If Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets looks familiar, that means that you’re living in the 20th Century. Star Wars, The Fifth Element (also directed by Luc Besson), and even DC and Marvel Comics have all taken inspiration from Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.

The film is based on the French science fiction comic series Valérian and Laureline, which started in 1967. There are already 21 volumes in the series, plus a short story anthology and even an encyclopaedia! It’s considered a landmark in European comics and pop culture, and after so many years we’re finally getting a big screen adaptation of the film.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets takes place on the titular City of a Thousand Planets. While it’s unlikely that any of us have ever been to that sort of a planet, there are many metropolitan cities on Earth that could very well look like they’re a city with citizens from a thousand planets.

Don’t believe me? Check out these cities which look like they were made up of folk from different planets!

1. New York City

New York City. Credit: New York City Feelings Facebook Page

New York City. Credit: New York City Feelings Facebook Page

Famously known as a “melting pot of cultures”, New York City has people hailing from all corners of the globe. Chances are, you might even have a friend who’s staying in New York right now! There’s even a New York Singapore Association to help connect all the Singaporeans living in New York right now.

The biggest indicator, however, has to be the food. Every other street junction has a Halal food truck, and Chinese food is ubiquitous. There’s even a Chomp Chomp in New York City! Even the City of a Thousand Planets wouldn’t have cuisine as varied as that in New York.

However, the Asian food is a tad rich (and the portions are huge no matter where you go), so remember to take some tea with your meals!

 

2. London

London. Credit: The World Facebook Page

London. Credit: The World Facebook Page

Money talks, and it says that London is the world’s largest financial centre. If you’re a fan of Sherlock then you’ll have realised that London is made up of citizens from all sorts of different cultures. Their mayor, Sadiq Khan, is a British Pakistani, which speaks volumes about how cosmopolitan the city is.

A whopping 36.7% percent of London’s population was born outside of the U.K. Sounds pretty much like a City of a Thousand Countries, if you ask me!

 

3. Amsterdam

I amsterdam. Credit: University of Amsterdam / Universiteit van Amsterdam Facebook Page

I amsterdam. Credit: University of Amsterdam / Universiteit van Amsterdam Facebook Page

No mention of Amsterdam is complete without a) a joke about hamster dams and b) references to buying weed. However, more hardcore drugs are illegal in Amsterdam, as they are in other countries. They welcome asylum seekers and other immigrants, and they even have a festival (the DRONGO Festival) that celebrates their diversity.

They even have a saying, “Leef en laat leven”, which means “Live and let live” that summarises the attitudes of their open and tolerant society.

 

4. Sydney

Sydney from the sky. Credit: The World Facebook Page

Sydney from the sky. Credit: Tony Hawk Facebook Page

Did you know that more than 250 different languages are spoken in Sydney? More than 40% of Sydneysiders speak a non-English language at home. Sydney is very much like Singapore in the sense that you can hear at least one Singaporean family everywhere you go (just perk up your ears!) and there’s a range of authentic ethnic dishes everywhere.

Sydney became one of the most multicultural cities in the world after World War II, thanks to the post-war mass migration. It might be one of the most expensive cities in the world (not sure if it tops Singapore), but it’s also one of the most liveable.

 

5. Toronto

Toronto. Credit: Mpora Facebook Page & Yeshi Kengrang

Toronto. Credit: Mpora Facebook Page & Yeshi Kengrang

Besides Justin Trudeau, another reason why people migrate to Toronto is because there are over 200 ethnic groups there. They have a Little Italy, Greektown, Koreatown, Chinatown, Little Portugal, and Little India there, which means that if you’re on a budget, you could go there for a holiday and experience over six different cultures!

They’ve been dubbed the most diverse city on the planet, and with over half of their population being foreign-born, it’s no wonder why.

 

6. Singapore

One of Singapore's newest icons. Credit: Amazing Ideas Facebook Page

One of Singapore’s newest icons. Credit: Amazing Ideas Facebook Page

And of course, no mention of cosmopolitan cities can be complete without Singapore. We have four official languages (English, Mandarin, Malay, Tamil). Almost every hawker centre has a stall from each of the major ethnic groups (plus a Western food stall). You can hear people speaking multiple languages in one sentence to each other and everyone understands each other perfectly well (like how I said “Auntie, one kopi si kosong, da bei” (“Auntie, one coffee with evaporated milk, no sugar, large”) this morning when ordering my large cup of pseudo-latte).

How much more multi-cultural can you get? I bet you not even the City of a Thousand Planets will have citizens speaking to each other in the language of more than one planet.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

What’s the biggest threat to any metropolis? Instability. In Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, our hero Valerian (Dane Dehaan) and his erstwhile partner Lauraleine (Cara Delevingne) have to root out a dangerous threat that could menace the entire universe. What could be so dangerous, and will our heroes be able to stop it?

Find out in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets!

 

 

 

Credits: New York City Feelings Facebook Page, The World Facebook Page, University of Amsterdam / Universiteit van Amsterdam Facebook Page, Tony Hawk Facebook PageMpora Facebook Page & Yeshi Kengrang, Amazing Ideas Facebook Page, Golden Village Cinemas