by Allie Vasserman
October 26, 2020
The Fifth Element is an original 1997 science fiction action movie directed by Luc Besson. It stars Bruce Willis as former army major Korban Dallas, Milla Jovovich as Leeloo, Gary Oldman as industrialist Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg, Ian Holm as high priest Vito Cornelius, and Chris Tucker as radio host Ruby Rhod.
The movie starts in 1914. A group of aliens, the Mondoshawans, arrive on Earth and meet a person who is a priest of a mysterious order at a temple in Egypt. The Mondoshawans take a secret weapon meant to save Earth from a great evil that is supposed to come every 5,000 years, believing that the weapon is not safe with the people on Earth. The weapon is made up of five parts: four that represent the four elements of earth, air, water, and fire, and a fifth element that seems to be a mysterious box. The movie then jumps to the year 2263, when the great evil appears in outer space. We meet the fifth element, a girl named Leeloo who is brought to Earth by the military and runs into major Korban Dallas. Dallas used to be in the military but now is working as a taxi driver in New York City. The military convinces Dallas to help them retrieve the other four parts of the weapon from a friend on the planet Fhloston. Dallas teams up with Leeloo and high priest Vito Cornelius, and with the help of a few memorable characters, they race against the clock to save the Earth from both the great evil and its ally, Zorg.
The Fifth Element has a different feeling from most science fiction films, in part because it has French influence: Besson, the director, is French, two French comic artists, Jean “Moebius” Giraud and Jean-Claude Mézières, served on the movie’s production design team, and Jean-Paul Gaultier oversaw costume design. American viewers may never have seen a movie with substantial French aspects before. Furthermore, the movie has a humorous element to it and so never becomes too serious. There are some key moments that are easy to miss if you don’t pay close attention. In a favorite scene of mine, Dallas is negotiating with a group of aliens on another planet. He outsmarts the aliens and defeats them in an original and imaginative way. One theme in the movie is mankind’s desire for technology. At one point in the movie, the antagonist Zorg almost dies from choking on a cherry pit, despite being surrounded by revolutionary technology in his office, because he doesn’t know which gadget he can use to save himself. The film shows that an overload of technology is not good for mankind and one day may be the end of us.
The movie has action, humor, and characters whom we as an audience care about. The special effects are not up to modern standards, but the movie does not look too dated. There is an appropriate age range for the movie; I do not recommend it for young children, because some humor will go over their heads, and there may be a few scenes that are difficult for them to understand. Teenagers and adults are more likely to enjoy it. I think The Fifth Element is a good movie for the right audience, and I would recommend watching it.