THE FIFTH ELEMENT
In the colorful future, a cab driver unwittingly becomes the central figure in the search for a legendary cosmic weapon to keep Evil and Mr. Zorg at bay.
The Fifth Element is my all time faovirte film. Full stop.
The Fifth Element taps into every sci-fi trope you can think of, and then some. While doing so, it cooks up its own interpretation and recipe. At it's core it is a "save the universe" sci-fi film, but it is simultaneously so much more. Being a Luc Besson film, you know it is going to be hugely visually stylistic, and it is. It is a great assemblage of familiar tropes interpreted in an updated fashion with modern graphics and special effects (for the time), as well as a sort of future fashion show angle that isn't forced or tired - and kind of harkens back to Lexx a little.
I am now, always have been, and will forever be a big fan of Milla Jovovich. As such, I knew I had to see this thing. Bruce Willis was in a comedy-drama I watched when I was young and was, among other things, John McClane in Diehard, I knew I had to see this thing. Chris Tucker was Smokey and Skip and then all of the sudden he's Ruby Rhod - which is such and amazing casting and character, I knew I had to see this thing.
The movie came out in 1997. We're talking 20 years after Star Wars. We're talking the same time as The Matrix. We're taking 20 years before The Expanse. It sits in a weird little pocket of time where it's important to remember when the film was first released to truly understand its importance and how many things it touched on and how forward thinking it was in many ways. You can watch Bladereunner and that film somehow always makes sense and adds up and gets its message across. I thibk if you didn't understand what was happaening in popular culture during the mid 90s, The Fifth Element might not be as important or hit in the same way it is and does for someone who was there. I'm not sure if that's a detriment to the legacy of the film or not, but it likely lowers the number of people who might otherwise check it out if/when they read things like that.
My infatuation (to this day, to be honest) with Milla Jovovich likely does me no favors, in terms of how much I love this film. But I think she did such an amazing job playing the character of Leeloo. Through the whole film she speaks this made up language that, when you see her and hear her speak it in the movie, you can't help but think is an actual factual language. Then she drops her english lines in the film and they sound so affected by native tongue and dialect that it just sounds real. It's truly amazing. She looks and acts amazing in this film and you're wrong if you disagree.
It's definitely not re-inventing the wheel and it is decidedly aimed at people who have some sort of previous operating level with popular culture and underground culture alike. A bit like being too nerdy to be cool and simultaneously being too cool to be nerdy only to realize that none of that matters, good is good is good.
It's a great snapshot in time, that's for damn sure.
Bruce Willis has already gone from Moonlighting to Die Hard. He is at the height of his career. He is the perfect non-actor actor. The just do what you've been doing actor. And the role is written as such, which is even better. It's actually a very brilliant screenplay.
One of my favorite actors ever, Gary Oldman, plays the villain - or the puppet for the main villain, at least - in The Fifth Element and he works that role like only he could. The scene in his office with the priest is priceless and timeless,
It's just such a great testament to a period of time that is enjoyable on multiple levels even 25 years later.