The teaser trailer for Valerian: City of a Thousand Planets was just released and it looks insane, in both the “cool” sense and the “divorced from reality” sense. This movie comes from Fifth Element director Luc Besson, and it looks of a piece with The Fifth Element—totally bonkers but cool in a fun weird way. And I’m glad, after Cara Delevingne’s character, Laureline, got demoted out of the title, to see her featured prominently in this teaser. It makes me hope that the title change—the French comics are called Valerian and Laureline—is some dumb marketing decision intended to preserve the appeal to men and not a real indication of the story sharing those priorities. But, who knows. We live in a cold world.

This is a teaser so there’s no real plot information, but we get introduced to the world of Valerian and Laureline, played by Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne respectively. DeHaan has generally made a good impression playing bad guys, like Andrew in Chronicle and Harry Osborn in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Here, though, he’s in hero mode and I’m kinda digging it. He’s got a good vibe going, with that little smirk and a general air of excitement. And sort of a young Leonardo DiCaprio thing, right? Maybe it’s the eyes and the cheekbones, but he’s really tapping into Leo circa Romeo + Juliet. And I love his rapport with Cara D. They just look sexy and cool together, and I love that moment when she stops him kissing her. 

And good god are these visuals WILD. The city, the aliens, that weird gold robot thing—all of this looks bananas and fun. It looks like technology has finally caught up to Besson’s vision and allowed him to paint on the biggest, loudest, most neon canvas he could imagine. Also, this is the first time a Beatles song—not a cover, but the actual Beatles recording—has been licensed for a trailer. Is this a mark of quality, or a money grab by the license holder? Either way, it’s effective. This is the coolest sci-fi trailer since Guardians of the Galaxy started the “classic rock song in a comic book movie trailer” trend a couple years ago. It remains to be seen, though, if Valerian will be more like Guardians or Jupiter Ascending. Besson has already whiffed once with this kind of movie. Will Valerian redeem him?


Attached - Cara at a promotional event for Rimmel last night,