The Fifth Element (1997)
Directed by: Luc Besson
Starring: Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, Gary Oldman, Ian Holm and Chris Tucker
This is an all timer for me. For sure one of the best Sci Fi movies of all time. I actually only recently saw The Fifth Element a few years ago, but I instantly fell in love the moment I was introduced to Luc Besson’s masterpiece. When the universe is threatened by a dark evil, it’s up to a futuristic taxi cab driver, a holy priest and a fascinating woman who may be the most powerful weapon in existence to save the day. How exciting.
The Fifth Element makes a very exclusive list for me. I have a soft spot for big space adventures/ alien films, but I’m really picky about it too. Of course there’s Star Wars and Star Trek. You’ve also go Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (I almost wrote about this one instead), War of the Worlds, Interstellar, Galaxy Quest, Wall-E and The Fifth Element. There are others that probably make this list, but these are the ones that always come to mind. The vastness of space, the amazing space crafts and all the different crazy alien species. I just love this genre.
The Fifth Element is a classic Sci Fi film and there’s a good reason for that. It’s really fun, action packed, hilarious and full of wonder. Luc Besson has a clear vision that is wholly unique. The film is full of bright colors and eccentric costumes and makeup not found at this level of creativity very often. This was also a movie that was made just before CGI began to reign supreme in film, so much of the set design and aliens were all practical which is so much more charming even if it does look a bit fake.
I’m not going to spend too much time writing about Bruce Willis because he turns in a truly Bruce Willis performance in this movie. Not much to write about in that department. Gary Oldman is fucking weird and kind of annoying, but he does such a great job playing the main antagonist, Zorg. Zorg has the temper of a child and the accent of a southern gent and when Oldman cuts loose it’s a blast to watch. Chris Tucker… how much cocaine you had to be on for this role is beyond me. I still don’t know what his characters role was in this film. Was he like a T.V. host or something? I don’t know. What I do know is that Chris Tucker was completely electric as Ruby Rhod. I’m fairly certain he annoyed every human being who has ever come in contact with this movie, but he did it like no one else could’ve. The real star is Milla Jovovich. She is one of the greatest physical actors of our time. Andy Serkis has Gollum, Doug Jones has… pretty much any creepy monster in a Del Toro film and Milla Jovovich has Leeloo. She plays this character with so much energy and emotion, she actually seems alien, more so than the costumed ones in the film. Plus she’s got that classic line… “Multi pass”.
Much like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, this film has a bit of a generic story for the genre, but it’s handled with such care and attention to detail that it feels superior to most others. The Fifth Element won’t leave you breathless or fuck with your head. It’s a straight forward space comedy with a cast FULL of fun and interesting characters.