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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

The Fifth Element


Starring: Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman, Milla Jovovich, Ian Holm and Chris Tucker
Pathé Productions
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: PG
Available 06 June 2011

In the year 2257, a planet sized sphere of supreme evil is approaching the Earth at relentless speed, threatening to exterminate every living organism unless four ancient stones, representing the elements of earth, wind, fire and water are united with the mysterious "Fifth Element"...

The Fifth Element is a 1997 sci-fi/action/adventure movie by French director Luc Besson. A strange next choice, you'd think, from the man whose previous film was the much darker Leon. What Besson does with The Fifth Element is to steer clear of the usual sci-fi cliche that the future is dark, moody and generally miserable. And, in addition, he injects a liberal amount of humour which makes this a film you'll find much to discover on further viewings. For example cigarettes of the future have much longer filters and Besson has a bit of subtle fun by casting actor Mac McDonald in a cameo as a cop at a McDonalds drive through.

Which brings me to this movie's only real flaw - the blatant advertising scene that puts McDonalds centre stage in such a way that even the dumbest viewer won't be in any doubt they've been hit over the head with one of the most obvious product placements in movie history.

All of the main cast turn in admirable performances but it's Gary Oldman, not surprisingly, that steals the movie with his pantomime villain act. There are also some interesting cameo roles from Luke Perry, Lee Evans, Tricky and Kim Chan.

The look and feel of the future New York is also unlike anything you'll have seen before. However, I couldn't help feeling that the flying cab sequences borrowed quite a bit from Back to the Future II.

One more slight grumble... yet again we have a Blu-ray menu where the creators have assumed everyone in the entire world must have a 60" screen. I reviewed this on a 40" TV and even then I had to get fairly close to read the miniscule writing on the extras menu.

For extras we get Discovering The Fifth Element (48 min, 20 sec which looks at the origins of the movie as well as the actors, the production and the effects. This is a pretty in depth behind the scenes feature); Imagining The Fifth Element (5 min, 13 sec this goes over a lot of ground all ready covered in the previous feature. It also looks at the effects - mainly the NYC cab chase scene - and the movie's main explosion); The Art Of Jean-Claude Mezieres (5 min, 30 sec interview with Mezieres on how he got involved as well as a look at his concept artwork); An Audience With Diva Plavalaguna (5 min, 13 sec look at the construction of Plavalaguna and the filming of the scenes); Elements Of Style (5 min, 13 sec interview with costume designer Jean-Paul Gaultier); Trailer and TV Spots; MTV Cannes Premiere (47 min, 13 second look at The Fifth Element themed events at Cannes as well as a long section recorded at Nena Cherry's live gig); and Visual Effects Commentary.

If you don't already own this on DVD then the £20 retail price for this Blu-ray edition should be all the incentive you need to add this to your collection.


Darren Rea

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