Movie of the Day – The Fifth Element

Ah yes, science fiction movies.  There is nothing better or cooler than watching sci-fi movies.  Even bad ones like on Sy-Fy are even good in their own rights.  Give me interstellar travel, futuristic weapons, exotic locales and grandiose visuals.  All those elements complete the science fiction experience for me.  While sci-fi movies can be on the side of sensory overload, there are some that also walk a minimalistic side, but not this one.  Luc Besson in 1997 brought us all his vision of a future society.  It was gorgeous, I mean jaw dropping gorgeous.  The scope and scale of his movie, from costumes, weapons, society and out right visuals were leaps and bounds better than anything that was released in the 90s.  Not only was the movie a visual powerhouse, but brought together a cast that included Bruce Willis, Ian Holm, Gary Oldman and pretty much gave us our reigning, zombie slaying actress Milla Jovovich.  By far and away, The Fifth Element is right up in my top ten science fiction movies ever.

The movie opens up at an excavation site where a pair of archeologists are deciphering glyphs that tell the story of beings from another world defeating pure evil with the use of stones and a being of pure good.  A priest is there at the temple to stop the two from opening the chamber room and possibly disrupting the contents inside.  Outside the temple, extraterrestrial beings arrive at the temple and we told that they are the keepers of the elements used to defeat evil.  The priest is one in a long line of caretakers of the history of the elements and liaison between the keepers and Earth.  Jump 450 years into the future and we see an unknown element forming in the reaches of space, this is the element meant to destroy Earth.  The keepers return to fight the element, but their ship is destroyed and the elements are taken.  The military recovers one hand from the wreckage and reconstruct a being from that hand.  The being is perfect in every way and is frightened and breaks out of the building.  She falls into the cab of retired military man, Korben Dallas.  Korben takes the woman named Leeloo to a priest named Vito Cornelius who is the liaison for the keepers and explains that Leelo is the key to the elements and the key to defeating the evil in the universe.   Korben and Leelo must go and retrieve the elements before the man who orchestrated the attack on the keeper gets them.

So that is a more abridged version of the story as the story involved a lot of side plots, extensive dialogue scenes and a multitude of characters and background scenery to even mention into this short review.  While the movie is over 2-hours, the movie feels a lot longer since the scenes take longer to play out and we get a slow second act.  This sounds more like hang up rant and it is.  There is just far too much stuff in this movie to sit and take in one viewing.  All the visuals mask a relatively poor character story and I don’t have a lot of connection with the characters.  They are supposed to be complex, but the grandiose scale of the movie minimized the their interactions.  This is my biggest complaint of the movie when I get down to it, but the overall arc of the movie and visuals just pull it back up to be one of my favorite sci-fi movies.

The Fifth Element is visual marvel.  I picked this movie up on Blu-ray and was just in awe of the visual scope that Besson and conceptual artist Jean-Claude Mézières, who is a prolific French comic book artist.  The littlest details are so intricate, from distinct fashion for different classes of society and aliens, the vertical construction of a sprawling metropolis , and unique facial characteristics that alien races get.  Everything looked so planned out to the “t” that you would think this movie was in development for decades.  Visually, in the genre of sci-fi, I can only think of one other movie that just stuck with me in terms of visuals and that is Blade Runner.  They created their own language, brought back this futuristic detective noir look to the clothing and the creation of a sprawling, futuristic society was just astounding.  Comparing the two movie in terms of visuals, yields similar themes and artistic touches.  But each movie brings a unique look and feel to the world that they are set in.

While I praise the visuals, the acting and actors were incredible.  It is sad that their character stories didn’t get fleshed out more in the movie, but each actor brought their characters to life.  Gary Oldman is and will always be a bad ass.  Playing the charismatic and clairvoyant villain Zorg is just sweet, sweet scenery chewing.  He walks out, gives his little speech, and twirls his non-existent mustache.  Awesome, just awesome.  Milla Jovovich was gorgeous to look at and also moving as Leeloo.  I enjoyed her expressive face in terms of conveying wonder and fear, but will her child like wonderment is prominent in the movie, it hides this fierce kickass woman.  Being this perfect being, Leeloo is both vulnerable and stronger than she lets on, but the romance between Leeloo and Dallas is flat.

I loved almost everything about this movie.  While the character stories got short-changed, the visuals were some of the most impressive things to come out of the late 90s.  If you go back and watch the movie you would think this is a movie done in 2011.  Intricate costumes and elaborate sets all made this so much more real than most sci-fi movies that come out now.  If you haven’t had an opportunity to see this movie, I recommend to rent this movie on Blu-ray and just check out the visuals.  Everything is crisp and gorgeous and the movie is a fun ride.

About Nick
I am just another blogger putting his thoughts into a website. My love is movies so most of my musings will be movie related. I work as an online marketer for an advertising company and when I am not earning a paycheck, I moonlight as a vigilante film blogger.

One Response to Movie of the Day – The Fifth Element

  1. Frank Bishop says:

    This is an amazing movie. Gary Oldman is instant win regardless of role. I love this movie so much, it hits the imagination and heart of my younger more curious self.

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