So that’s how you’re getting Valerian.
July 6, 2017 8:28 PM   Subscribe

Luc Besson Tests The Outer Limits With Sci-Fi Epic Valerian
It may be a huge, tentpole-scale movie, but it’s financed like an indie. All the deals, the presales and tax benefits and so on, mean that Besson is only exposed to a fraction of the risk. And he didn’t have to pitch an expensive science fiction movie with largely unknown source material to a conservative, franchise-drunk studio.
That means Besson dodges a whole other risk: notes. Lots of notes. “He pieced together a financing structure that would allow him to make the movie without—I’ll choose my words carefully—the weight of major-studio executives who, rightly if they had invested that amount of money, would feel the need to manage the process along with the filmmaker,” Fogelson says.
With ‘Valerian’ Looming, EuropaCorp Posts Record Losses of $135 Million
How Luc Besson's EuropaCorp Made The Big Budget 'Valerian' As A Prudent, Low-Risk Investment
Luc Besson talks 'Valerian', the biggest cinema gamble of 2017 - "Like every film company, we will only greenlight a project if at least 80% of its budget is covered. With Valerian, we’ve covered 96% of the budget with pre-sales."
posted by the man of twists and turns (85 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
 
The business side of this was interesting to hear about--thanks for the links! Incidentally, the Kindle version of Valerian & Laureline - The City of Shifting Waters is currently $0.00. There seem to be other ways to try it out too.
posted by Wobbuffet at 9:02 PM on July 6, 2017 [12 favorites]


I don't know that I should be excited for this movie, but I'm thinking of seeing it opening weekend which is rare for me. I'm still debating whether I should read the reviews to know if I should temper my enthusiasm, or go in blind on the chance it truly is legit.
posted by Carillon at 9:31 PM on July 6, 2017


I go back and forth with Luc Besson but I'm weirdly excited for this in a way I didn't expect. I still think the leads look way too much like tiny babies (and not like the Valerian or Laureline of the comic) but when I saw the trailer on a big screen, I was suddenly ALL IN. Like I want to go see this in 3D and I never want to see movies in 3D.

This seems absolutely like a passion project of Besson's. It's probably a mess because most of his movies are, but I think it will be a glorious mess and I will absolutely enjoy it.

(I forget where, but some writer called David Lynch's Dune a "space carnival" and that was awesome. This is seems like a space carnival. Or, like the terrible joke I once made -- I don't want space operas; I want space discos. Maybe Besson has made the Space Disco movie of my dreams.)
posted by darksong at 9:39 PM on July 6, 2017 [12 favorites]


Wait, so for the first big trailer they manage to convince McCartney to let them use "Because".

And now, for this even more ridiculous trailer, they use... Gangster's Paradise?

I'm in.
posted by billjings at 9:46 PM on July 6, 2017 [9 favorites]


I love space, and I adore good-looking space. This looks fantastic and I am entirely upset that it won't be released in my country, and will most likely be out of theaters by the time I get to a country on the release list. If I were rich I'd be flying to Hong Kong to see it; the trailer looked just that damn good.

I'm just hoping the story is as good as the trailer, because I would welcome an excuse for this to be a repeat watch.
posted by lesser weasel at 9:49 PM on July 6, 2017


😄🍿

I'm so very happy and I'm looking forward to seeing this in theatres.

Luc Besson's crazy passion projects are second only to Terry Gilliam's in scale and craziness, I'm tempted to imagine what those two would make together.

Well, maybe Guillermo del Toro.
posted by mrzarquon at 9:57 PM on July 6, 2017 [11 favorites]


Incidentally, the Kindle version of Valerian & Laureline - The City of Shifting Waters is currently $0.

Hey cool, thanks.

I keep thinking of this film as the daughter of Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow. I'll bet the set budget was cheap.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:11 PM on July 6, 2017 [2 favorites]


With few exceptions—Interstellar or Passengers, maybe—nobody makes hugely expensive science fiction movies out of unrecognizable or original intellectual property.

Is that really true though?
what about: Arrival, Children of Men, Looper, Inception, Gravity, The Martian, Life, The Circle, The Edge of Tomorrow, Her,

Perhaps they were not "hugely expensive"?
posted by mary8nne at 12:16 AM on July 7, 2017 [12 favorites]


And now, for this even more ridiculous trailer, they use... Gangster's Paradise?

Guessing it was more the Stevie Wonder song Coolio was sampling.

With few exceptions—Interstellar or Passengers, maybe—nobody makes hugely expensive science fiction movies out of unrecognizable or original intellectual property.

Is that really true though?
what about: Arrival, Children of Men, Looper, Inception, Gravity, The Martian, Life, The Circle, The Edge of Tomorrow, Her,


Arrival, Children of Men, The Martian, The Circle, and The Edge of Tomorrow were all books before they were movies.
posted by sideshow at 12:25 AM on July 7, 2017 [2 favorites]


But Valerian is based on a Graphic Novel? Valerian & Laureline by Pierre Christin (Author), Jean-Claude Mézières (Artist)

I guess, their point was that Valerian & Laureline is relatively unknown? Whereas say Dave Eggers was already a best-seller.
posted by mary8nne at 12:31 AM on July 7, 2017 [4 favorites]


Yes, the point was that bandes dessinees are practically unknown in the US - outside the Francophone world, I guess - so there's absolutely no existing capital to build on. Which Hollywood doesn't like much at the moment. So you have to go the art-house route, except how do you do that for a big budget picture? (By knowing every distributor in the world personally, seems to be the answer.)


I suppose you could hold up Judge Dredd as a counter-example of a non-American comic book adaption, but I really wouldn't.
posted by Devonian at 1:02 AM on July 7, 2017 [2 favorites]


Arrival was based on a SF short story that, while popular with SF fans, was in no way what the studios would consider a pre-sold property. There's no existing market there waiting. Same with The Edge of Tomorrow.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 1:18 AM on July 7, 2017 [13 favorites]


I suppose you could hold up Judge Dredd as a counter-example of a non-American comic book adaption, but I really wouldn't.
posted by Devonian at 10:02 PM on July 6


what do you mean? the most recent Dredd movie was amazing.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:02 AM on July 7, 2017 [13 favorites]


I saw somebody describe the stars of Valerian as looking like sick heroin junkies, and - although I'm very excited for the film - I just can't shake that description. Junkies! In! Spaaaaaaaace!
posted by The River Ivel at 2:10 AM on July 7, 2017 [4 favorites]


Yeah, the line about nobody making expensive sci fi movies from largely unknown or original properties was just a way to make Valerian sound even more unusual, puffery basically. I mean the article referenced Avatar in the same paragraph, and that was hardly a presold effort.

Studios bankroll films based on more than just how well known the base material might be, though that is of course a huge consideration for budgeting. Some of the films get made, like Inception, Interstellar, Avatar, and, to some lesser extent, Gravity and others, by the director either presenting the idea or that signs on to make the film. Stars are the next consideration, as the big name stars are believed to bring in X amount of money at open just for being involved, so, for example, the Martian had that, plus an easy high concept pitch of Castaway in space, allowing the studios to make some predictions over how much the movie would make in worst case scenarios, enabling them to set a budget for the film. The more pluses there are, the bigger the budget, but there is more involved than the article suggests.
posted by gusottertrout at 2:24 AM on July 7, 2017 [5 favorites]


I'm excited for this. Besson is a madman. This looks fun and visually appealing.

I just can't shake that description. Junkies! In! Spaaaaaaaace!

Do you have a moment? I'd like to share with you the good Culture books of Iain M. Banks.

Just imagine: Hedonistic pansexual space junkies with access to nanotech/biotech implantable drug factories, loose morals, giant FTL ships the size of a large European nation and hyper-intelligent AI ship-minds (also with loose morals) and often sarcastic if not outright fatalistic senses of humor... that sometimes result in gigadeaths.

And I haven't even mentioned the flying knife missiles, yet. At least one of which contains an incredibly capable AI. Further disguised as a dildo. There's also crazy exa-scale ideas like Nestworlds and Shellworlds that make a Dyson sphere look like a child's science project.

On that note, hey Hollywood? If you smarmy fucks ever make a Culture movie and you dumb it down, take out all the sex, drugs and rock and roll and otherwise do what you normally do best so reliably by making an utter hash out of it I will hunt you fuckers down and gut every last one of you like the filthy hogs you are, starting at the top with the producer and the money.

I won't be alone. There will be an army. We've been prepared for this for years. Back the fuck up, yo.

posted by loquacious at 2:37 AM on July 7, 2017 [33 favorites]


None of that is to say the way Valerian was financed isn't interesting and impressive, it is, but that the article is a bit UScentric and pushing a tad too hard on some lines of thought. The US isn't the sole defining market for films anymore, so how well something is known here needn't be seen as the sole determinant of its ultimate success or failure. Foreign markets, particularly China, are major considerations for film financing nowadays, so even judging the value of "known" material isn't quite as clear as it may first seem.
posted by gusottertrout at 2:37 AM on July 7, 2017


I might try to talk my partner into going to see this. I do remember saying to him, "hey, there's this really cool looking little movie coming out from a director that I love, he did this and this, and you liked those, and I think it might tank at the box office and let's go help it out with our ticket money" and that's how we went to see Gravity opening weekend.

Apparently I don't get out much.

Also, in the first under the fold link, there is this paragraph:
The company said that this year’s losses – more than triple the $44-million loss it posted in 2010 – were due to the under-performance of its U.S. slate. The studio cited the poor showing of “9 Lives,” “Shut In,” “Miss Sloane” and “The Circle.”
Has anyone heard of ANY of these movies? Seems like their weak link is the marketing.
posted by hippybear at 3:37 AM on July 7, 2017 [2 favorites]


Foreign markets, particularly China, are major considerations for film financing nowadays

For most of the big franchise movies, non-US markets matter MORE than the US box office. In fact, there are franchises which keep getting made despite tanking time and again in the US market simply because they play well in the rest of the world.

However, I think that of the box office of the 39 foreign movies that China selects to be allowed into theaters in any year, the studios only have 30% passed through. Because China.
posted by hippybear at 3:40 AM on July 7, 2017 [1 favorite]


I find it rather amusing that Valérian et Laureline, arguably one of the most important SF comics ever is presented as obscure. Only if you have been living under a rock (or, possibly, the US). Oddly enough, but rather fitting if you know the series, which certainly for significant time was a deconstruction of the strapping Space Hero, the Danish title is Linda og Valentin, as Laureline is clearly the more competent during much of the series (though they are more on par these days, which has benefitted the series).
posted by bouvin at 3:44 AM on July 7, 2017 [1 favorite]


I haven't watched any of his movies so I don't know if he's a film genius, but I've worked with movie productions and - based on the article about the financing - surely he's a production genius. On time and on budget; everything planned ahead; able to structure his finances so that he doesn't have to listen to money men who think they're directors. That's an amazing combination of skills.
posted by clawsoon at 3:51 AM on July 7, 2017 [13 favorites]


I have not been living under a rock, but had never heard of Valerian & Laureline until this film’s marketing juggernaut started up.

Not many comic ideas have their ideas cross over into the wider public. Maybe 2000AD in the UK? (And even then, really only Judge Dredd has any kind of cultural resonance.)
posted by pharm at 4:03 AM on July 7, 2017 [3 favorites]


For most of the big franchise movies, non-US markets matter MORE than the US box office.

Yes, at least as much and often more, and that's for the standard Hollywood studio films, so the article's perhaps a bit too breathless over a "foreign" director financing his films in a fairly common way with those "foreign" box office receipts in mind.
posted by gusottertrout at 4:05 AM on July 7, 2017


Tintin had barely any traction here in the US. It's too bad the movie was shite instead of being like an actual Tintin adventure.

Are there fears that the Valerian movie will just be action set pieces featuring the comic characters, or will Besson actually capture the spirit of the originating books? Which I haven't read so don't have any basis for comparison.
posted by hippybear at 4:06 AM on July 7, 2017


The studio cited the poor showing of “9 Lives,” “Shut In,” “Miss Sloane” and “The Circle.”

The Circle opened to meh, it stared Hermione Granger and seemed to be a racy google/apple controls the world conspiracy thriller, apparently without thrill. The Miss Sloane trailer seemed to be a fun political thriller but probably did not anticipate the current unreality of Washington. Both of these had stars and elements that seemed cinematic.

I for one really hope this clicks (or there's a rainy couple weeks) and this really draws them in, we need more great space operas. The Fifth Element made good money and has legs, so there is an actual track record for Besson. The CGI artists are getting so incredible visually it should be great, but there's that ineffable mix of story, star quality, score, and zeitgeist.
posted by sammyo at 4:07 AM on July 7, 2017 [2 favorites]


By the looks of it, the movie will be an adaptation of L'Ambassadeur des Ombres, though whether Besson will go with the original ending remains to be seen (it would be gutsy, so here's hoping).
posted by bouvin at 4:31 AM on July 7, 2017


I haven't watched any of his movies so I don't know if he's a film genius
His films are cheesy, but they're stylish and fun cheesy. His early career habit of dumping his current wife and marrying the teenaged star of film he was working on is a bit creepy.
posted by Bee'sWing at 4:36 AM on July 7, 2017 [4 favorites]


Yeah, The Fifth Element is probably going to be the closest of his other movies to what he's going to create with this, only probably only about 1/10th as weird visually. That movie had TRULY AMAZING sequences, although arguments about which scenes are great and which are stupid are not uncommon. It's a bit of a Rorschach test of a movie, really. It was also multi-racial in its casting and fairly genderqueer friendly in a way that didn't really freak audiences out.

It also had a scene intercutting a blue woman with tentacles on her head singing opera that turns into wordless electro-pop intercut with a comic fight between a powerful female against multiple (presumably male) aliens and kicking their asses, and it's really entertainingly filmed.

That's sort of what Besson does. Only in ways you don't expect. Like nobody who saw this movie expected this.
posted by hippybear at 4:52 AM on July 7, 2017 [5 favorites]


It's like this film is a galactic electromagnet and my heart is a lump of some weird kind of stuff that's attracted to magnets, somehow.
posted by ZipRibbons at 4:56 AM on July 7, 2017 [3 favorites]


*noted in medical file: ZipRibbons heart is NOT made of Unobtanium*
posted by hippybear at 4:58 AM on July 7, 2017 [1 favorite]


Has anyone heard of ANY of these movies? Seems like their weak link is the marketing.

They appear to have learned that lesson and are applying the marketing stick vigorously to this movie.

I like Besson's films and hope this one does well. In my perfect world, we would have more quirky and over the top projects like this, of all varieties.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:59 AM on July 7, 2017


I find it rather amusing that Valérian et Laureline, arguably one of the most important SF comics ever is presented as obscure. Only if you have been living under a rock (or, possibly, the US).

I have not been living under a rock, but had never heard of Valerian & Laureline until this film’s marketing juggernaut started up.
I grew up in a rocky developing country on the other side of the world from the US and I was reading translations of Valerian & Laureline when I was 10, because they were available in my local English language bookstore, but I had to move across the Pacific to discover book stores that carried 2000AD and Judge Dredd. Global marketing and content distribution chains are weird, yo.

I am also riding the hype train for this movie, but I'm doing my best to keep my expectations low. I, too, am hoping that Besson continues with the notion that Valerian is the well meaning, square jawed, but slightly clueless and slightly in-over-his-head hero and Laureline is the cool, perceptive partner who actually deduces the plot. Which is, you know, still its own tired male/female partner trope but whatever, let people enjoy things.

Also earlier this summer, my wife was on a C.L. Moore kick and telling me about Jirel of Joiry and Northwest Smith, and how the former was a warrior queen living in a swords and sorcery France who goes on adventures while the latter was a Han Soloish space scoundrel traveling the solar systems on adventures. The current story she was reading involved Smith traveling back in time to meet Jorel for an adventure romp, and that prompted me to mention how Valerian and Laureline met because Valerian is not only a space spy but a time traveling space spy and one assignment sends him back to Medieval France where he meets a clever woman who stows away on his spatiotemporal vehicle and she becomes his partner. So now we're running on the idea that Claude Mezieres has basically been running with CL Moore fan fic.
posted by bl1nk at 4:59 AM on July 7, 2017 [6 favorites]


It also had a scene intercutting a blue woman with tentacles on her head singing opera that turns into wordless electro-pop intercut with a comic fight between a powerful female against multiple (presumably male) aliens and kicking their asses, yt and it's really entertainingly filmed.

I forgot to mention, it also features some of Bruce Willis' finest ever "smell the fart" acting.
posted by hippybear at 5:00 AM on July 7, 2017 [1 favorite]


And there lies the quip, will the banter between the leads "work"?
posted by sammyo at 6:07 AM on July 7, 2017


I forced myself to resurrect my high school French to grasp the basics of the comics (sorry, bandes dessinées) and the dynamics of the two main characters stood out a lot! I'm hoping Besson is faithful to his gallic heritage.
posted by arzakh at 6:27 AM on July 7, 2017


I really hope this is good and I want to like it. I love The Fifth Element.

But the leads look like such bored-faced models like they just walked in off the runway.

Does that bug anyone but me?
posted by Fleebnork at 6:32 AM on July 7, 2017 [3 favorites]


Luc Besson's crazy passion projects are second only to Terry Gilliam's in scale and craziness, I'm tempted to imagine what those two would make together.

Well, maybe Guillermo del Toro.


You just made my head go all "Scanners," so thanks for that.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 6:40 AM on July 7, 2017 [3 favorites]


I loved Jupiter Ascending, so I feel there is little chance I won't love this movie, despite knowing almost nothing about it. Just seems Of A Kind.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:42 AM on July 7, 2017 [3 favorites]


The US isn't the sole defining market for films anymore

Compare the Mummy which had a 76Mil domestic vs 300 Mil international as a notable recent example. I think this is what makes Valerian interesting to me, in terms of the business of film. It is more than likely that Valerian will not do well in North America but will likely do very well internationally. It is projects like Valerian that pique my interest in whether it would help establish that it is viable for smaller film making countries to sell their local takes on proven genres as tent poles to an international market.
posted by Ashwagandha at 6:55 AM on July 7, 2017 [1 favorite]


It's so strange. I grew up reading Heavy Metal, was a huge fan of Moebius and Bilal, and somehow missed this completely, never heard of it. Looking forward to the movie though because, if nothing else, Luc Besson knows how to create an epic.
posted by kokaku at 6:59 AM on July 7, 2017 [2 favorites]


I grew up reading Heavy Metal, was a huge fan of Moebius and Bilal, and somehow missed this completely, never heard of it. Looking forward to the movie though because, if nothing else, Luc Besson knows how to create an epic.

Besson also knows how to find the right people to collaborate with to create an epic.

Besson grew up reading those comics as well, and has wanted to make a Valerian film for some time. He wanted to make Valerian before The Fifth Element, but thought the computer graphics weren't capable enough yet. This documentary, included on the The Fifth Element Blu-Ray, explains it all.

Besson hired his childhood comic heroes to make movies with him. If that isn't passion and dedication, then I don't know what is.
posted by the matching mole at 7:08 AM on July 7, 2017 [4 favorites]


Should one start reading the graphic novels with volume 1?
posted by doctornemo at 7:11 AM on July 7, 2017


By the looks of it, the movie will be an adaptation of L'Ambassadeur des Ombres, though whether Besson will go with the original ending remains to be seen (it would be gutsy, so here's hoping).

Also, Valerian plays a minor role in the original story, which is (kinda) about Leia moving heaven and earth looking for Han Solo after he gets carbonitized in Empire. There are some hints in the trailer that some parts of the original plot have survived the adaptation, but since the movie is called Valerian and not Laureline, I guess that he'll be featured more extensively. I too wish they keep the ending though: 'splosions and end-of-the-world CGI extravaganza may prevail, but the book ending is so right up Besson's alley that I'm cautiously hopeful.

For most of the big franchise movies, non-US markets matter MORE than the US box office. In fact, there are franchises which keep getting made despite tanking time and again in the US market simply because they play well in the rest of the world.

While this is true, decision-makers in Hollywood still see the US market as the only target that matters, and that market is insanely parochial: since 1980, only 6 foreign-language movies had a US gross > $30 million. The French language movie Intouchables is an international blockbuster that raked in $426 million, and 98% of that came non-US moviegoers, from Germany to South Korea. Language is only part of the problem of course. A lot of the (US-based) public discourse right now about Valerian (and about Spielberg's Tintin a few years ago) can be summed up as "Who gives a shit about a movie based on a comic nobody knows about, it's gonna flop sooo hard". This is what makes Besson's bet so interesting: if he's successful, it will definitely prove that it's possible to make international tentpole movies without Hollywood, and based on stories/properties unkown to Americans. Valerian will open on 1000 screens in India, dubbed in 3 languages: while it's less than the 2800 screens for Furious 7, it shows that Besson is going global.
posted by elgilito at 7:32 AM on July 7, 2017 [1 favorite]


Compare the Mummy which had a 76Mil domestic vs 300 Mil international as a notable recent example. I think this is what makes Valerian interesting to me, in terms of the business of film.

For me as well. It's getting close to the point where the US's long standing advantage in the culture market may finally be weakening enough for other countries to jump in and "steal" their markets. That is assuming China doesn't wall itself off from further international competition to their markets and allows their consumers to dictate more of what gets made through their purchasing power. There are reasons, of course, why that might not happen, or will only happen in certain areas, but whatever the case, the decline in US influence will be a real shock to many as it will break that expectation chain of US narrative history, both in what kinds of stories are told, and in the stories we tell ourselves about the importance of our own lives.

Valerian is an excellent example of a big budget movie getting made that has almost no ties with US childhood/nostalgia, and if this is harbinger of future events, it'll freak a lot of people here out something fierce. (Not to mention potentially bode ill for the US economy as a whole.) As someone deeply interested in world culture, I'm excited, as someone needing to make a living in the US, more than a bit worried.
posted by gusottertrout at 7:32 AM on July 7, 2017


I hope Gary Oldman has a cameo in this.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:52 AM on July 7, 2017 [13 favorites]


>>I haven't watched any of his movies so I don't know if he's a film genius
>His films are cheesy, but they're stylish and fun cheesy.


I'm not sure I'd call La Femme Nikita cheesy. Extremely stylish and arguably genius though.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 7:56 AM on July 7, 2017 [3 favorites]


I hope Gary Oldman has a cameo in this.

Not credited as doing so thus far, but...

Rutger Hauer
Herbie Hancock
and
John Goodman (voice)

are in this.

That's super green.
posted by Muddler at 8:02 AM on July 7, 2017 [7 favorites]


"His films are cheesy, but they're stylish and fun cheesy."

Um, have you seen The Professional?
posted by oddman at 8:35 AM on July 7, 2017 [2 favorites]


He wrote and produced (but did not direct) the Taken and Transporter franchises too.

When he's not going for big glam, he tends to work on tight-focus action movies.
posted by bonehead at 9:21 AM on July 7, 2017


I am really looking forward to Valerian. So much so that it might be the movie to actually get to go back into a theater after 15 or so years.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:25 AM on July 7, 2017


"Should one start reading the graphic novels with volume 1?"

For what it's worth, my only previous attempt was "Les Oiseaux du Maître", which didn't do it for me. I decided I should give it another try, so based on some other metafilter comments I ordered volumes 3-5 of the most recent "Complete Collection" (starting with "L'Ambassadeur des Ombres") and this time I had enormous fun. I don't know if they get better as they go along or if it just took a couple tries to click with me. Looks easily available in both English and French (the latter if you're willing to order from e.g. amazon.fr, whose shipping across the Atlantic is better than I expected...).
posted by floppyroofing at 9:27 AM on July 7, 2017 [2 favorites]


Is that really true though?
what about: Arrival, Children of Men, Looper, Inception, Gravity, The Martian, Life, The Circle, The Edge of Tomorrow, Her,

Perhaps they were not "hugely expensive"?


Correct, except for Inception and The Edge of Tomorrow. Nolan had a lot of cache after his Batman movies, and I'm not sure how Edge of Tomorrow got greenlit (it also did badly at the box office.)

Some of the movies on your list are the very definition of small Hollywood budgets (Her cost like $20 million!)
posted by Automocar at 10:12 AM on July 7, 2017 [1 favorite]


"Should one start reading the graphic novels with volume 1?"

The other day I started with volume 1 with the Amazon Kindle versions. I'm up to volume 4 now and I'm enjoying them. They feel like someone grew up loving Amazing Stories, etc. and decided to reinvent them with a 1970s aesthetic.

I can't speak for the accuracy of the translation, but they read very well in idiomatic English.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:18 AM on July 7, 2017


I'm not sure how Edge of Tomorrow got greenlit

Tom Cruise.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:19 AM on July 7, 2017 [1 favorite]


Well, there you go.
posted by Automocar at 10:23 AM on July 7, 2017


Ok - so my sense of what a movie cost to make is totally off in general (Figures from Google).
and I actually seem to only like sci-fi made on less than 100M. (except for inception which I did quite enjoy).

Interstellar = 165M
Passengers = 110M
Arrival = 47M
Children of Men = 37M GBP
Looper = 30M
Inception = 160M
Gravity = 100M
The Martian = 108M
Life = 58M
The Circle = 18M
The Edge of Tomorrow = 178M
Her = 23M
posted by mary8nne at 10:47 AM on July 7, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure I'd call La Femme Nikita cheesy.

Um, have you seen The Professional?

Cheesy isn't the right word. What I mean is his movies aren't deep, they don't have a message, they're loud, violent, indulgent fun. La Femme Nikita is my favorite of his films and I have indeed seen both cuts of The Professional.
posted by Bee'sWing at 10:49 AM on July 7, 2017 [1 favorite]


People keep trying to find the exceptions but you have to admit every one of his movies has at least some cheesy parts.

EVERY ONE!
posted by RobotHero at 11:00 AM on July 7, 2017 [4 favorites]


What I mean is his movies aren't deep, they don't have a message, they're loud, violent, indulgent fun.

Besson's brand of style is often called Cinéma du look. Narrative coherence is secondary to the visual spectacle.

As someone deeply interested in world culture, I'm excited, as someone needing to make a living in the US, more than a bit worried.

Depending on what field you're in I wouldn't worry too much as I don't think this will happen over night. There's an enormous amount of money concentrated in the hands of Hollywood that isn't going to disappear (at least not quickly). The other way to look at is it might open opportunities overseas or to a lesser extent in Canada. A friend of mine got production work in Korea, mostly in TV, for instance. A film academic friend spends half his time teaching in Singapore. Depending on your flexibility I do think it is doable.
posted by Ashwagandha at 11:03 AM on July 7, 2017


The trailer looks amazing but the word on the street is that one of the leads is so bad that they ahs to rewrite and recut quite a bit, which is never good. We'll see I guess, I'm definitely up for another original big loud pretty and entertaining film. The second GOTG reminded me how much fun movies can be.
posted by fshgrl at 11:23 AM on July 7, 2017


Primer = 0.007 M
posted by bdc34 at 11:37 AM on July 7, 2017 [3 favorites]


When I was in high school I saw Le Femme Nikita and loved it. And then I saw The Professional, and I was really into that one too. And then The Fifth Element. I liked all those movies a lot, I knew Luc Besson's name I would seek out projects he was involved in.

And then last year or whenever it came out in theaters I saw Lucy, and while the conceit about 10% of your brain was just relentlessly stupid and I would have liked it better if they just said something about a magic potion, it was still pretty fun and I enjoyed it.

But then recently some switch in my brain flipped -- and I'm legit sad about this -- because when I saw the trailer for Valerian all I could see was that the female lead appears to be Nikita/Mathilde/Leeloo painted blue and filmed through the eyes of a dude who wants to fuck her. And I just cannot get excited about seeing this movie. Which is too bad because maybe I'd be into this one too, otherwise. But it's like someone clamped male-gaze sunglasses from Them! onto my head and I can't take them off.
posted by mrmurbles at 12:14 PM on July 7, 2017 [4 favorites]


mrmurbles: But it's like someone clamped male-gaze sunglasses from Them! onto my head and I can't take them off.

Welcome to Metafilter. :-)
posted by clawsoon at 12:17 PM on July 7, 2017 [5 favorites]


Lucy was unwatchable!
posted by mary8nne at 12:33 PM on July 7, 2017 [1 favorite]


Laureline is painted blue? What?

Anyway, yeah, people aren't kidding about his movies often being a *guilty* pleasure.
posted by floppyroofing at 1:03 PM on July 7, 2017


The studio cited the poor showing of “9 Lives,” “Shut In,” “Miss Sloane” and “The Circle.”


I'm going to echo sammyo's earlier post about "The Circle" and "Miss Sloane" having some marketing but misfiring due to the shifting social climate and the timing of release.

I have to say, though, when I saw "9 Lives" my first thought was that's that movie with Kevin Spacey as a cat, right? Because I only heard about it tangentially, and the entire premise sounds like something from a dream that can't possibly be real. Because wtf, Kevin Spacey plays a cat.
posted by mikeh at 1:20 PM on July 7, 2017


But then recently some switch in my brain flipped -- and I'm legit sad about this -- because when I saw the trailer for Valerian all I could see was that the female lead appears to be Nikita/Mathilde/Leeloo painted blue and filmed through the eyes of a dude who wants to fuck her. And I just cannot get excited about seeing this movie.

Yeah, see, when I saw the first iteration of the trailer, all I could think of was that it seemed reminiscent of Spy Kids. I love graphic novel– and comic book–based movies, but that feel in the trailer plus rather plasticky-looking CGI made it look like total pastiche to me. It probably didn't help that I saw it right after a trailer for Atomic Blonde that featured some version of Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)," which just bugs me at this point for 1. so transparently pandering to Gen X and 2. not being a particularly original soundtrack choice, given how recently it was used (to I'm betting much better effect) in X-Men Apocalypse.

So the entire thing feels a bit like pastiche and pandering to me, but I hope I'm proven wrong, 'cause I know I'll end up seeing Valerian at some point.
posted by limeonaire at 1:24 PM on July 7, 2017


People keep trying to find the exceptions but you have to admit every one of his movies has at least some cheesy parts.

EVERY ONE!


I'm blanking on La Femme Nikita.

Which, by the way, I'd say is the one of his movies that actually has substance to it. Anne Parillaud is given a lot to do as an actress, and she does it well. The action scenes are there, but there's a lot more going on.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:29 PM on July 7, 2017 [1 favorite]


all I could think of was that it seemed reminiscent of Spy Kids

Spy Kids was basically made by a single driving person on a minuscule budget doing a lot of production in his garage. I'm literally not kidding about this. [2001 article]
"Even with Spy Kids, the same approach I took with Mariachi applies," says Rodriguez. "Inspector Gadget cost $90m, 102 Dalmatians was $85m, and this was $36m, with more than a third of the movie being effects. The first person you usually hire on an effects-based movie like this is an effects supervisor. I didn't - I wanted to figure out how to do it myself. It's just a case of being more creative: it looks like an expensive movie, but it's all magic tricks. I edited it in my garage, and it had to feel personal or it would be like one of those studio-made kids' movies that are just awful. It's a big home movie, basically."
Robert Rodriguez is a maverick filmmaker of the utmost degree and he's done more to drive independent filmmaking toward higher quality for lower cost over the past couple of decades than nearly anyone else.
posted by hippybear at 1:47 PM on July 7, 2017 [4 favorites]


plasticky-looking CGI made it look like total pastiche to me.

Frequently the final CGI is not available for the trailers, and can even be seen improving if there's a few recuts released over time. So the "dirtification" of the final print may give a more real lived in look.
posted by sammyo at 2:09 PM on July 7, 2017


Besson's brand of style is often called Cinéma du look. Narrative coherence is secondary to the visual spectacle.

We have to put that in context. French movies in the 1970s-early 1980s were not visually appealing. There were good DPs - Coutard, Nuytten, Almendros, Rousselot, Glenn - but generally the movies looked uninteresting. There were some counterexamples obviously, such as Polanski's Tess, Schoendoerffer's Le Crabe-Tambour, or Truffaut's Le dernier métro, but big commercial movies were typically broad comedies and thrillers with star power but no visual flair whatsoever, while the art-house ones were grainy dramas. Meanwhile, during the same period, Coppola, Scorsese, Spielberg, and newcomers such as Ridley Scott and George Miller were releasing visual masterpieces. I mean, the top movie in 1979 in the French box office was this. The second movie was Apocalypse Now.

The generation of young French directors who emerged in the 1980s took a lot of critical flak for making successful movies that were visually creative in addition to having original stories. Such movies were typically derided by critics for looking like commercials, and being as vapid: a critic from Positif wrote for instance that a commercial directed by Besson for a lingerie brand was more interesting than Subway, Besson's second feature. The "cinema du look" is just a nickname given by a single French critic and was never used, except in US-based film theory for some reason. More accurately, Besson should be considered as the earliest member of the Starfix Generation. By the 90s, the aesthetics pioneered by Besson and co (mostly Beinex in fact) had gone mainstream in French cinema and were no longer a controversial topic, though Besson's relationship with critics has remained tense.

In any case, Besson has such a long and diverse career by now that it's hard to define his personal style. A whole generation of French teenage girls wept over the ending of The Big Blue (the ending was changed for the US version and it flopped there, duh). The Lady, his biopic of Aung San Suu Kyi, is as classical as possible. Even the movies he produces are all over the place, from Cannes-worthy period dramas to the silly but highly profitable Taxi/Taken/Transporter series.
posted by elgilito at 3:29 PM on July 7, 2017 [7 favorites]


mrmurbles: But it's like someone clamped male-gaze sunglasses from Them! onto my head and I can't take them off.
clawsoon: Welcome to Metafilter. :-)

I think you mean:
Metafilter: It's like someone clamped male-gaze sunglasses from Them! onto my head and I can't take them off.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 5:33 PM on July 7, 2017


Spy Kids was basically made by a single driving person on a minuscule budget doing a lot of production in his garage. I'm literally not kidding about this. [2001 article]

This is delightful
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:38 PM on July 7, 2017


iBooks also has Valerian & Laureline - The City of Shifting Waters for free.
posted by oluckyman at 7:55 PM on July 7, 2017


I am very excited for this.

I have really liked a lot of Bessons' films since he became a thing in the United States, to the point of tracking down Le Dernier Combat. I kind of lost track of him after a while, before realizing that I only really liked the films he wrote when he directed them.

I'm not going to claim Lucy was the best, but I found it quite enjoyable. There were plenty of things that could be picked at, but doing so is kind of missing the point.
posted by mountmccabe at 8:27 PM on July 7, 2017


And now, for this even more ridiculous trailer, they use... Gangster's Paradise?
Guessing it was more the Stevie Wonder song Coolio was sampling.
Before you go and check this like I did: which song do *you* think Luc Besson would put in his trailer?
posted by billjings at 9:36 PM on July 7, 2017 [1 favorite]


I mean, the top movie in 1979 in the French box office was this yt .

Wow. THAT was a rabbit hole I never thought I'd enter. Seems it was the FIFTH installment in a series beginning back in 1964.

Spy Kids was basically made by a single driving person on a minuscule budget doing a lot of production in his garage. I'm literally not kidding about this. [2001 article]

There's a reference to El Mariachi in there ( the trilogy is wonderful ), and Rodriguez' recipe for Puerco Pibil is awesome.

As is Rodriguez' YouTube video in his 10 Minute Cooking School series. ( Sadly, Mrs. Lieman doesn't like annatto seeds... achiote paste )
posted by mikelieman at 12:14 AM on July 8, 2017


I'm not going to claim Lucy was the best, but I found it quite enjoyable. There were plenty of things that could be picked at, but doing so is kind of missing the point.

I find it very rewatchable if I skip the lecture scenes. I don't know why the percentage thing grates so much; There are other forms of junk science that would go down fine.

Having a number does make for a good countdown at the end though.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:23 AM on July 8, 2017


And I just cannot get excited about seeing this movie. Which is too bad because maybe I'd be into this one too, otherwise. But it's like someone clamped male-gaze sunglasses from Them! onto my head and I can't take them off.

Once you internalize the fact that 95% of movies and television are excuses to put impossibly attractive people on screen in fuckable situations, you too can become immune to the charms of mass media.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:27 AM on July 8, 2017 [1 favorite]


People who like The Fifth Element, I want to be sure you've seen this truly amazing comment by Rhaomi collecting a ton of links about its production design.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:37 AM on July 8, 2017 [4 favorites]


iBooks also has Valerian & Laureline - The City of Shifting Waters for free.

Which is the first story in the series, written iirc in 1968 and set in the far future of 1986, with New York Under Water due to nuclear explosions set off at the poles raising ocean levels. It's a crucial period in the development of the future world Valerian & Laureline come from and they have to go there to bring back a villain attempting to change the course of history.

I first read this story only a few years before 1986 and I think that was the first time I realised that science fiction futures could actually become obsolete.

To their credit, Pierre Christin and artist Jean-Claude Mézières tackled this problem head on and the middle of the series (from Métro Châtelet, Direction Cassiopeia to On the Frontiers) is dedicated to resolve this paradox. It's a great story that completely overturns the status quo of the series, something heroes like Valerian & Laureline never do.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:21 PM on July 9, 2017 [1 favorite]


I'm excited for this, and i want to be excited for this... but

Holy shit was lucy an embarrassing movie. Not only was it just "not good", it's cringey to even talk to your friends about and explain the plot. And it isn't actually bad enough to be ironic-bad and be enjoyable to laugh at/hatewatch. It felt like all the silliness and action of some of his older projects(including stuff he didn't direct like transporter) without any of the heart or soul. Which... actually happened to the later installments of the transporter as well. It's beautiful at times, but goes beyond just being flawed into being actively bad.

And i say this as someone who usually really loves that type of movie, and went in fully expecting some cheese but something overall good.

Looking at the trailers for this, i see both the whimsical deeply thought out awesomeness that made me love fifth element in the environments and design, but also some of the throwaway cheese that ruined movies like the last transporter and lucy.

So it's like, i want to get my hopes up, but i'm kind of afraid to you know?
posted by emptythought at 4:04 AM on July 10, 2017 [1 favorite]




Yes, reviews are starting. I'm glad Cara Delavingne seems to have done well, she always seemed like she could be a really big star to me.
posted by Bee'sWing at 10:03 AM on July 11, 2017


Totally hoping that "an illuminated cinematic manuscript of what-the-fuckery" is the blurb that makes it onto the movie posters.
posted by floppyroofing at 7:44 AM on July 12, 2017 [2 favorites]


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