Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets came out last week to middling reviews and weak box office revenue. However, writer/director Luc Besson has made amazing films. Here are a selection of Besson's films and his influences that should be watched to understand the man behind the camera.
|Avatar, Courtesy of 20th Century Fox|
Besson released a teaser of what he wanted his 2016 Lucy to be. Christopher Nolan's Inception was on his list. Lucy does have some mind-bending moments, but mentioning Inception as an influence may be overselling the film's overall story. Inception follows a group of dream infiltrators who must enter the mind of a corporation owner's son to break up the corporation. Doesn't really sound like Lucy. The visual effects and climactic third act are also not Lucy, but Inception has been one of the leading influences for directors in the past decade. Besson mentioning Inception is like most directors mentioning The Dark Knight anytime their dark, gritty movie comes out.
Another film that helped inspire Lucy, 2001: A Space Odyssey is filled with gorgeous visuals, a complex, twisted narrative, and artificial intelligence. Directed by Stanley Kubrick, Odyssey focuses on humanity and the depth of knowledge the human species possesses about the universe. Lucy can relate in those terms along with visually stunning effects.
The Fifth Element
|Milla Jovovich, Courtesy of Gaumont Pictures|
Leon: The Professional
Along with The Fifth Element, Leon: The Professional is one of the best films in Besson's library. The film introduced American audiences to Jean Reno and up-and-coming Natalie Portman. Leon tells the story of a young girl and her relationship with a seasoned hitman in New York City. Think a film noir that takes place during the day with very few shadows and a lot more guns. Leon doesn't let the action escape from the story. The violence is subtle and quick, giving the characters their fair share of time to develop.
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