Monday, 16 April 2012

The Fifth Element Commentary

I cannot even begin to guess how many times I’ve seen this movie.  It is fantastic entertainment from beginning to end.  I even have a few friends who I can tell to turn on the light by simply yelling, “AZIZ!” at them.  But I cannot really explain why I like this movie so much.  Normally, a movie like this would irritate the hell out of me.  After all, the over the top costumes in a futuristic society was one of the things I didn’t like about the Hunger Games.  So why do I like it in the Fifth Element?  I think it comes down to the movie making itself.

Luc Besson does a fantastic job of bringing a comic book story and vision to life without the comic book to base it on.  While it is way out there and impossible to ever happen, there is just enough of the story grounded into reality that makes you care about the outcome.  This is made possible through some very good casting.  Bruce Willis in the 90s almost always played characters that we would root for no matter what they did.  He has slacked off some lately but he was really the epitome of cool for me back then.  Gary Oldman is always great as a sociopath, Milla Jovovich makes a very good her/victim and I can only assume Chris Tucker just took a little ecstasy and did whatever came naturally.  For what it is, the acting is very solid.  I’m a little confused as to why you would cast Tiny Lister as the president given that he’s terrible at his craft but, when you spend a lot on effects and other casting, you have to take what you can get I guess.

The movie is 15 years old so you know the effects are going to be dated.  But it ages OK.  The cgi effects are still pretty good but animatronics have come a long way since 1997.  So those are a bit painful to watch.  Set designs are very comic book like and actually quite a treat to look at.  Visually, this is a very solid movie especially for when it was made.  As far as the story goes, there are some holes and some pretty convenient plot developments but it is a science fiction movie and therefore it has to be placed in its own little universe.  What makes it good is that it sticks to the rules that were written for it.  There are no twists of convenience due to it being poorly thought out.  It appears to have been thought out start to finish and then turned into a movie.

The bottom line is that the Fifth Element is pure entertainment.  There is a small attempt at a moral pushed on you close to the end but it doesn’t envelop the movie like it could have.  The film starts out fast and never really lets up.  There are countless one liners and goofy facial expressions that keep it from delving into anything too dark, boring or preachy.  It is exactly what it sets out to be: a 2 hour fantasy that makes you smile and say, “that was pretty cool” a lot.

I highly recommend you See It.

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