Set in the 28th century, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets follows Sergeant Laureline (Cara Delevingne) and her boyfriend Major Valerian (Dane DeHann) on a mission to retrieve a ‘Mül converter’. The converter is a small animal capable of reproducing pearls containing tremendous power. During this mission, Valerian receives a telepathic message, in which he sees the destruction of the planet Mül as the result of a war between humans and another race. Mül is inhabited by benelovent humanoids.
After completing their mission, Valerian and Laureline return to their home base, Alpha, and are immediately sent on another mission to investigate a radioactive anomaly at the centre of Alpha. They’ve been told that an unknown enemy might have planted the radioactivity, which now threatens to destroy Alpha’s 30 million inhabitants. When he and Laureline get to the centre of Alpha, Valerian meets the humanoids from his dream, discovers their true purpose, and realises that his government might not be telling the full story.
Here we outline any topics, issues and ideas in this movie that might upset children and adolescents, so that you can gauge whether it is appropriate for your child. For example, children and adolescents may react adversely to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, separation from a parent, animal cruelty or distress, children as victims, natural disasters and racism.
War; morality; questioning authority; gender relationships; reconciliation
Here we identify any violence in this movie, and explain how and why it might impact on your child or adolescent. In general, movie violence can make children less sensitive to the use of violence in real life. Alternatively, they may become fearful about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world. In some contexts, it can also teach them to see violence as an acceptable means of conflict resolution.
There is frequent violence in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. The violence is mostly in the form of gun and knife fights and includes attacks by alien animal-like species. For example:
- Fight scenes show characters using knives to stab and slash. In one scene, an alien has his head sliced in two by the main character.
- A vicious dog-like creature attacks Valerian and Laureline. It rips though the top of their vehicle and makes sudden lunges at them.
- During a fight scene, a man is shown violently smashing his head and face against a window at close range.
- Giant underwater worms with large teeth chase Valerian.
- Gun fights feature large guns that can shooting multiple rounds instantaneously.
- Laureline continually punches an enemy in the face, even though the individual is lying down and not struggling.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:
- There are several scary-looking alien characters.
- Mül is a beautiful planet inhabited by kind humanoids. It’s destroyed in the opening scene. Large objects fall from the sky and crash heavily and loudly into the planet.
- A princess of Mül is locked out of the escape ship when the planet is being destroyed. Only a door with a glass window separates her from her family as the massive blast moves closer and closer. The distraught family members say goodbye to each other before the princess explodes into energy.
- An alien called Bubbles (played by Rihanna) dies. She turns a dull colour before disintegrating like dust.
Children in this age group are likely to be scared by the violent scenes and scary visual images from Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, which are mentioned above.
Children in this age group are likely to be scared by some of the violent scenes and scary visual images from Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, which are mentioned above.
Younger children in this age group might be familiar with the pop star Rihanna, so they might be affected by her character’s death.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets has some sexual references. For example:
- When we first see Laureline, she is wearing a black bikini and flirting with Valerian.
- Laureline is shown in some sexually provocative positions, which include lying underneath Valerian and sitting on top of him.
- Rihanna’s shape-shifting character is shown dancing provocatively while wearing very revealing outfits, including outfits that show her underpants. Her performance includes pole-dancing.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Nothing of concern
Nudity and sexual activity
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets shows some partial nudity and sexual activity. For example:
- There is some kissing.
- Some characters are very scantily dressed. For example, despite heading into a mission, Laureline wears a tight, shape-revealing top that looks like a bikini. Humanoid aliens also appear with very little clothing.
Nothing of concern
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets has some mild coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is a science fiction action movie inspired by a popular French comic and graphic novel series.
The main messages from this movie are about taking responsibility for your actions and doing what’s morally right. For example, Valerian and Laureline don’t always follow orders but they have moral reasons for this – their disobedience isn’t just about rebellion. They accept responsibility for the actions of their race and try to fix the damage that has been done.
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is not suitable for children under 12 years and not recommended for children under 15 years. This is because of the movie’s frightening scenes and characters, as well as its violence and sexual references.
If you have older children who see this movie, you could talk about the way the movie handles gender roles. For example:
- Valerian has a ‘hit list’ of the women that he has previously been with. Laureline doesn’t want to become just one more name on this list, so she refuses Valerian’s marriage proposals.
- Laureline is portrayed as tough, in control and aware that men’s advances might not always be genuine. She also has to constantly challenge her position as Valerian’s sidekick and assert her capability.
- The shapeshifting Bubbles has a sad story of sexual abuse and exploitation.