As we've mentioned, we're celebrating Best Science Fiction Movie Ever (BSFME) Week here at Fantasy Matters. Each day we'll introduce one or two contestants for the title, and on Friday, we'll have a poll where you get to pick the winner! Matt Rasmusson kicks things off today with Contestant #1: The Fifth Element.
Picking a favorite science fiction movie is like picking a favorite child, but put a gun to my head and I’ll choose my oldest son and The Fifth Element. It is possible I have watched other movies more often, but none of them put a smile on my face like this film.
If you are unfamiliar with the movie, it is about a special forces soldier turned cab driver and a perfect being who save the world from a pulsating globe of fire bent on destroying Earth. Bruce Willis plays the cabbie and is perfect as the cynical, world-weary hero with a sense of humor. Milla Jovavich is the perfect being, named Leeloo, also known as The Fifth Element, and Gary Oldman plays Zorg, the evil globe’s henchman. Zorg is extremely funny for a man trying to end life as we know it.
The story is fine, the action sequences are entertaining, and the special effects adequate, but what really distinguishes The Fifth Element from its competition like The Matrix or Aliens is that it doesn’t look like any of them. Luc Besson, the director, paints each scene with a vibrant palette. Leeloo has bright orange hair, Bruce Willis wears an orange vest, his cab is yellow, and the sets often look like they were painted by a five year old. Finally the aliens, robots and ships all have a retro futuristic design that have the appearance of a 1950’s comic book.
Luc Besson also treats us to a compelling soundtrack that veers from classical, to techno, and to world world music. It gives each scene a compelling beat that propels the action, but won’t blow out your sub-woofer like the Matrix or Tron.
Put all this together and you are left with a movie that will brighten your day with each viewing. Not many science fiction films can make the same claim.