In the twenty-third century, the universe is threatened by evil. The only hope for mankind is the Fifth Element, who comes to Earth every five thousand years to protect the humans with four stones of the four elements: fire, water, Earth and air. A Mondoshawan spacecraft is bringing The Fifth Element back to Earth but it is destroyed by the evil Mangalores. However, a team of scientists use the DNA of the remains of the Fifth Element to rebuild the perfect being called Leeloo. She escapes from the laboratory and stumbles upon the taxi driver and former elite commando Major Korben Dallas that helps her to escape from the police. Leeloo tells him that she must meet Father Vito Cornelius to accomplish her mission. Meanwhile, the Evil uses the greedy and cruel Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg and a team of mercenary Mangalores to retrieve the stones and avoid the protection of Leeloo. But the skilled Korben Dallas has fallen in love with Leeloo and decides to help her to retrieve the stones. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Plot wise it is weak and rather silly but, for all its weak points it is great fun with a good sense of energy and wonderful design
Three hundred years ago, the powerful weapon of the fifth element was removed from Earth. Three hundred years later and pure evil has stirred in the far reaches of space and is heading straight for Earth, with traditional weapons unable to stop it. When the Fifth Element is returned, the ship is attacked and seemingly lost but scientists are able to recreate the fifth element and are surprised to find it is a beautiful young woman, Leeloo. When Leeloo escapes custody she is helped by ex-army taxi driver Korben Dallas. Korben takes her to the priest she names, but he finds that everyone wants her for one reason or another then he finds that both the army and the priest need him to go on a mission to reclaim the missing four stones and save the Earth from evil.
I have seen this film several times and will usually come back to it if I find myself in the mood but yet I also find myself thinking of its flaws whenever anyone asks me about it. I can't understand why I do this because I really do enjoy this film even though there is much I sort of dislike about it. The plot is one of the weak points; generally it is quite good as an idea but it has many weak points that make it seem rather silly and overly busy. While this is not enough to really damage the film I know that it has put some people off in some audiences, but for me it was only a minor problem as these rather silly bits were all part of a film that had a great sense of fun running through it. Some of it didn't make much sense and at times I got the feeling that the film had more ideas than it really knew what to do with, but the majority of it worked well. The action is good but you should be prepared for the fact that, like much of the film, it is done with a certain amount of tongue in cheek humour. Suffice to say I never found it dull and it has plenty going on for the majority of the film
Visually is the area where the film is strongest and I could watch it for this alone. The effects are great and are full of imagination as well as looking very impressive. The design work of Dan Weil is very well used and compliments the effects used the film looks lavish and rich all the way through and matches the wonderful costumes from Jean-Paul Gaultier. Of course much of the praise goes to Luc Besson who has managed to pull this together really well to produce an endlessly impressive film, which manages to be a fun and exciting sci-fi.
The casting also backs this idea up and features many performances that are spot on with tongue in cheek performances that match the tone of the film perfectly. Bruce Willis delivers the same, great mocking performance that he tried in Hudson Hawk but here he does it in a film that is better structured and less silly than that one and it works a lot better. He still delivers the goods as an action lead but he puts his tongue just far enough in his cheek so as to be there without hurting the film! I don't want to overdo it (after all he is Bruce Willis!) but I thought he was very well cast here. Oldman is very hammy but this also works as it matches the humour of the piece. Jovovich had a very difficult role and it is easy to laugh at her baby talk etc but I think she made it work well and gave a good performance against the odds. Holm is pretty good and brings humour to his role as well. Tucker, sadly, fails to do the same as these and his overblown performance doesn't even fit well within this film (god knows where it WOULD fit!) and he only succeeds in being shrill and very annoying throughout not all his fault, his character is a wholly unnecessary part of the film. The support cast is roundly good and features a raft of famous faces in minor roles including Lee Evans, Brion James, Tricky, Luke Perry and Kim Chan. Generally the cast seem to be right on the same page as their director and compliment the material and tone perfectly.
Overall this is far from a perfect film and some may find the humour to be at odds with the sci-fi action; but for my money the fact that most of the film backed up this tongue in cheek tone made it all work. Some of the plot has too many ideas or unnecessary elements but most of it is really good and, combined with mostly good performances and stunning designs and effects make for a film that I will watch many times even if I cannot help but see the weaknesses that many others cannot get past.
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