Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Fifth Element

Movie Name: The Fifth Element
Year of Release: 1997
Director: Luc Besson
Stars: Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman, Milla Jovovich, Ian Holm, Chris Tucker, Brion James, Tommy Lister, Chris Evans, Charlie Creed Miles, Tricky, Luke Perry, John Neville, John Bluthal, Mathieu Kassovitz
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 4

Following the success of "Leon, The Professional", prolific writer/producer/director Luc Besson, tackled his most ambitious and international film yet: "The Fifth Element", a visually stupendous and comic book influenced sci-fi spectacle. The film follows the story of Korben Dallas, a retired military, currently working as a taxi driver, in a large metropolis in the 23rd century. Korben comes across a young woman, by the name of Leeloo, who literally crashes into his cab. Initially unable to understand her, Korben comes to realize she's the fifth element that can save the Earth from being annihilated by some alien force.
Luc Besson has always been an interesting film maker, capable of combining a pop culture saturated vision of the world, with multiple other references, in this case the influences of graphic novel artists such as Enki Bilal and Moebius. "The Fifth Element" is an interesting case where the creation of the universe where this narrative takes place, is actually more interesting than the main characters themselves. The screenplay for this film is its biggest setback: the characters have little to no motivation, the main villain is something vague and with no dimension, and even the comic reliefs are unimportant and mostly forced and grating. Luc Besson is a director who always creates an interesting backdrop to his main focus, but somehow his lead characters lack dimension and depth (there are notable exceptions, for instance Anne Parillaud's Nikita): Korben Dallas is basically the stoic hero, with a hardened core who suddenly and for no apparent reason, falls in love with the gorgeously awkward woman, who turns out to be the savior of the universe. Chris Tucker as the comic sidekick is also another case of an underwritten part, where most of what he does is screaming and be flamboyant, whereas Gary Oldman suffers the most with an underwritten part, where he gets a different accent, with a wig to boot and not much else to do. The film is visually stupendous, and that's it's main ace: but at the core it lacks everything else, making it a lackluster filmic experience.