Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

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Not suitable under 12, not recommended 12 to 15, due to violence, scary scenes and characters, and sexual references

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
  • a review of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 15 August 2017.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 12 Not suitable due to violence, scary scenes and characters and sexual references
Children aged 12 to 15 Not recommended due to violence and sexual references
Viewers aged 15 and over OK for this group, although with issues that parents may wish to discuss

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Science fiction violence
Length: 137 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Set in the 28th century, the film follows protagonists; Sargent Laureline (Cara Delevingne) and her boyfriend Major Valerian (Dane DeHann) on a mission to retrieve a “Mül converter” (a small animal capable of reproducing pearls containing tremendous power). During this mission, Valerian receives a telepathic message (similar to a dream) where he witnesses the destruction of the planet Mül (inhabited by benelovent humanoids) as a by-product of a war between humans and another race.

Upon completing this 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 have been told that it may have been planted there by an unknown enemy and threatens to destroy them and the 30 million population of Alpha. There, Valerian meets the humanoids from his dream, discovers their true purpose in being there, and realises that the information from his own government may not tell the full story.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

War; morality; questioning authority; gender relationships; reconciliation

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is frequent violence throughout this movie – mostly in the form of gun and knife fights and including attacks from alien animal-like species. Examples include:

  • A group fight with knives which show stabbing and slashing of body parts. In one scene, an alien has his head sliced in two by the main character.
  • Valerian and Laureline are attacked by a vicious dog-like creature which tears 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 and fast movements chase Valerian.
  • Gun fights include large guns capable of shooting multiple rounds instantaneously.
  • Laureline is seen continually punching an enemy in the face many times, even though the individual is lying down and not struggling.


Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • There are a number of scary-looking alien characters
  • A beautiful planet (Mül) inhabited by kind humanoids is destroyed in the opening scene. This is shown from a first person point of view with large objects falling from the sky and crashing heavily and loudly into the planet.
  • A princess of Mül is seen 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.
  • The alien “Bubbles” (played by Rihanna) dies, and is shown turning a dull colour before disintegrating away like dust.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are also likely to be scared by the above mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group are also likely to be scared by some of the above mentioned scenes.

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Younger children in this age group are more likely to be familiar with the pop star Rihanna and may be more affected by her character’s death in the movie.

Product placement

Nothing of concern

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • When we first see Laureline, she is wearing a black bikini and in the process of flirting with Valerian, she 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 whilst wearing outfits that are very revealing, including showing her underpants. This performance also includes pole-dancing.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • some kissing
  • Some characters are very scantily dressed. For example, despite heading into a mission, Laureline is shown wearing a tight, shape revealing top which resembles a bikini. Also humanoid aliens are shown with very little covering.

Use of substances

Nothing of concern

Coarse language

There was some mild coarse language including:

  • “ass”; “shit”

In a nutshell

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is a science fiction action movie inspired by a popular French comic series.

The main messages from this movie are about taking responsibility for your actions and doing what is morally right. Valerian and Laureline don’t always follow their orders but have moral reasons for this – it is not pure rebellion. They accept responsibility for the actions of their race and attempt to amend the damage that has been done.

The film is not suitable for under 12s and not recommended for viewers under 15 due to scenes and characters that are likely to scare young viewers, the violence which gave the film its M rating, and sexual references.

Parents of older children may wish to discuss the messages about gender roles featured in the film, including;

  • Valerian has a “hit list” of the woman that he has previously been with. The fear of becoming just one more name on this list is one of the factors that prevent Laureline accepting his marriage proposals.
  • Laureline is portrayed as being tough, in control and aware that advances by men may not always be as genuine as they may seem. She also has to constantly challenge her position as Valerian’s sidekick and assert her capability.
  • The shape-shifting Bubbles has a sad story of sexual abuse and exploitation.