2017 in Review

Luc Besson creates a more accepting world

luc besson valerian

If humans can get on with aliens, they should be able to get on with each other, according to director Luc Besson.

In his new movie Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, paradise is attainable and the aliens are not the problem. As the movie opens, human space travellers are seen greeting an array of different creatures from different planets in cordial exchanges.

It's a not-so-subtle commentary on prejudice in our current society.

"That's the biggest message for me of the film," Besson told AAP.

"I always imagine the first time the alien arrives, we will feel like brothers in two seconds. I don't care about your colour or your religion, you're my friend you're my brother, because they are different, they are aliens and that's the message of the film.

"Now we have to deal not only with colours and religions, but we have to deal with 8000 different kind of species of alien and we have to make it work. And we exchange knowledge and culture and what's interesting in this film is all the aliens are nice. The real bad people are still the same, which is us."

The French director has had this vision of a space-based utopia since he was a child.

Valerian is based on a 1960s graphic novel written by French author Pierre Christin and illustrated by Jean-Claude Mezieres, a favourite of Besson's from childhood.

But over a career that's spanned more than 30 years, and includes futuristic sci-fi films such as The Fifth Element and Lucy, it's taken him until now to re-imagine the world of the graphic novel on screen.

"I didn't have the knowledge or the guts to do it before, I needed to learn more and the technology was a problem," he said.

Besson says it wasn't until James Cameron made Avatar, and developed the CGI technology and 3D capabilities, that he thought he could make Valerian in all its bright and colourful glory.

"As a moviegoer, I'm a little fed up with all these sci-fi films where it's dark and it's raining all the time, and it's painful all the time. I just want to go to the opposite, like I did in The Fifth Element 20 years ago. I see the future as bright and colourful," he said.

He's entrusted this bright future to actors Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne who play young space agents who stumble upon a potential cover-up while on a mission.

The movie has been the realisation of a childhood dream for Besson and with more stories available in the Valerian graphic novel series, the director would like to make some sequels.

"I would be thrilled to do another one for sure because I love the two characters," he said.

* Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets opens in Australian cinemas on August 10.

© AAP 2017