The Fifth Element (1997)
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Korben Dallas is your average ordinary New York taxi driver. Fresh out of the military, unlucky in love and this close to losing his job. One day the ultimate fare literally falls into his lap as Leeloo enters his life via the roof of his cab. Leeloo it seems was genetically manipulated to be the ultimate weapon against pure evil but her beauty and butt-kicking hide a more fragile nature that Dallas and a host of others will have to step up and help her save humanity.
This amazing sci-fi adventure from Luc (Leon) Besson has a little something for everyone. Beauty (the gorgeous Jovovich with orange hair even), action and gun-play, excellent acting, amazing visual effects, romance, creative sets and costume design, dynamic and interesting music and a mildly annoying but funny Chris Tucker. You name it this film has it in spades. 5th Element is hands down one of the best science fiction films ever.
I've seen it many times and always want more. I highly recommended it.
Set on a futuristic earth, where really nothing has changed except the technology, Bruce Willis is STILL John McLane, a has-been stormtrooper reduced now to driving air-cabs for a living...same old premise for him - nothing's changed much since STRIKING DISTANCE, except maybe the yellow hair-rinse. Now, legend has it that in a time long long ago, the forces of darkness visited earth and were repelled by the unification in close proximity, of four stones representing the four elements. earth, wind, fire and water together with a fifth "element" of unknown origin.
Dear old Ian Holm is Priest Cornelius, an expert authority on the five elements and keeper of all knowledge on things magical and mysterious. Gary Oldman in arguably his most way-put role is General Zorg who has done a deal with "The Dark Side" and whose sole purpose is to take possession of the elemental stones. The scene wherein he demonstrates the new weaponry to his alien henchman (from which the one-line "summary quote" above is taken) is an absolute classic of cinema. Milla Jovovich (Married to Besson at the time of the flick) is absolutely rivetting as Leeloo, the cloned/unzipped humanised fifth element. She must have practised long and hard perfecting her ancient language dialog....it's amazing. She strikes exactly the right note as a being of purity, femininity and warrior woman. As the film progresses she assumes the identitiy of the perfect girl any man would wish for and want to protect.
The comedy angle is hysterical, the action sequences in your face, and the fx generally impressive if not mega weird at times. Color and visuals play a major role in this pro-European production, the continent where not surprisingly it was most successful. The outcome naturally is predictable and in the best traditions of "will love save the day?" as if it wasn't always going to???
So, there u have it. Watch it one-dimensionally and that's what you'll get back. let it flow, immerse yourself in IT and you couldn't fail to have a good time, unless of course you are clinically dead or devoid of any sense of fun or fantasy ....but in that case you'd be wasting your time anyway, it wasn't MADE for you!
Honestly, I didn't really care about the plot all that much. The imagination and creativity is awesome! I love the colors and the ideas they came up with, especially how the design of the city. The futuristic clothing is cool too. The only thing I was disappointed in was the enemy aliens. They looked a little too artificial.
My favorite thing about the whole movie was the music. It went from techno to opera to jazz, and to all over. I loved the music, partially because they used Engima and Vangelis. Many people are like, "what the heck was that?" when they hear the music, but it fits the movie perfectly and leaves you with a feeling more than a theme. I like the randomness of the music, it works well with the quirkiness of the movie.
Like most of its ilk, the story revolves around an evil force about to devour Earth and the rest of life itself as it increases in size and power with each influx of destruction and hate thrown at it. Every opportunity to blow it up only makes it stronger. Through a series of fortunate/ unfortunate happenings, (depending on who you are aligning with), we have the paths crossing of a priest who holds the answers for survival, an ex-military, cab driver bent on having some fun and excitement, a strange woman from another place at the center of it all, an evil mercenary out for money, and the government of the galaxy trying to save face in front of inevitable extermination. It is good versus evil traveling through space in order to either shed light or death out to the universe as victory.
In what is a nice little introduction to the myth of the fifth element that will unite with the more common four to wipe out evil, we learn of those who keep the secret of its location. We don't quite know if these aliens are good or not until later, but we do find out the impetus for their coming to the temple on display. A cut forward in time introduces us to the president of the galaxies, (played in what would seem to be horrible casting, but ends up being pretty good with Tommy "Tiny" Lister, Jr.), and our head priest in the guarding of the truth, Ian Holm. Holm explains what the dark force coming after them is and goes on the quest to find the fifth element and her four stones needed to combat it. This supreme being, played wonderfully by Milla Jovovich with a childlike glee and discovery, falls into the unwitting hands of cabbie Korben DallasBruce Willis at his sarcastic bad-ass best. Willis must join with Holm and Jovovich on a mission to recover the stones and find a way to save the world.
A lot of the success lies with the man behind it all, Luc Besson. His script is made up of a pretty solid plot line as far as the world destruction goes. Everything makes sense and is explained in a way to not bore us, but instead in tidbits culled from the numerous characters running about it this singularly unique landscape. The art direction is spectacular and for being a decade old, still has some nice special effects that stand up. I've always been a proponent for prosthetics, when able, at the expense of computer graphics. Reactions are always better from actors who have something real to play off of and the lighting and environments just become more realistic. Even so, when computers are used, the effects are more subtle than flashy and never take away from the story that is being told. No matter what spectacle is on display, the script is what is important.
All the personalities on display also lead to much of the greatness that The Fifth Element has to offer. Bruce Willis is the king of this kind of role. His quips and rapport with those around him are priceless. Other standouts are Chris Tucker, in an early role for him, and the great Gary Oldman. Tucker takes loud and obnoxious to a whole new level, but it works flawlessly. His radio DJ has no shame when it comes to working a crowd or chasing the ladies, but his utter fear of danger is hilarious. As for Oldman, I have to believe Besson just said create something fresh. This villain is a pastiche of so many crazy components. His futuristic hair, complete with plastic half shield, is plain weird; the southern accent and buck teeth look is just the right amount of hillbilly; and the disposition of greed and ambivalence is perfect for a bad guy. When he explains how destruction allows all the little machines that man created to finally have work cleaning up the mess, it's fantastic. The real beauty, though, is that no matter how many strong lead roles are here, the little guys steal scenes as well. Singer Tricky is great as Oldman's "Right Arm" and Mathieu Kassovitz partakes in one of the best scenes in the film when he attempts to mug Willis at his apartment.
Even with all its camp and fun, Besson keeps it all grounded in drama as any fantasy tale does. He has a real vision for aesthetics and has changed his scope often as he goes from film to film. From the mobster/corrupt cop world of New York, to the countryside of war with Joan of Arc, he never pigeonholes himself in a style. I am still holding out hope that his newest, Angel-A, with all its black and white, stylish noir feel, will hit the big screens here in Buffalo. It will be a real shame if the rumors are true and the completion of his children tale, Arthur and the Minimoys, will be the final work by him as a director.
300 years later. The strange creatures return but they are attacked by other strange creatures. The only thing that survives is reconstructed and turns out to be Lee Loo (Milla Jovovich). She is the fifth element, the ultimate weapon against evil. Evil here looks like a great ball of fire. Lee Loo escapes from the authorities, and in an astonishing shot we see how a city looks like now. She jumps of a building and ends up in the flying cab of Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis). He saves her from the police, she asks for priest Vito Cornelius (Ian Holm), he brings her there.
We learn a little more about Lee Loo here. She needs four stones, the four other elements, to save the world. The stones are on a vacation resort where we meet DJ Ruby Rhod (Chris Tucker). He has some funny scenes as well. We have also met Zorg, who is played by Gary Oldman in a great way. The attack on the strange creatures early in the movie was planned by him. He wants the stones as well, he is offered a lot of money for them. How the story develops from here I will not reveal.
The story doesn't even matter. In every scene we have something to like. Beautiful settings, great visual effects, Gary Oldman, the beautiful Jovovich or the funny moments from Bruce Willis, Chris Tucker and Ian Holm. May be this movie is not for everyone but if you don't think to much you will definitely like it.
This is one of those movies where if you were lucky enough to see it first-run, you did not really appreciate it at the time.
It holds up very well. And gets better with subsequent viewings (As does MS. Jovovich who went on to do a string of very memorable sci fi flicks, and one drama where, believe it or not, she played an aspiring wedding singer) Massive (truly massive) talent in front of and behind the camera. Luc Besson in front (crazy as a loon but boy can he write scripts) and Willis/Oldman in front.
For the day, the special effects were top notch.
There a joyful innocence about the film which was rare at the time, and even rarer today.
See it once. See it often. It'll make you smile
Mila Jovovich as "Leeloo" (Or Leeloo Dallas Multipass, as she calls herself) is excellent as the warriorish fifth element who saves the universe.
The "good" aliens at the beginning of the film and the elements of the film in general bring to mind "Brazil" or "12 monkeys".
Bruce Willis is good at negotiating (inside joke, see the film) his way though the movie.
I highly recommend this film and i guarantee you will be watching it again to see all the little parts that you missed the first time through.