This article was originally posted on Outer Places.
At the heart of the movie Valerian is a planet where all races and cultures come together to share ideas and knowledge. This is incredibly fitting, when you consider that Valerian itself is an amalgam of concepts from a variety of other science fiction movies. Its first trailer leans heavily into the aesthetic similarities between Valerian and The Fifth Element, one of director Luc Besson's previous contributions to the space opera genre. Then, the second trailer seems to be borrowing heavily from Serenity, with a pair of wisecracking, irreverent bounty hunters pulling off daring hijinks on a desert planet.
So what's the new trailer cribbing from? There's a lot in this mix, but it seems that, this time around, we're expected to be reminded of James Cameron's Avatar. There are gorgeous CGI visuals, big blue aliens, and rather bold text that invites the viewer to embark on an enormous 3D visual adventure "a lifetime in the making".
Of course, Avatar is only part of the mix here. There are elements of this trailer that hearken back to plenty of other sci-fi stories, including Guardians of the Galaxy, Mass Effect, Aliens, Star Wars both old and new, Star Trek, Starship Trooper, Destiny, Halo, and heck, even a little John Carter of Mars. All of this is wrapped up in a more serious tone than we've seen in previous trailers, a hint at how this movie will unironically mash together these existing concepts to create an epic space adventure.
There's nothing wrong with using science fiction tropes and familiar visuals to create something new and engaging. The entire sci-fi genre is built on this kind of sharing, but there are few movie trailers in existence that attempt to simultaneously promise quite so many different classic ideas all mixed into one.
The big question here is whether Luc Besson can actually pull off what he's trying to achieve. He's aiming for Valerian to be a big, explosive celebration of every sci-fi space fantasy that humanity has ever created. If this plan works, Valerian could be an absolutely incredible experience that takes James Cameron's vision of Avatar and blasts it out of the water, thanks to a strong story and engaging, interesting characters.
This isn't going to be easy to pull off, but if Besson sticks the landing with this one, Valerian might just be the kitchen sink space opera that we've been waiting for.
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Featured photo via STX Entertainment