Time: 122 mins.
Genre: Science Fiction/Action
Academy Award nomination for Sound Effects Editing.
I didn't see this film in the theater and I wish I had. I am a big fan of Luc Besson's work and though THE FIFTH ELEMENT isn't his best movie, it's not half bad either. I can understand why most mainstream reviewers panned this film there isn't much of a plot and what is there isn't very original. However, the look and feel is, and believe me, in this case, that's worth the price of admission. I'm not sure how good the viewing experience will be on video if you don't have the chance to see the letterboxed version. Besson fills the frame to capacity and you won't want to miss a single inch.
The story is fairly straightfoward: The universe is going to be destroyed by a giant, unstoppable planet, which shows up every 5000 years (don't ask why), unless the "five elements" can be gathered together to stop it. There are your requisite good guys (played by Bruce Willis and Ian Holm) and bad guys (Gary Oldman) fighting for posession of the stones, which represent the elements found in nature (air, water, fire, earth) and the Fifth Element that turns out to be a super being named "Leeloo" played by Milla Jojovich.
While searching for the stones Bruce falls for "Leeloo" who, through computer technology, is quickly learning the ways and language of this new millenium. She is strong, since she's a cosmic being, yet vulnerable as well. Milla actually does a fairly good job capturing this dichotomy. Bruce is his charming, heroic self and Oldman is just well, crazy, which again is nothing new. Yet, the film has an infectious style and energy that just captivated me from beginning until almost the end. Just because something is simple, doesn't mean it's stupid. The dialogue is irreverant, clever and funny. Besson puts just enough of the bizarre into this universe that you're just a bit unsure of what's actually going to happen next. The production design and special effects are phenominal, creating a futuristic Earth that's both believable and extraordinary. I truly enjoyed this ride and though you know they're going to save the planet, I found it interesting how they actually did.