Google's Pixel 7 Event National Taco Day Microsoft Surface Event Xiaomi 12T Pro's 200MP Camera iPhone 14 Pro Action Mode vs. GoPro Hero 11 TikTok Money Advice Hottest Holiday Toys Gifts for Cyclists
Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?
No, thank you

'Valerian' director Luc Besson can't wait to meet an alien

The French writer and director explains how cutting-edge visual effects brought his jaw-dropping new space opera to life.

Now playing: Watch this: 'Valerian' director Luc Besson can't wait to see an alien

Luc Besson's "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets" is a gloriously epic space opera filled with jaw-dropping visuals. We sat down with the French writer and director to find out how cutting-edge technology allowed him to finally visualise the world that's been in his head since he first read the "Valerian and Laureline" comics as a child.

Critics have lauded the spectacular effects and riotously imaginative universe conjured in the film. Twenty years after he made "The Fifth Element" the old-fashioned way, Besson was excited to adopt digital techniques to turn actors into bizarre and intriguing extraterrestrial creatures. "Imagination is the limit," he says. "I could turn you into an elephant in three seconds."

Criticism of "Valerian" focuses on the muddled story and the casting of Dane DeHaan as the lead. But there's no denying the gleeful energy and positivity of Besson's passion project. It's a story about overcoming division to find unity and common ground among even the most dissimilar and disparate of alien races. In fact, Besson believes that the arrival of alien life would have a unifying effect on the human race. "I can't wait", he laughs.

"Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets" is in theatres in the US now. It rockets into the UK on 2 August and Australia on 10 August.

Tech Culture: From film and television to social media and games, here's your place for the lighter side of tech.

CNET Magazine: Check out a sampling of the stories you'll find in CNET's newsstand edition.