One of the things that made me happy about the success of Guardians of the Galaxy was that it would hopefully show to studios that there’s a market for totally crazy space opera. By which I mean space opera without the word “star” in the title. Disney was pretty much guaranteed to print their own money with Star Wars movies, but something based on an obscure comics title featuring a talking raccoon? That was a gamble. That it paid off suggested to me that there’s a popular hunger for aliens and surreal planets and space battles and… and.. awesome stuff. In retrospect it seems obvious that audiences would respond well to awesome stuff, but there you go.
Strangely, the only non-Star space opera we’ve had since Guardians has been the Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending. That film was pretty and dumb in a charming way and it was indeed packed to the gills with awesome stuff. It also went over like a lead balloon, which concerned me. Hopefully the space opera renaissance wasn’t over before it began!
Enter a new hope: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Luc Besson’s adaptation of the French comic book. We’re talking about the gentleman who made The Fifth Element here, returning to the genre after twenty years to show the kids how it’s done. Let’s take a look at the newest trailer.
Holy cow. More like Valerian and the City of Awesome Stuff! I think this is one hell of a trailer: colorful, fun and exciting. It manages to sell drama without being po-faced or giving too much away. And it’s pulpily gorgeous! Like the cover of a science fiction paperback come to life.
My only qualm is that the two leads look way too young for their roles. I’m starting to suspect there’s a painting of a postpubescent Dane DeHaan in an attic somewhere. The dude is thirty-one and he still looks like a twinkle in his daddy’s eye.
What do you think? Sound off in the comments.