Written by director Luc Besson, the script is pulp science-fiction, full of weird and wonderful creatures, places, and concepts. The storyline is surprisingly complex for a film of this type, with a surprising number of characters, factions, and goals. The storyline centers around two opposing forces: a great evil in the form of a planet who appears every 5000 years in order to destroy life, and The Fifth Element, the supreme being, in the form of Leeloo (Milla Jovovich - but of course), a woman with the power to stop the evil. But in order for her to do so, she must have the 4 stones representing the four elements of life - Earth, Air, Water, and Fire. Thus, she enlists the help of Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis), a retired Special Forces Officer now turned cab driver and Priest Vito Cornelius, a monk whose order is charged with keeping the secret of the Fith Element. However, the evil has servants of his own, in the form of Zorg, the president of a gigantic company, whose assigned mission is to find the stones and give them to the evil, thus guaranteeing the victory of darkness over light. Also present in the movie, as allies or enemies, are other unusual alien species, be they opera singers (no joke) or warriors. The characters are all larger-than-life, and usually I would knock a film for this, but in this case, I won't, because the whole movie is so over-the-top, both in terms of storyline and execution, that these characters work perfectly. Howwever, one weakness of the script is that for all it's invention and originality (and there is lots of it), it's pretty hollow. Good science-fiction must address some issues or ask some questions, but unfortunately, this one does not, at least not until the end, and even that seems tacked-on. But all in all, the script is very fun, the dialogue very snappy, and the pacing fast and exciting.
The acting is definetly uneven. Bruce Willis, an actor who isn't exactly noted for his great acting skills, gives here a performance that, while not being the epitome of great acting, is perfectly serviceable for an action movie such as this. In essence, he carries his character. However, Milla Jovovich, for all her exotic beauty, simply isn't an actress. Her performance is stunted, unconvincing, and while she's very fun to watch, and does carry her role minimally, she's just not cut to be an actress. However, not all performances are dissapointing. Ian Holm is excellent, as always, and his performance is surprisingly comical at times. And Gary Oldman is also fantastic as the excentric Zorg, and his character becomes the tangible villain in the film, even though he is simply a henchman in the storyline. Also a good performance is given by Chris Tucker as a hyperactive, socially-unskilled radio show host, who lacks subtlety and has an extremely sharp, annoying voice. His character is mainly (actually, totally) there for comic relief, and he performs his task admirably.
As for the craftsmanship, it's pretty good. Visually, the film is stunning. From gigantic cityscapes with thousands of cars flying at various levels to enormous cruise ships flying through the atmospheres of alien planets, the film is a visual feast for the eyes, and this carries from the costume and art design to the excellent special effects. The direction is also interesting, with a modern style to it (while not attaining the visual overload of Charlie's Angels). Also worthy of mention is the excellent editing and interweaving of scenes by editor Sylvie Landra, and superb, mostly synthetic soundtrack by Eric Serra, and some interesting cinematography by Thierry Arborgast.
But this really isn't a film that bears analysis in its details. It should really be taken as a whole, for even if some of its elements (no pun intended) are sub-par, the movie as a whole is a succes. It is genuinely fun to watch, even if it is cliched and sometimes annoying, and all in all, I recommend it.
What do you think of The Fifth Element
Share your opinions on our forum