The Fifth Element – Ultimate Edition (1997)

by | Jul 20, 2005 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

The Fifth Element – Ultimate Edition (1997)

Starring:  Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman, Ian Holm, Chris Tucker, Milla Jovovich
Director: Luc Besson
Studio:  Columbia TriStar
Video:  2.35:1 Widescreen Enhanced
Audio:  DD 5.1, DTS 5.1
Extras:  Full Length Trivia Fact Track, The Visual Element, The
Digital Element, The Star Element, The Alien Element, The Fashion
Element, The Diva, Poster Gallery, Previews
Length:  126 minutes
Rating:  ****

Korben Dallas is a down on his luck taxi driver of the future in New
York City.  Just when he thought that his day couldn’t get any
worse, Leeloo – the Supreme Being – drops into his cab. 
Unfortunately, she is being pursued by some bad people and Dallas gets
pulled into the chaos.  On his side is a strange priest who
foretells a time (now) where absolute evil will come to destroy all
life on Earth.  Also, a crazy/draggy television show host played
by Chris Tucker is a nice sidekick for the unseemly taxi driver. 
The military has their own idea about the situation, but luckily Dallas
is a former special operations guy and knows how to handle
himself.  An evil corporation owner, Zorg, and his band of aliens
stand between the destruction of the evil and the destruction of all
who live on Earth.

Part of the success of a film has to do with expectations.  When I
first saw this film I was pleasantly surprised and it made a lasting
impression.  Sure, there are some silly, stupid scenes (like those
with the President and with the character played by Luke Perry), but
there’s also a lot of good comedy, acting, story, visual effects,
drama, etc.  Tucker’s character is a laugh a minute, and both
Oldman and Holm manage to keep the viewer entertained.  As for
science fiction comedy films, The Fifth Element stands out as one of
the few movies that has an interesting storyline and the special
effects add to the enjoyment while not overdoing it.  It’s not a
film for everyone, but those who like it, will undoubtedly like it a
There have been a few different versions of this film available. 
Although the initial release was though to be one of the better looking
DVDs (and was subsequently used by many as demo material), the Superbit
version that was later released improved upon the video performance and
offered a DTS audio track as well.  The Ultimate Edition has the
same quality of picture and sound offered by the Superbit release, but
has a second disc full of extras.  Sections are divided into even
more sections with extra material.  In the Visual Element section
contains a featurette that discusses the cartoonists that Luc Besson
fell in love as a boy who he chose to use to design much of the
film.  There are test sequences for the Pyramid, Cornelius’
Apartment, Zorg’s Office, the Airport, and the lobby, corridor, and
bedroom in Fhloston.  The Digital Test section talks about most of
the demanding visual effects utilized in the film.  This section
is really worth looking at because there are a few minutes devoted to
the design of the model of New York City.  The Star Element
contains interviews with Milla Jovovich, Bruce Willis, and Chris
Tucker.  There are also four separate screen tests with
Jovovich.  Milla gives an extensive interview about her selection
and what it was like to work with director, Luc Besson.  The Alien
Element has four sections: Mondoshawans, Mangalores, Picasso, and
Strikers that talk about the development of the interesting creature
effects.  The Fashion Element section has a featurette that covers
much of the costume choices on the film, and has three tests with
Leeloo and one with the Korben Dallas character.  The Diva section
has a full blown featurette (that includes a first time interview with
the Diva character) in addition to a makeup test, and three outtakes
(one in the opera house and two in the studio).  The bonus
material contains tons of information that will help fans and non-fans
appreciate the amount of work that goes into a film like The Fifth

-Brian Bloom

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