The Fifth Element

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Wow. This is actually as cool as it wants to be. It is not a typical American film – in many ways it is extremely French, but it is this novelty that makes it so interesting. (It is in English) I hate to use the word “neat” because it does not adequately capture it, but think of an 8 year old kid looking into a microscope for the first time and using the word “neat” because he doesn’t have the vocabulary to say “fascinating, unique, interesting, pretty…”

Bruce Willis is by no means treading any new ground with this role, but it works perfectly in this version of the future (2259). Think of this future as a better-maintained, more peaceful Blade Runner – but this movie is not like it. It is different from other movies in the same way that Blade Runner or Brazil are different, but it is more rooted in a kind of mythos than just cold hard technology.

It’s not all explosions and sexy women like an American action film. Previews made me fear it was colorful and silly, but it is only colorful and….and NEAT.

Luc Besson directs a movie that would never have been made in the US because the lowest common denominator would have demanded at test screenings to change all the things that make this movie fascinating.

Ian Holm, Milla Jovovich, and a score of interesting creatures (and Ruby, a manic DJ who annoys his way into your favor) in these beautiful settings make this movie worthwhile.

The overall message in and of itself is not all that original, it’s the presentation that makes it worth seeing. This movie did not open Cannes *just* as a publicity stunt. The music is different, the sheer volume of information and plots is different, and it all works great.

Don’t get me wrong – some of you may go and just think, “This is too much, too busy, too many things!”

But despite the fictional quote from the Emperor about Mozart’s music having too many notes, some times too much is really a wonderful thing. Go see it, get together and talk about it. It’s really good. Pay full price to get in, too. It’s cooooooool.

MPAA Rating PG-13
Release date 5/12/1997
Time in minutes 127
Director Luc Besson
Studio Columbia Pictures