The Fifth Element
Release year: 1997
Director: Luc Besson
Screenwriter: Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen
Starring: Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, Ian Holm, Gary Oldman, Chris Tucker, Luke Perry, Brion James, Lee Evans, Tommy Lister
Ratings: 1 Oscar nomination: Best Sound Effects.
Cab driver Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis) becomes unwillingly involved in a war between good and evil, when supreme being Leelo (Milla Jovovich) falls into his cab.
Luc Besson’s (The Transporter, 2002) sci-fi adventure is not just an action packed blockbuster, it is also a lavish and colourful film with famous fashion designer Jean Paul Gaultier desgining the imaginative costumes and great looking special effects. At it’s release it truly divided the audience being called both the best and the worst blockbuster of the summer, but it did well at the box office. It was at the time of its release the most expensive European movie ever made but also became the highest -grossing French movie, a titel it kept until til release of Intouchables in 2011. While there are several good guys fighting against evil, Willis (Die Hard, 1988) clearly stands out as the hero and as a central figure. The clumsiness of Father Vito Cornelius, an excellent Holm (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, 2001), the femininity of radio star Ruby, a great Tucker (Rush Hour, 1998) and the nervous head of security, played by Evans (There’s Something About Mary, 1998) enhances the masculinity and heroism of Dallas, making him a natural leader. Oposite him is Leelo, the charming red haired supreme being. With Jovovich’s (Resident Evil, 2002) ethereal beauty and physical talents she is a perfect cast for ‘the perfect being’ and manage to make Leelo a combination of childlike cuteness and fierce power. While always brilliant Oldman (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, 2004) lends his talents to the evil side, he stands much alone as the others mainly consists of characters that are very much alien looking. But Oldman manage this perfectly and makes an impression even though he never gets to even share a scene with Dallas. The costumes of the aliens look a bit rubber-like and the movie is wonderfully goofy and while it plays on serious themes like war and pollution it doesn’t take itself too serious and neither should you. That way you can enjoy it as the astounishingly entertaining sci-fi blockbuster it is.
The language spoken by Leeloo was invented by director Luc Besson and further refined by Milla Jovovich, who had little trouble learning and developing it, as she was already fluent in 4 languages. By the end of filming they were able to have full conversations in this language.
Picture copyright: Gaumon