Friday, March 12, 2010

More Top Movies: "Big Ba-dah Big Boom"

The Fifth Element, while not a flawless film, is a treat. It is fun to see an alternative to the Hollywood vision of the Space Opera. Many may think this is a French interpretation of a Star Wars universe, but the truth is that both this and Star Wars are cinematic interpretations of visuals found in a long running French comic.

There is no denying the way this film’s visuals are captivating. Instead of the Hollywood trend towards perfection and beauty, it seems the people cast here are chosen for the interesting and odd appearances they have. The colors in the sets and art design are vivid, even as the world presented seems lived in and worn. Everything here is interesting and fun. The film is so full of things to see that it holds up under multiple viewings and offers new discoveries.

The story is busy at times. It is no wonder that at its initial writing Luc Besson was still a teen. Some critics think it falls apart and becomes to cliché at the climax. On the contrary, it builds up to a true message about humanity and the universe, as pat as it may seem to many.

At the center of the story is the idea that mankind is a sinful race, prone to evil and destruction. In this good vs. evil story, good must overcome evil with sacrifice and love. Sure, the kernel of truth gets muddied up with ancient trappings like the four elements of fire, wind, earth, and water. In interviews, Besson tries to cloud the issue even further by claiming his intention was for the fifth element to be sex, however he does not communicate that fact in the film itself. Typical of many Europeans he confuses sex with love.

Surprisingly, this vision is more violent than America would have made it. It is also more cavalier about sex. (Not surprisingly.) However, it is interesting enough and has enough truth in it to award it a recommendation. Check it out!

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