One of the coolest Sci-fi
movies I have been privileged to see, especially with Bruce Willis
making it a great action
movie to boot. Like many great Sci-fi movies, it comes with a lot of humor
Written and Directed by Luc Besson
. He wrote this story when he was 16, which gives it a sorta youthful romance plot in addition to the action/adventure/sci-fi/comedy in which you see. He's made a few other films, such as Kiss of the Dragon
, The Messenger
(The Story of Joan of Arc
), The Professional
, and La Femme Nikita
. Somehow they all are similar (Luc Besson and his female leads
The movie opens in Egypt
during the middle 20th century, where an archaeologist has uncovered an ancient temple. According to the inscription, every 5000 years Evil rises, trying to destroy the universe
. In 300 years Evil will try again, and the temple houses the universe's only defense; four stones and the Fifth Element that work together to make a weapon. A weapon against Evil.
World War is brewing, so a race of friendly aliens take the elements for safekeeping, to return in 300 years and reactivate the weapon at the right time.
Fast forward 300 years, you see the future. Flying cars, aliens, McDonalds. Bruce Willis plays Corben Dallas, a divorced cab driver. Since he's an ex-soldier, the government sends him on a mission to recover the elements, as they were stolen on their way back to Earth. So far, they only have the Fifth Element that made it back safely.
Let me get back to the elements, there are four basic elements; earth, fire, wind, water. Remember Captain Planet? The Fifth, most important element, is the supreme being, Milla Jovovich. She's...uh, the hottest chick in the universe. She's got perfect DNA, bright orange dreadlocks, and killer martial arts. She's the only one who can save the world, by using the elements to be the weapon. She's cat-like, but cuddly. Like a living anime super-hero.
Not everyone is on their side, there are alien mercenaries, and a rich crazy leader Zorg who is trying to let evil win this time.
There are some awesome characters in this movie:
- Corben Dallas, played by Bruce Willis- our hero, just having one heck of a bad day, he's driving a cab in the morning, then forced to save the world that afternoon.
Leeloo, played by Milla Jovovich, who is the Fifth Element. Her full name is Leeloo Minai Lekarariba-Laminai-Tchai Ekbat De Sebat. Doesn't speak english though, instead the Divine language. But listen to her say multipass over and over for a laugh. See above.
Ruby Rhod, played by Chris Tucker, a really high-pitched, but comically annoying DJ who acts like a combination of Prince and Arsenio Hall. Much, much better than anything he ever did in Rush Hour, trust me.
Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg, played by Gary Oldman- the bad guy, who's taking bribes from the shapeless evil, that is headed towards earth, but somehow calls him on the phone. I think he sweats tar.
Yes, I know the plot sounds very complicated, but that's because I did a relatively bad job of explaining it compared to the movie. There's just so much to it that makes it great. There's Bruce Willis running around, still using bullets and super-grenades in the future, while stuff explodes all around him. There's Milla Jovovich, (did I mention she's hot?) being funny, then sexy, then an awesome fighter, then sexy, then going all serious about how humanity and violence shouldn't go together. Chris Tucker is great for the comic side of the film, he's just so annoying, and winds up being the nervous screaming baby.
The imagery in this movie is just so cool. It's this whole world of the future, which is perfectly thought out, and brilliantly executed. Everyone wears fun costumes, all designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier, to look futuristic and extravagant, and not in a cheesy way. The visuals in the movie are so original, it's breathtaking.
The whole thing looks like a big-budget epic. There's just this whole detailed world pictured, like watching The Lord of the Rings. All these different races, so much style and depth crammed in. The story is extremely imaginative and is one of Luc Besson's best. It's fast-paced, and has a vibrant quality. The entire film is just entertaining, it's a mix of things that make me laugh, ooh and aah, and get me keyed up in thriller parts of the plot. It's got a great score by Eric Serra (who did the score for Goldeneye), which has so much variety as the movie goes through different moods. The editing in this movie is perfect, it jumps between different scenes, like where the good guy says "We're saved," and instant jump to bad guy saying "I'm screwed."
There are some awesome shots that combine with the music to take your breath away. For example, there's an alien opera singer who sings her own opera/techno/synthesizer, while the camera cuts between her and Milla Jovovich taking on a bunch of alien mercenaries with Kung-Fu, as the music builds up.
There are times I pop in the DVD and jump to that one shot, it's just poetry in motion.
A couple of trivia things I learned from IMDB:
The hero, Willis, and the villian, Oldman, never meet once in the entire film. Interesting.
The explosion in the Cruise Ship main hall was the largest indoor explosion ever filmed. The resulting fire almost got beyond control.
In most shots of Gary Oldman, there is a circle around his head. In fact, a circle in the middle of the frame is a near-constant motif in this film. Bruce Willis, on the other hand, is more often framed by a rectangle or doorway behind him.
In the future New York City, Central Park is the same size as the real one and is in the same place - but 100 feet in the air.
Volumes of two manga series - Sanctuary, by Ryoichi Ikegami and Sho Fumimura, and Adolf, by Osamu Tezuka - are briefly visible in Corben Dallas' apartment.
Overall, there are few movies that I'd give 5 stars or "Must-see no matter who you are or what genre you like," but this is one of them, up there with Fight Club or The Matrix.
The DVD is a Superbit edition, which advertises a higher quality picture, and I agree wholeheartedly that the picture is very clear and sharp. But that's where it ends; there are no extra features except for the french dubbing. I don't consider the chapter selections and captions as special. I would love to hear Luc Besson in a commentary or Director's cut. Aside from that, the local DVD retail stores see it as an excuse to raise prices. /me grumbles at the fact that I'm being taken advantage of in price, but the movie is well worth it, at least the price of a rental. Really.
It seems there is a bunch of other nodes that are related to this movie (Guess I'm not the only drooling fanboy):
Leeloo's Language - Luc Besson wrote the language and Milla refined it. By the end of filming they could carry out a full conversation back and forth. (IMDB trivia)
Life Lessons you can Draw from the Fifth Element
Leeloo Minai Lekarariba-Laminai-Tchai Ekbat De Sebat
Luc Besson and his female leads