpha, an intergalactic city where diverse species share their technology and resources for the betterment of all. The ever-expanding metropolis is also home to sinister forces that jeopardize the future of mankind. With Rihanna playing a dancer in an alien bar owned by the garishly flamboyant Ethan Hawke. DeHaan says that her role within the film is jaw dropping though fans only received a glimpse of her in the trailer in a retro bowler-hat and she will have a large part in the film. She is probably overjoyed by the casting as she describes herself as a life-long Star Trek fan. Who knew Rihanna was a trekkie, right?
The Trailer in a Nutshell with Fantasy Footnotes:
The pulse-pounding pace of the trailer has a whimsical, surreal feeling with The Beatles trippily intonating “Because” in the background as this totally imaginative though genuinely articulated series alien scenes and characters within play along kind of a get ready for the action kind of introduction then, in typical Besson fashion, the director takes you on a mind bending sequence of action sequences reminiscient of everything from 300, to the underwater scene from Phantom Menace, train hopping Indian Jones and the Last Crusade, Portal gun space chasm crossing, Star Wars spaceship battles, Black Widowesque hallway butt kicking courtesy of Laureline, mini Millenium Falcon flight/ destruction avoidance scene, “Uh Oh! Was that Rihanna?!”, snakey, centipede ship Tatooiney planet scene and all followed by malfunctioning portal gun crash scene adventure/ humor that seems to say after a fantastically fierce fumble, “hey, you see all those surprised space basics in the background? Don’t worry about it, your tagging along with the heroes.” Then boom, cut to title (that sadly, again, has nothing to say about Laureline?) that all but screams reminiscence of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-ison speak. I make all these comparisons to now tell you that the original comic series set the bar for many of those (if not all of those mentioned above) and some of those incredible comparisons are made in the provided photos and are could those blinking triangles on their necks in that train pic be any kind of Suicide Squad/ Battle Royale plot pusher? My double buttered Junior Minted popcorn, Twizzler-strawed Cherry Coke lovin’ self will see you in theaters to find out!
Your Nerdical Knowledge of the Day: John Lennon had the idea for “Because” when he heard Yoko playing Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” on piano. He asked her to play it backwards and based the song on what he heard. The vocals are a 3-part harmony by John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison that are overdubbed twice to create a 9-part harmony. It is the only Beatles song with three singers throughout. Lennon thought the arrangement was terrible, but McCartney and Harrison thought it was the best track on Abbey Road. The song was also the first to use the Moog synthesizer on any recording. George had the instrument specially made and did his best to figure it out for the session. The trailer features a remixed version and received a standing ovation in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con.
Plus, for the Uber Nerd!:
Oh, yes, we love us some botany! Valerian is also a perennial flowering plant, with heads of sweet scented pink or white flowers. They bloom in the summer and reach a height of 5 feet. Valerian flower extracts were used as a perfume in the 16th century. It has been used as a medicinal herb since at least the time of ancient Greece and Rome. Hippocrates described the properties of the plant and Galen prescribed it to relieve insomnia. The medicinal properties of the herb are to be research both for their positive attributes as well as possibility for adverse effects as it can produce central nervous system depression and should not be used with other depressants.
In medieval Sweden, it was occasionally placed in wedding clothes of the groom to ward off the envy of elves. Valerian root and leaves are a cat attractant similar to, and as safe as, catnip. Some reports note that it can also attract rats and was described in The Pied Piper of Hamelin in that he used both his pipes and the herb to lead the rats. The name of the herb is derived from the personal name Valeria (could they possibly have a daughter?!) and the Latin verb valere (to be strong, healthy).
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Photo Source(s): Teaser-Trailer.com, Entertainment Weekly, Movie News Guide, Cosmopolitan, and Wired.