Review for The Fifth Element
The Fifth Element is a bit like Marmite. You either love it or you hate it. At times it feels like 'Die Hard in Space' and maybe if they did have Bruce Willis play a futuristic version of John McCLane it would have made the film make a bit more sense. Actually I doubt it. The film tells the story of a mythical prophecy that will result in the end of all life. In the future, the mystical Fifth Element is recreated in the form of Leeloo (Mila Jovovich). Escaping the government, she falls into a hover cab driven by Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis) who takes her to the Priest (Ian Holm) who is part of the order guarding the prophecy.
While all this is happening Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg (Gary Oldman) has set himself as an ally to the Great Evil and aided by some thoroughly awful (and mostly dumb) aliens he is attempting to retrieve the stone keys of the prophecy to bring about the end of the world as we know it. This leads to a mad, visual journey with Dallas trying to protect Leeloo and involving alien opera singers, Ruby Rhod (Chris Tucker as annoying as ever) and more special effects and colour than you can shake a paint brush at. My problem watching this is that the film Directer Luc Besson created before this, Leon, is possibly one of the best examples of gritty realism and this film has none of that. It is almost like if after Francis Ford Coppola has created The Godfather he went on to make a Carry On film.
The acting is at time a little hammy, with Willis doing his best McClane performance, Oldman suitably OTT as the bad guy and the rest of the cast just seemingly going along for the ride. The performance of Jovovich as Leeloo is actually pretty impressive and reminded me of Jodie Foster's child-like performance in Nell. However, it cannot be denied that this film is visually stunning. Costumes designed by Jean-Paul Gaultier are fabulous and it is unbelievable that more of the visual aspects of this film were not showered with awards (Though it was Titanic years and so no one got a look in that year). The sets, the effects and the overall composition is so bright it reminds me of the classic Sci-Fi from the 1960s such as Barbarella.
The Blu-ray comes with a great range of features. The fact that the majority of the special features focus on the design and visual aspects shows me how way down on the list the story was on the creators' priorities. The visual effects commentary is fine, if you like that kind of thing. I would have preferred to hear what Besson or even Willis had to say about the creation of the film, rather than just how they created certain shots and effects. There is a whole featurette dedicated to the Alien/Opera/Diva scene which was not something I cared about and again I would have rather heard about the thoughts behind the scene, instead of just how they created it. For those looking for more about the overall creation the 'Discovering the Fifth Element' documentary is nice, but again drifts into visual and effects far too much. There is very little about the story, the actors and so that is a shame.
One thing that is odd (Maybe it was my TV or Player, or maybe it was just me), but the menus for this film are awful. The text for the options is so small it is almost like the final line of a sight test. I had to stand up close to my screen and even then I had to play process of elimination to figure out what I was viewing and if it wasn't listed I would never have known about the commentary. It is so bad that I actually can't tell you whether there were other visual or audio options. Again, unsure whether it was just my setup, but if it's not then it's certainly something that needed rectifying.
The Fifth Element is a mad, visually stunning and thoroughly entertaining ride. I'm unsure how much of it I was meant to take seriously and at times the tone jars a little with me, but as long as I don't think too much about the plot, it is an enjoyable film The Fifth Element is a mad, visually stunning and thoroughly entertaining ride. I'm unsure how much of it I was meant to take seriously and at times the tone jars a little with me, but as long as I don't think too much about the plot, it is an enjoyable film that I would watch again and recommend to all.that I would watch again and recommend to all.