Monday, March 13, 2017

Sci Fi Top 100, #42: "The Fifth Element" (1997)

Movie Stats:
Released 1997 (France)
French, in English (IMDB says there’s Swedish & German but I don’t remember hearing it)
Director - Luc Besson
Stars - Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, Gary Oldman, Ian Holm, Chris Tucker

Plot Summary:
In the 2200s, taxi driver Korben Dallas (Willis) becomes embroiled in a quest to save the universe. Jovovich co-stars as Leeloo, a woman who’s the key to the universe’s survival; Holm as Vito Cornelius, the priest who’s trying to help her; Oldman as Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg, the bad guy; and Tucker as Ruby Rhod, a radio celebrity.

Violence; gore; mild blue language; brief female nudity (breasts only); heavily implied sexy times.

Bad Stuff:
It starts slow.

It’s too much. I find it a little hard to follow, i.e. keep track of what’s going on and why, who’s involved in what, etc. It's not great at explaining things.

I don’t think the love story is particularly believable.

Good Stuff:
It’s got a lot of humor. Tucker especially is pretty amusing.

Once you get past the slow beginning, it zips along at an enjoyable pace.

I like the denouement.

The special effects have held up surprisingly well for a 20(!)-year-old movie.

The Verdict:
I’ve seen this numerous times. It’s not a favorite, but I’ve always liked it. It’s funny. It’s got a lot of action. There’s some good world-building, and it has lots of clever ideas. Also, I love Oldman as Zorg. He’s so ridiculous. Sometimes when I watch it, I find Ruby Rhod incredibly annoying (he screams A LOT) and sometimes I think he’s really funny. He struck my funny bone this time. On the other hand, I’m disappointed that, in the future, there appear to be no women in any positions of power, and everyone seems to fetishize Leeloo, the “perfect being.” Plus, I don’t buy the idea that two people who’ve known each other for two days during which they’ve hardly communicated can fall in (genuine) love. I’ll never buy that. In the end, I’d put this film on the slightly higher end of the good spectrum.

I give it 3.5 stars.


Patricia said...

This is from the Bruce-Willis-can-make-important-and-thoughtful-movies period. I wonder if Mr. Willis wonders if he can have another of those periods.

Patricia said...

I have just learned that Bruce Willis's first name is Walter.

balyien said...

Hmm, I think if my name was Walter Willis, I'd probably stick with the middle name too. Oh gosh, I just saw they're making another Die Hard. Honestly now.