Author: Matt Golden
A simple enough concept: Guy must save a World (in the Future!) from Evil! by protecting a Magical Macguffin, only in this case it’s a Girl! instead of a Thing. There’s really not a lot of story here. Not a lot of character either. Why waste valuable screen time with such paltry concerns when you can instead have Chris Tucker prancing around as a flamboyant radio host in the most annoying cinematic sci-fi supporting character not created by George Lucas? Instead, the film casts actors who do a fair job of acting simply by being themselves: Bruce Wills is Korben Dallas, a brawny, shoot-first hero who, when the chips are down, is brawny and shoot-firsty. The Magical Girlfriend MacGuffin, Leeloo, is played by Mila Jovovich (in her breakout performance) and some strategically-placed wrappings (the wrappings have had a harder time breaking into more mainstream roles). Ian Holm turns up as the Old Mentor, and filling out the cast is Gary Oldman as the antagonist Zord (in his hammiest role ever). The film seriously rises to the level of made-for-SciFi Channel-original and no higher. The plot is nonsensical, the acting committed but laughable, and the dialogue so stiff you’d think the script pages had been starched. So where does the film go legitimately wrong? Two main places: first, Besson carries on the proud tradition of French filmmakers doing weird things solely for the sake of being weird. The entire film is filled to the brim with the kind of idiosyncratic touches that I’ve come to expect from that region. Most of the bits don’t work, but I’ll give them credit for keeping things interesting. The second, more serious issue is another that seems to plague genre French directors, and that’s the whole matter being played (largely) for farce. The most successful (creatively) American (sci-fi/)action films are defined in very large part by their villain. This film, like so many other sci-fi/action films I’ve seen from French directors, never establish or maintain an element of power for the villains over the heroes. The villains are painted as clueless, moronic, out of their depth, or outright incompetent. That tradition continues here. What would Star Wars be without Darth Vader? Die Hard without Hans Gruber? Aliens without…uh, aliens? Lacking a strong (or even memorable) central villain (we have two: a Gary Oldman so hammy I’m pretty sure Muslims couldn’t work on the film, and the other being a giant planet-size ball of…Pure!Evil! No joke.), the film sacrifices the one shot it had at having some kind of weight or dimension. There’s no sense of danger or peril, no chance that the Hero won’t triumph, and [spoilers!] the day is essentially saved by a Care Bear stare. So, does what I’ve just said make it bad? Well, yes. Let’s try again. Does that made it unenjoyable? No, and it’s an important distinction to make. The film is an interesting curiosity. After a half-hour of the bizarre, if you can let yourself be swept into its idiosyncratic world you’ll find a perfectly watchable B (or C)-movie. It rankles a bit to think about how much was wasted making dreck this dreck-y, but it’s entertaining dreck.
Author: John Chard
Negative, I am a meat Popsicle. It's 2259 and the Earth is in mortal danger from pure evil. The only hope Earth has is something called the fifth element, which comes in the form of the newly cloned Leeloo. Along with an ex forces cab driver and a priest called Cornellius, Leeloo must piece it together before the end of mankind arrives. Depending on which side of the fence you sit on, The Fifth Element is either a child fantasy made by an adult, or an adult fantasy made by a child! Here in lies the problem that many critics and movie watchers can't agree on. Just what does Luc Besson's film want to be? Having conceived the concept for his film at a very early age, Besson I think waited until he was comfortable with his adult eyes, and armed with the technological advancements in the late 90s, to realise his vision. With the result being a beautiful piece of science fiction that is, yes- cartoonish in every other frame. Crucial though is that Besson's futuristic vision of New York dominates proceedings, not even a villain overdrive from Gary Oldman can detract from the colourful vistas that Besson has crafted. The sea has dropped and New York is awash with flying cars, there are no take aways anymore, the Chinese junks fly to your front door to serve you food, how cool is that? Shape shifting aliens are amongst us, who in the context of this Jean-Paul Gautier clothed universe, blend in effortlessly, and opera divas are strangely beautiful and blue creatures. In short, the film is an art direction treat, a feast for the eyes, even as the comedy and action take control in the final third. Bruce Willis quickly leaves behind his successful trip to harder edged roles (Twelve Monkeys) to play super cabbie Korben Dallas. Gun toting and with a quip at every turn, this is the Willis that the MTV generation loves and adores. Oldman, for better or worse as Zorg, gives a memorable performance (oh my, is that a Southern American accent?), but it's with Mila Jovovich (Leeloo) that the film gets its acting spurs. A pure revelation, it begs the question on why Jovovich has failed to progress in the acting world? (stop doing tripe like Resident "will work for food" Evil films would be a good start). Sci-fi fans will obviously get the point that the support cast features Ian Holm (Alien) and Brion James (Blade Runner), which off sets the annoying and painful turn from Chris Tucker as zany, insecure DJ Ruby Rhod (is Besson having a pop at world DJs here I wonder?). To leave us with what? A film that mildly suffers from its director giving way to his heart over his head, but hey baby, it's one groovy and enjoyable romp from start to finish regardless. 8/10
Ever since I first watched The Fifth Element in the late 90s, I've been inspired by Gary Oldman's Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg. _Final rating:★★★½ - I strongly recommend you make the time._
This movie is one of the best movies of all time! It has a great story lines and graphics of it's time and even to today's standards it is brilliant. The world is well though out and well demonstrated. Zorg is a great bad guy, played by Gary Oldman and Bruce Willis plays his role very well. All in all a excellent movie.
2 hr 06 mins
$ 90,000,000.00 (Estimated)
$ 263,920,180.00 (USA)
$ 173,920,180.00 (Estimated in USA)
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