Future Love Pt 1 (The Fifth Element, 1997)

Fifth_Element_PosterWelcome to the Future.  It is run down and grimy.  And Bruce Willis lives there. And a mysterious object is hurtling towards Earth…a planet…an evil planet.  The Government is trying to destroy it, but a religious order is pushing for an alternate plan…

Using the DNA from an alien life form that is said to be the greatest warrior in the universe, military scientists end up with a beautiful young woman.  She escapes and finds herself in the flying cab of Korben Dallas.  He does not want any trouble, but when the woman (named Leeloo) begs for his help, he finds he cannot just turn a blind eye.  This of course, forces Dallas into helping Leeloo along with Priest Cornelius. Hot on their trail are alien creatures working for a deviant business man named Zorg.  They must find a set of stones that were stolen and use them in conjunction with Leeloo to stop the evil planet.

Luc Besson’s the Fifth Element is a richly beautiful action film.  It is filled with colorful costumes, vibrant lifeforms and entertaining characters set against an a crazy backdrop of tall buildings, exotic spaceships and flying cars. The costume design is almost amusing in it’s weird fashion sense and impracticality.  McDonald’s workers have sexy uniforms for goodness sakes.  But Besson has a real eye for detail, with the designs being important.

The characters are, largely, archetypes…and Dallas is basically that “Bruce Willis Guy” that we saw throughout the 80’s and 90’s.  World weary, tough and sarcastic.  But Besson puts that to good use.  Milla Jovovich’s Leeloo falls into that “Child-Like Super Hero Girl” Trope.  You know, can barely speak, innocent and super powerful.  This is, admittedly a painfully over used trope…but Jovovich gives one of her stronger performances here, making Leeloo like an exuberant child as she is absorbing knowledge and working through the mission.

Gary Oldman’s Zorg is a strange duck, but Oldman is very entertaining.  Surprisingly, the real standout though?  Chris Tucker’s Ruby Rhod. Rhod is a flamboyant television host who is clearly modeled after Prince.  Tucker pretty obviously had a lot of fun with this role.

The Fifth Element is a fun Sci-Fi amusement park ride.  The plot is very simple, overall.  The evil planet is evil because…well, it is (and it can make phone calls).  And Leeloo is good, because…well, she is.  And yet, the film is an entertaining visual rush.

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