Wednesday, December 01, 2010

“Negative, I am a meat popsicle.”

Its kind of hard to preface a movie like The Fifth Element. After all, it’s a brightly colored, shiny, largely optimistic space opera/Adventure! that was released in 1997. And its got Bruce Willis in it.

Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis) is a former military pilot who’s now a down on his luck cabbie (in THE FUTURE!). His mom nags him, his wife divorced him, and he can barely afford to keep up with his traffic violations. He’s about to have bigger problems. See, there’s this ancient EVIL which manifests physically every couple of thousand years in an attempt to kill all life in the universe. So it falls to Commander Shepherd and his crew to--wait, sorry.

The only way to stop the EVIL is the lost “Fifth Element” (as opposed to fire, earth, air & water, oh, and DUN DUN DUN!). There is a faith based around this Elemental power, and its current priest, Father Vito Cornelius (Ian Holm) is desperate to convince the Earth government that the only thing that can stop the EVIL is this element. Some friendly aliens try to deliver said Maguffin, but get shot down by mercenaries. The Element is recovered and reconstructed by SCIENCE into Leeloo Minai Lekariba-Laminai-Tchai-Ekbat De Sebat (Milla Jovovich), a smokin’ hot little mama jamma fully capable of kicking anyone’s ass. She escapes from a hospital and falls (literally) into Korben’s cab, and a course is plotted for ADVENTURE!

I should add that along the way, we run into a DJ named Ruby Rhod (Chris Tucker) and the villainous Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg (Gary Oldman), and it seems to me that the two spend their screen time trying to out-ham each other. I’m okay with this.

Directed by Luc Besson, the film is, again, very, very bright and colorful. It really jars against the more cynical and darker visuals of its contemporary sci-fi movies (like Dark City and The Matrix). There’s a lot of makeup, model work and wacky outfits, and all of it (aside from some of the weirder costumes) is really well done. And the fight scenes are really badass, which is a plus.

Screenplay by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen and based off a story Besson wrote back in the 70s. It’s got action, its got a LOT of comic moments and funny dialogue, and its got some reeaaalllly memorable characters. About the only complaint I have is that the ending is a little bit anti-climactic.

The original music by Eric Serra is an interesting blend of electronica, opera and a blend of international touches. It’s a bit hard to describe, but the one fight scene juxtaposed with the opera scene is easily one of the best in the movie.

Yeah, so I will admit to being late to The Fifth Element party. I’d seen clips here and there and thought it was cool and all, but never sat through it all the way before. I concede the awesomeness of the movie and feel a little ashamed that I haven’t experienced it until now. It’s good. Real good. One of the better surprises this year. Hell, if I had seen this back in the 90's like God intended, it might've become one of my favorite movies ever.

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