The Fifth Element is one of those beautiful adventure-action-love stories of Hollywood calibre with a style and depth that makes it the only film in a long time that has me wanting to go back in line to see it again after it was over.
It has good humor, it has originality, it has fascinating detail and this all combines to create a unique whole that I, personally, cannot find fault with.
In the past, a benevolent race of beings from space reveal to a priesthood in Egypt that in 3000 years, darkness will visit the earth from the outskirts of space, coming to destroy life and the light.
They gave us a weapon to use against it, wisely storing it in a rocky structure in the Egyptian desert. This weapon is five stones, representing the 4 known elements (plus one more unknown one, hence the title): Wind, Fire, Water, Earth, which when put into place around the Fifth Element, (a perfect being) activate, destroying the juggernaut.
But in the 1920’s an archaeologist and his assistant discovered their hiding place and ancient purpose, so the benevolent beings come to take away the stones for safer keeping. They tell the current keeper-priest to let the others after him know they will return when the time comes 300 years later to use them. But when the 300 years are up, they come back to be unceremoniously shot down by Gary Oldman’s evil henchman. And so the war for the stones begins with everyone out for them including Gary Oldman, Bruce Willis and The Fifth Element, along with many others.
This film has a great imagination of the future. The president of the world is of African descent, and there is a large mixed racial and alien cast. How things would be done in the future is very detailed, with compartmentalisation that any Tokyo resident would drool over. It was fun to see they still have Japanese fan girls. And so many other things and details this movie is packed with I couldn’t possibly go into it all, unless we had a week to discuss it.
It also has this great optimism throughout the film (which seems to start with Bruce Willis’s lunch), something that is refreshing for films along these lines. And Bruce Willis’ character was also refreshing in the way he was not too tough and was reasonable and human, the same with all the characters in the movie; it’s too easy for characters in a film like this to become terrible cliche’s.
Digital Domain (who are rumored to be using technology found at the Roswell crash) are doing the most absolutely seamless digital effects. They have done an excellent job of portraying the future New York and the interior sets are excellent too, creating a very colorful film. I was enormously relieved not to be treated to the usual grimness and grime associated with Blade Runner and all the Sci-fi movies done afterward, which for some unknown reason this movie has been compared with.
And note: all of the effects flowed together so perfectly, and didn’t become the movie, but complimented it, which is rare for these kind of movies, something Star Wars did. And the editing is unique in the way it will cut from one scene to another; it’s the cutting back and forth between scenes with the wonderfully exotic background music that makes this film unique.
Director Henri Luc Besson says he worked closely with the composer and considers himself a co-writer. But there’s more to it than this, all these things combine to create something else, a high level of style.
I loved the detail that went into this film, all the little things that you may not notice on the first viewing, indeed everytime you see the film you will notice something new. For instance, the main female lead, Leeloo, noticing her hands for the first time while talking to the priest, her character played beautifully by Russian model Milla Jovovich.
And as Super freakster MC Ruby Rohd’s said while describing the spectacular battle scenes, he could have been describing the film in general; “Every five minutes there’s something happening!”
Thinky says: In the future, everyone gets a flying taxi… if they have the credits.