This is a really fun, fun movie. It's not the beat all of science fiction as it was hyped when it was released, but it certainly is a good combination high adventure, situation comedy, cyberpunk, and Bruce Willis gun fighting action. Doesn't make sense? Don't worry. I'll explain.
High adventure comes from the plot: save the earth from evil by finding some mystic items and a perfect human before the appointed zero hour. That much is obvious. Cyberpunk explains in a way the setting of the futuristic urban scenes, which are fantastically portrayed in this movie. All of the settings and technology were impressive as well as stylish. The special effects were well above average and in many scenes very impressive, but a situation comedy? You got it. I won't get into the details. I will say there are quite a few scenes that involve the kind of subplots you find in sitcoms. This is a good thing by the way. A lesser movie would mess this up. Director Luc Besson made all of these elements (no pun intended) fit seamlessly.
Acting is great. Despite popular opinion of models not being very good actors the models that acted in this film did a good job of being campy in an entertaining way without hamming it up. I can go on an on about each of the reas actors and how they succeeded in pulling off whatever character, but I will digress to two ends of the spectrum. Chris Tucker as Ruby Rhod is priceless and worth the price of admission alone. One exception I would have to say is Tommy "Tiny" Lister as the President. Up until the final scenes his acting was pretty dry. I also have to criticize whoever decided to hype up the fact the movie has Luke Perry in it, who played Billy. Billy did nothing to carry the plot and only had a cameo role in the beginning. Ugh... Hollywood.
The movie can get too trendy. The music, though nice, didn't really fit the setting. The very last scene is totally lame and if you ask me unlikely (sorry Korby...). And there is a scene or two that was just trying too hard to be hip. I can forgive all that because the comedy, action and drama do fit in to what ends up being a mirthful romp in high flying action.
Sony dropped the ball on their first blu-ray release of The Fifth Element. The uncompressed PCM and Dolby 5.1 surround tracks blew you away, but the video quality was merely on par with regular DVD resolution. This time Sony listened to their fans and remastered the movie so that you get the full 1080p love you deserved the last time. Bought the first blu-ray? No problem. Sony seems to be offering an exchange program. Just contact Sony and they will set up a way you can pass your old blu-ray for the remastered one. Contact info is below:
Phone: (800) 860-2878
One downside though: no extras. That's right. All the cool stuff in the ultimate edition is gone. Getting this DVD is just like getting the first one they released. You get only the movie and some trivia text. If I were you I would still wait until they make some kind of special edition in blu-ray so you get the higher resolution AND the goodies.
If you want to experience a varied range of pleasant emotions without taking any one of them too seriously then you're going to love The Fifth Element. If you want high definition and special features then you better wait. I am betting this is going to be the case with most (if not all) new HD-DVD and Blu-Ray DVDs that first come out.
on August 7, 2007
"how can you tell the difference between the old and new packaging?" It's a good question because outside of a few minor visual clues there's nothing obvious that really separates the discs from one another, at least not until you know what to look for. First off the new disc has a TrueHD logo on the back, the original obviously didn't. The security tape across the top of the disc case reads "FIFTH ELEMENT, THE RMSTD BD" on the new version, the catalog number on the spine of the re-master is 21520, the originals catalog number was 15018 and lastly the bottom border (front cover) area that contains the "Experience High Definition" slogan is set against a silver/foil background on the re-master versus a flat gray border on the original.
The story goes that director Luc Besson began writing THE FIFTH ELEMENT in his teens, incorporating all the Sci-Fi elements he loved into one over-the-top, grand space opera...sort of an "E.E. 'Doc' Smith 'Skylark' Meets Flash Gordon and Barbarella" hybrid with sex, intergalactic action, and even some pseudo-religious overtones tossed in...in other words, a teenage daydream come true! Critics panned the end result for this very reason, sneering at Bruce Willis' Earth-saving (yet again!) Korben Dallas, and Besson's then-girlfriend, clothing-optional Milla Jovovich, as the innocent demigod, Leeloo.
The critics were wrong!
THE FIFTH ELEMENT is, in the best sense of the word, a classic 'B' movie, a space opera where a prologue vaguely similar to STARGATE leads to a future Earth where traffic jams occur thirty stories above the ground, humanity is ruled by beefy 'Tiny' Lister Jr., and where the Ultimate Evil is served by everyone's favorite villain, Gary Oldman, sporting a Southern accent! If this DOESN'T convince you that this is a 'popcorn' flick, not to be taken too seriously, there is Chris Tucker, sporting a blond hairdo, as the Galaxy's favorite media personality, promoting himself as he hits on his adoring female fans; Ian Holm, as the monk who knows 'the Secret', forced, despite himself, to become an active participant in the adventure; and some of the most ... ugly alien mercenaries you'll ever see, terrorizing a space resort, until they meet their match in Bruce Willis' 'DIE HARD in Space' protagonist! Yippee-Ki-Yay, indeed!
The FX are astonishing, the comedy, broad and sly, the heroics, macho, and as Leeloo, sent to save Earth, Jovovich manages to be both naive and sexy, with broken English and a gymnast's grace.
Bruce Willis is a joy, as always, to watch, and he carries the film with charm and self-depreciating humor, whether dealing with endless phone calls from his mother, driving his sky taxi recklessly (cabbies change very little in the future!), taking on terrorists single-handed, or falling for the exotic Leeloo. When he blows away a roomful of hostage-holding aliens, then asks, "Does anyone else want to negotiate?", you KNOW Besson picked the right guy for the lead!
If you want Profound Science Fiction, watch 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY again...but if you want to kick back and just have fun, look no further...THE FIFTH ELEMENT delivers!
on July 31, 2007
This is a review for the remastered Bly Ray disc.
The difference between the Superbits standard DVD and this new Blu Ray disc are obvious. They are extreme. If you love this quirky Science Fiction film and have a Blu Ray player and the right equipment, just buy it! Be sure to order the remastered version since they had some resolution problems with the first Bly Ray release. The Supebit version is very nice, but this new Blu Ray version is an absolute revelation!
It is SO sharp and the uncompressed sound is SO good, that it leaves the other version far behind. Every red hair on Milla is seen in extreme clarity. Her performance, as fine as it is, is actually enhanced in close up clarity. Chris Tucker just explodes on the screen in a performance which is part Prince and part I'm not sure just what. The colors are just great and again, the sound is beyond an improvement over both the Dolby Digital as well as the DTS mix on the older Superbit version.
If you love this quirky science fiction film, as I do (one of the very best Science Fiction films ever made), then you will LOVE this version. You'll never look at your television in quite the same way again. There isn't a single speck on the transfer. It is just a remarkable job. It is just as perfect as we're likely to get today. It looks and sounds far better than even in the theatre when I first saw it.
This should sell many of the new Sony 300 series machines. MANY! Just who, with the proper equipment wouldn't want to have THIS!? I also have a Toshiba HD-1 HD DVD player and as fine as it is, this new machine from Sony definitely has the edge. Everything seems to be moving in the direction of Blu Ray and I really don't care who ultimately wins the HD wars, so long as we get to watch dream stuff like this movie in our homes. Amazing beyond belief!
on October 31, 2001
FIfth Element is a raucous sci-fi journey that plays like a 2 hour MTV music video. Strap yourself in, and enjoy the ride.
The plot...the personification of all that is EVIL in this world is on a crash course with earth. Corbin Dallas(Bruce Willis) is an unknowing hero sucked into the chaos that unravels in this non-stop action movie. He must unite the 4 elements(wind, earth, fire, water) with a mysterious 5th element before the EVIL destroys Earth.
Other than Bruce Willis' straight man role, virtually every other performance is WAY over the top. Opitimized by Chris Tucker in his debut role as a Futuristic Radio DJ of the #1 Galatic Show. And in this case, Over-the-Top is good. For it marries perfectly with Luc Besson's directorial style. You feel like Bruce Willis' character being swept into a whirl-wind world that is glitz, glam, grunge, techno to the MAX.
The most enjoyable parts of the movie are the Music Montages. There are several with which Luc Besson shows off his roots(directing music videos) in a brilliant array of MUSIC, ACTION and tremendously fast-paced cut scenes.
The DVD is absolutely stunning. If you are into featurettes, cast/director commentary, dvd-rom, and other ancillary items...this DVD is not going to please your palette. The 4 menu items are: Play Movie, Audio Set Up, Subtitles, Scene Selection. Basically the barebones of DVD features. But do NOT be turned of by this. Because if you are an audio/video-phile looking for the BEST image quality and the BEST sound quality...this dish will feed your hunger. This DVD is one of the first 5 SUPERBIT encoded DVD's ever. Basically, the information on your DVD is bits of digital information. Your DVD player will get information from the DVD in bits/sec. Now double the bits/sec of a standard DVD, and the result is crystal clear image quality(the best I've ever seen on ANY DVD), and ear shattering sound(once again, the best I've ever heard on ANY DVD). Star Wars, Episode I is close, but this is the king of the hill right now. I couldn't imagine a better movie to show off the Super Bit technology.
This DVD may lack the frills of a "Collector's Edition" DVD, but the great story, incredible directing, and superlative image and sound quality makes this DVD a must have. Especially if you have a 5.1 stereo and HD-TV that you want to show off. But do keep the Subwoofer down, you'll wake the ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOOD.
on July 25, 2007
Like everyone else that purchased the 1st version, I was deeply dissappointed in the video quality of this great movie. Don't get me wrong I love this movie and I consider it to be one of the best SciFi movies of all time, if not then in the 90s.
And because of fellow members within the amazon community I found out that Sony was doing an exchange program in which you could send Sony the 1st version of The Fifth Element and they would send you back the remastered version free-of-charge. Naturally, at first I was a little skeptical but I e-mailed the address provided by the members of amazon and sure enough the "exchange program" was indeed True. So I sent my "ugly" version of The Fifth Element and just today, I got the new version in the mail, free-of-charge. Along with a letter from Sony Pictures that said:
"Dear M. Cardenas
Thank you for contacting Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Enclosed you will find your remastered copy of "The Fifth Element" on Blu-ray.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment strives to bring you the highest quality entertainment product available and we appreciate your continued support.
SPHE Consumer Affairs"
Now everyone knows the story, right? Well to put it in 10 or less words: Its Amazing and was before its time. But let's skip all that stuff and get to the core of this review: The Image Quality.
In general, It does look far better than the 1st version, which was, in some cases worst than the VHS version. The image is clearer and brighter and you can really tell that Sony Pictures learned from their mistakes. And with the addition of "TrueHD" sound, those HD sound systems that you paid for can really show you why exactly you paid such a high price for them.
Overall, great movie and (finally) with a great picture. Get it if you don't have it yet OR (like me) Exchange it and enjoy.
PS: I have added a couple of pictures to The Fifth Element Gallery, to show people what's different in terms of the Cover Art of the box. Hope they help some of you guys/gals
on July 27, 1999
Well, I've only read some of the reviews here and I feel I must say a few words. You guys ought to sit back and relax and enjoy this movie. In just the past decade the Sci-Fi movie genre has sunken quite low. Star Trek has played out, Star Wars should have stopped after Return, and nothing else is much worth mentioning.
All loads of money spent for little return. Hoards of computer power no longer are impressive. This movie was also probably too expensive, but I was impressed by its almost complete lack of seriousness. Yes the characters are all unidimensional, the plot is incredibly simplistic, Milla is a model not an actress (but she did just fine), Chris Tucker ticked a lot of people off (I loved him - the character is used well to illustrate how silly our "culture" is becoming. Even 2 or 3 people saving the universe is covered on the most popular show on the air.), Bruce plays Bruce as always (so who the heck did John Wayne ever play besides himself?? Or Bogey??), and so on and so forth.
I read several valid complaints and too many rousing endorsements of an "awesome" movie. Let's face it. This movie was just good plain fun. Whenever I run into it on HBO, I sit down and watch most or all of it again. I've lost track of how many times I've seen it, but I'm sure its way too many. Lighten up folks. Its just a movie. But, as George C. Scott said "God help me, I do love it so." I'm sure I'll see it again soon.
Just a quick word about the soundtrack. Wonderful stuff. Never heard of Erik Serra but I do like this audio weirdness.
on January 16, 2005
OK people, please. Can we stop with making people buy a freaki' film 2, 3, 4 times. Lets get it right the first time boys and girls. This edition has over two hours of previously unseen behind-the-scenes footage. Normally, I don't care about such things, but these are pretty awesome. The repackaging is gold and shiny! Oooo SHINY! The film itself is the same, but has been remastered into the SUPERBIT format and clearer picture and sound. Sell your other copy(ies) and keep this one. This is for the truly die hard fans as well as lovers of great science fiction/action genre.
on June 6, 2000
Even though THE FIFTH ELEMENT came out in 1997, this hilarious sci-fi action flick is so much fun, I just had to say a word or two about it... right now.
Unlike so many sci-fi productions that sacrifice plot and character development on the altar of special effects, THE FIFTH ELEMENT's strengths lie in its off-beat, tongue-in-cheek story and characters. Yes, there are cool effects to "wow" us, but it's the film's very distinct cyber-punk "look" and witty style that really makes it. Actually, one should check out a sampling of Luc Besson's earlier work-- the "Harry Canyon" segment in HEAVY METAL, the 1981 compliation of adult fantasy animation-- to get a sense of how his vision evolved.
Speaking of characters, I like 'em all-- from the totally stylin' aliens, the Manageewa and Mangalors, to Bruce Willis' Die Hard-esque war hero-turned-Brooklyn cabbie, Korbin Dallas, and Milla Jovovich's other-worldly, yet delightfully innocent "Action Babe" heroine, Lillu. My personal favorite: Gary Oldman's Southern Gentleman-turned-megalomanic villian, Zorg.
A lot of folks have panned Chris Tucker's performance as the screamin', flamin' media personality, Ruby Rhod. To be sure, a little Ruby certainly goes a long way. However, in the context of the story, the Ruby character does work.
My only complaint: sometimes the dialouge seems a little disjointed. Still, like a Borscht-Belt stand-up comic's routine, it doesn't "stand still" long enough for you to really notice (Sid Ceaser, when queried about how he dealt with flubbing on live TV, smiled and said, "You just go faster....").
In short, here's a flick that doesn't take itself seriously. Yet, it is a fine, well-made production, with the emphasis squarely centered on having a blast.
So, just what is "the fifth element," referred to in the title? I'd have to say, "fun!"
on July 14, 2001
Not very deep - but visuals and soundtrack work beautifully to create a mood of foreboding and set a colorful stage for a fairy tale like saga of the ultimate battle between good and evil. A historical link to the society of ancient Egypt and an early 20th century archeology team bring an air of mystery. Bruce Willis is in his element playing himself as a cabbie ex-army guy who must save the world (alla Die-Hard). Gary Olsen does a fantastic job as the quirky villan allied with the Evil One. Although targeting an American audience this is clearly a French movie...tenuous plot with eye-popping imagery, cool costumes, glorious sets, and wild characters, woven into a 90 minute tapestry of sight and sound by the minimalist, bordering on subsonic, soundtrack. You'll either love it for what it is or hate it as shallow eurotrash Pop. The DVD image in this version is of superior quality and images are well rendered, crisp, with rich and vivid color with no obvious artifacts. The surround sound is stupendous and the use of low frequencies for some scenes sends shivers down your spine. In terms of acting every one did a good job. As far as casting goes, the character of the President was not the right guy - someone a bit older a bit more serious would have been better. Also I could have done without the taxi/police chase scene but otherwise a great movie. If you love French movies like (Big Blue, Professional, Messenger, etc.) or are die-hard Willis or Scifi-action fans, you'll be glad you own it and will definitely use your "Moolti Pahss" and watch it multiple times.