Good and evil battle for the future of 23rd century Earth in this visually striking big-budget science fiction epic. In the movie's prologue, which is set in 1914, scientists gather in Egypt at the site of an event that transpired centuries earlier. Aliens, it seemed, arrived to collect four stones representing the four basic elements (earth, air, fire and water) - warning their human contacts that the objects were no longer safe on Earth. A few hundred years later (in the 23rd century), a huge ball of molten lava and flame is hurtling toward Earth, and scientist-holy man Victor Cornelius (Ian Holm) declares that in order to prevent it from destroying the planet, the same four elemental stones must be combined with the fifth element, as embodied by a visitor from another world named Leeloo (Milla Jovovich). However, if the force of evil presents itself to the stones instead, the Earth will be destroyed, and an evil being named Zorg (Gary Oldman) will trigger the disaster. Despite her remarkable powers, Leeloo needs help with her mission, and she chooses her accomplice, military leader-turned-cab driver Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis), when she literally falls through the roof of his taxi. Writer and director Luc Besson began writing the script for The Fifth Element when he was only 16 years old, though he was 38 before he was able to bring it to the screen.
~ Mark Deming, Rovi
Movie Level Themes
Race Against Time, Evil Aliens, Protecting the Innocent, Heroic Mission, End of the World, Priceless Artifacts and Prized Objects, Future Dystopias
1997--French Academy of Cinema, Thierry Arbogast-Winner
1997--Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Mark Mangini-Nominee
1997--Cannes Film Festival, Thierry Arbogast-Winner
1997--Lumière de Paris d'Unifrance, Luc Besson-Winner
The Fifth Element is a colorful riot of a story, not precisely long on sensible plotting but making up for its flaws with nonstop movement and humor, courtesy of director Luc Besson. It's a flat-out comedy with a handful of dramatic elements designed to appease those looking for an event movie, and Bruce Willis does a brilliant job of playing the tight-jawed, fast-shooting, hard-hitting hero. Gary Oldman's Zorg is a flare of color, tacky and dangerous, no physical antagonist for Dallas (Bruce Willis), but making up for it in intellect -- which tends to come a cropper, since none of his assistants has the brains to tie shoelaces without disaster. Ian Holm is in fine form too, turning in a lightly comic performance that's a delight to watch. The Fifth Element is really worth the candle when it comes to the design and visual effects. Sticking with the story will get viewers through all the eye candy in a speedy enough fashion, and even Chris Tucker's seriously over-the-top performance as Ruby Rhod is unlikely to cause a bump. New York in the 23rd century is crowded and overactive, buildings rising for miles and traffic running in multiple lanes between those buildings. While the makeup effects seem to be relatively ordinary, the visual effects -- computer-generated as well as model-based -- are eye-popping and brain-straining. The flying traffic alone is phenomenally detailed. Overall, the film is a joy to look at, though video viewers are recommended to find a letterboxed copy. As a whole, The Fifth Element lives up to its title as a self-proclaimed "Sci-Fi Pop Epic." Taken in the intended spirit -- as a comedy, rather than as a dramatic effort -- the film is grand entertainment. ~ Steven E. McDonald, Rovi
Blu-Ray Drive or Blu-Ray Player
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