Jul 7, 2024

The Fifth Element (1997)

Director: Luc Besson
Producer: Patrice Ledoux
Screenplay: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen

Bruce Willis as Korben Dallas
Milla Jovovich as Leeloo
Gary Oldman as Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg
Ian Holm as Father Vito Cornelius
Chris Tucker as Ruby Rhod

Music: Éric Serra
Cinematography: Thierry Arbogast
Editing: Sylvie Landra
Release Date: May 7, 1997 (Cannes), May 9, 1997 (France), May 9, 1997 (USA)
Running Time: 126 minutes
Language: English, Fictional Language
Freddy's Movie Review

Nostalgic Beginnings with Bruce Willis

Off to the seventh movie in our Luc Besson marathon! I remember watching "The Fifth Element" on VHS at my aunt's house back in 1998. Fun fact: my aunt is a fan of Luc Besson and has won several awards for sound engineering in movies. Check out her work here. Anyway, back to the movie. As a kid, I loved anything with Bruce Willis in it. From "Armageddon" to "Die Hard," I watched those films about a million times. In "The Fifth Element," Bruce shines as Korben Dallas, bringing his usual charisma to the role. The movie's success owes a lot to his performance. As for Milla Jovovich, I'm not her biggest fan. She looks cool with those heat patches and orange hair, embodying some serious Y2K aesthetics, but her acting doesn’t do much for me. Besides "Resident Evil," this is probably her most memorable role. Can't remember anything else with her.

Futuristic Fashion and Timeless Sets

Let's talk aesthetics. Jean-Paul Gaultier's futuristic costumes are iconic, though I have mixed feelings about them. Some look downright ridiculous, like the police uniforms—very impractical and lacking future vibes. On the flip side, I love the futuristic sets and cityscapes. Bruce Willis’s tiny apartment still feels futuristic and smart. Who wouldn't want a moving shower? The special effects are pretty impressive for a 1997 sci-fi movie, but have they endured the test of time? Not really. The movie feels like a simple adventure that might still appeal to 80’s teenagers, but the quest to save the universe and find love was a bit boring for me. The characters are a mixed bag. Gary Oldman brings his wicked evilness again, though not as satisfying as his DEA agent role in "Léon." Chris Tucker, on the other hand, is hilarious. His manic energy and bizarre antics are a highlight, even if everyone else seems to hate him.

Besson’s Love Life and Final Thoughts

Now, for some behind-the-scenes gossip. The Diva Dance opera scene, one of the film's highlights, features Luc Besson's then-wife Maïwenn. She was an adult by 1997, but their relationship started when she was just 15 and he was 33—a bit of a scandal. During the production of "The Fifth Element," Besson fell for Milla Jovovich, leading to a divorce from Maïwenn. His marriage to Milla didn't last long either, ending after just two years. Ah, the drama! Back to the movie: it's simple, silly, and packed with sci-fi clichés. It was probably more impressive in the 90s, but some elements feel retro now, like those big pushy buttons. I enjoyed the comedic scenes and the clever editing of crossed scenes. And I have to give props to Éric Serra's music—after criticizing his earlier soundtracks, he really nailed it in this one.

🎥 Cinematography (7/10):

Thierry Arbogast is good at his job.

📖 Story (4/10):

Engaging but simple, filled with classic sci-fi clichés. It might have been more impressive in the 90s but still offers a fun adventure.

🎬 Direction (6/10):

Luc Besson delivers a visually compelling film with a unique style, though some aspects might feel a bit dated now.

👥 Characters (7/10):

Memorable and diverse characters, from the heroic and charismatic Korben Dallas to the enigmatic and otherworldly Leeloo. The eccentric villain Zorg, with his bizarre mannerisms, and the flamboyant Ruby Rhod with his manic energy is a love-it-or-hate-it element.

💥 Visual Effects (9/10):

Impressive for its time, with some effects still holding up well. The futuristic cityscapes are particularly memorable.

🎭 Acting (7/10):

Bruce Willis brings his usual charisma, and Milla Jovovich is memorable as Leeloo. Gary Oldman and Chris Tucker add unique flavors to their roles.

💬 Dialogue (4/10):

Not particularly special, though I did enjoy those phone calls from Korben Dallas's mother XD.

🌍 Setting/Atmosphere (6/10):

The futuristic settings and innovative design create an immersive world that is both fascinating and visually captivating.

🎵 Music (7/10):

Éric Serra’s original approach fits well with the emotional tone of the scenes, enhancing the overall impact of the film.

😄 Entertainment Value (5/10):

Despite some dated elements, the film remains entertaining with its mix of humor, action, and visual spectacle.

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