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The Fifth Element (1997)

  Directed by: Luc Besson
Written by: Luc Besson
Starring: Ian Holm, Milla Jovovich, Gary Oldman, Bruce Willis
Links: The Fifth Element on the IMDb, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD, Buy the Soundtrack
Genre: Sci-Fi

This movie gets: 9.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"Bring on The Sixth Element" - a review by freddy

It's a measure of great films that they seem to improve with age. So much of today's multiplex fare may be initially impressive, but see it on telly a few years after its release and you wonder why you ever recommended it to friends.

I received The Fifth Element as a Festivus present last year, and recently got around to watching it for the first time since I'd seen it at the cinema. Like many wines from his homeland, French filmmaker Luc Besson's foray into science fiction has got a whole lot finer with the passing of time. Without wanting to get too heavy into the hyperbole, there's no doubt in my mind that The Fifth Element is a masterpiece.

Most of the story takes place in the year 2259. Earth is nearing destruction by pure evil (what else?) until Milla Jovovich's Fifth Element (after Earth, Wind, Fire and Water), known as Leeloo, crashes through the roof of retired military all-star Korben Dallas' (Bruce Willis) flying New York cab. Along with a priest who knows the secrets Leeloo holds (Ian Holm), they set about saving the planet.

Getting in the way is Zorg, played by Gary Oldman, and a host of extremely ugly and evil alien-types who shoot first and don't even bother asking questions. They'll kill or destroy anything that gets in the way of their ambition to — well, kill and destroy. With a backdrop of futuristic cityscapes, nifty technological advances (like ‘healthier’ cigarettes), dazzling colour and fabulous production design, the film is a feast for the senses.

Brucey has done this all before. Whether he's Korben Dallas, John McClane or whoever, he knows how to shoot bad guys, say the one-liners, look good in a singlet (more on that later) and get the girl. Milla Jovovich is great in her first major role, all wide-eyed innocence combined with supernatural ability as the only person who can save the Earth from a big smelly kaboom. And Gary Oldman chews — no, swallows scenery whole as the badass dude with a badass limp and some really badass guns.

The effects in The Fifth Element are great, the jokes are spot on, the action is exhilarating and the moral of the story, dare I say it, really hits home. Even though it's a classic good-versus-evil sci-fi plot, there's something for everyone — like a cameo by Luke Perry! (There must be some people who'd enjoy that, mustn't there?) It's even like an art film in some ways. How many other flicks intercut a scene of bad guys wreaking havoc, with one of an alien opera diva singing soprano on stage?

One final thing that makes The Fifth Element stand out: its use of the colour orange. Bruce Willis' singlet, Milla Jovovich's hair, Gary Oldman's office - who knows what else — they are as orange as can be, and they are perfect.

There's also a special, mind-enriching feature of the DVD that isn't mentioned anywhere on the box — the credits come in French. C'est fantastique, n'est-ce pas?

freddy gives this movie 9 out of 10.
Review created on Tue 10 Feb 2004

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Reader comments

  1. Awesome! :)

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from The AshDog on Tue 14 Jun 2005 20:12 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 10.00 (1 rating)

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