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Glowing early praise for Luc Besson's Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

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Jun 29, 2017, 8:05 PM EDT

Luc Besson's eye-popping space opera, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, is fueling up for a fantastical assault on theaters starting on July 21. Based on the expansive French comic series from the '60s, and starring Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen and Rihanna, the trailers so far have presented a gorgeous tapestry of alien worlds and species decorating the template of an old-fashioned interstellar adventure.

Here's the official synopsis:

Based on the classic European graphic novel series, “Valerian and Laureline,” Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets stars Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) as special operatives for the government of the human territories charged with maintaining order throughout the universe. Valerian has more in mind than a professional relationship with his partner -- blatantly chasing after her with propositions of romance. But his extensive history with women, and her traditional values, drive Laureline to continuously rebuff him.

Under directive from their Commander (Clive Owen), Valerian and Laureline embark on a mission to the breathtaking intergalactic city of Alpha, an ever-expanding metropolis comprised of thousands of different species from all four corners of the universe. Alpha’s seventeen million inhabitants have converged over time -- uniting their talents, technology and resources for the betterment of all. Unfortunately, not everyone on Alpha shares in these same objectives; in fact, unseen forces are at work, placing our race in great danger.

Most studios can cobble together an effective and resonating trailer stuffed with highlights and juxtaposed to create a certain vibe or emotion when matched with a particular piece of classical music or pop tune, but what exactly will the film have to captivate audiences when it unspools on July 21?

If flash reviews from the first preview screenings can be trusted, Besson's Valerian is a sumptuous, galaxy-spinning whirl that should produce ample box office riches. Official full reviews won't clear the embargo for a couple of weeks, but these first impressions are highly encouraging.

Have a look and tell us if you're anxiously awaiting this sci-fi summer treat.