What do you get when you combine science fiction, comedy, drama, suspense, and a little bit of romance? The Fifth Element. On the surface it seems like an over-the-top mash-up that will never work. It took in over 63 million dollars back in 1997 in the United States, and a whopping 185 million everywhere else in the world. It then raked in another 29 million in rentals. Considering the budget was 90 million dollars, this movie was a huge success. Is it still just as good today? Of course it is! As the film is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary it still shines as a landmark film.
First of all, I’m a HUGE fan of Luc Besson’s work. Like his work or not, the man is Hollywood gold with his pen (he wrote Taken 1 and 2, The Professional, The Transporter movies) and this film is no exception. The amazing thing is that Besson wrote The Fifth Element at school when he was bored. Yeah, when you and I were doodling or defacing our textbooks, he was writing a film that would gross a combined 263 million dollars plus.
One of the biggest downfalls of films from the 90′s are the outdated special effects as seen today. Sure, they looked awesome then, but now they look like something a teenager could do with Adobe. Surprisingly The Fifth Element has weathered the years well. Not only are the effects good, they stand up to high definition. The world is a believable, albeit over the top, future Earth that is fully fleshed out. I went into this expecting it to look a lot worse.
Did I mention comedy earlier? Because this movie is hilarious. Chris Tucker is the perfect comic relief and maintains his level of humor throughout the film. It’s a perfect balance for the end of the world scenario the cast are trying to fight their way through. Willis is steady as always as is the ever-changing, and always great villain, Gary Oldman (who if you notice, never has the same accent in any movie….fun fact).
So, as you can see I enjoyed my trip down memory lane. I remember seeing this in theaters when it came out and the movie is still just as good today. See it in high definition and enjoy one of the great genre defying films. As the film is enjoying its 20th anniversary it is also hitting theaters again and I can assure you I will be finding my way to the nearest IMAX for the full experience!