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Blu-Ray: The 5th Element

Stuff sneaks up on you. Like, while watching THE FIFTH ELEMENT blu-ray I realised that I’ve quietly stopped revisiting the movies that I love. When I was a kid I’d watch the same movie over and over again. It was like I was trying to perform some strange repetition experiment. Honestly, if you made prisoners watch Ghostbusters the same number of times I willingly sat down and watched that movie from beginning to end even Dick Cheney would cry “cruel and unusual punishment.”

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen The Fifth Element and it actually feels pretty weird to be writing about a movie that I’ve been a huge fan of for so long. Normally I try to keep the posts I make here on elroyonline to new stuff – or at least, stuff I’ve just discovered – that I want to share. However the only new thing about re-watching The Fifth Element was that it was the first time I’d seen it on blu-ray.

Sure, it’d been a while since I last watched this film, but not so long that I expected to be taken by surprise by any of it. At first I simply ogled at how beautiful this film looks, still. Yes, the transfer looks amazing, but the film itself still stands out for its crazy look and extremely solid direction by its writer, Luc Besson. The dialogue is still fast and witty, and just as sharp as the film looks in this format. And I don’t mean “for a film made in 1997” – this film kicks the
butts of the vast majority of movies that have been released in recent years.

Any synopses, for those who haven’t actually seen this film, will read like a pretty bog stock, scifi, action, espionage, thriller. What’s missing from the text of any synopses that I’ve read, or could write myself, is the way this film is half a step outside of reality. It’s not cartoony, but it’s not gritty and in-your-face real either. The characters are quirky and odd, but not so far removed from ourselves that we can’t identify with and care about them. In fact that’s exactly what happens, we engage with these characters and even find the nasty Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg [Gary Oldman] strangely likeable. In the hands of a less capable writer / director, Zorg would have been a moustache twirling villain, who spent the movie tying damsels to railroad tracks… erm… in space. But Besson does a perfect balancing act, shifting only so far into the bizarre to tinge his universe with a bright, surreal, hue that, if Tim Burton ever figured out what he was so emo about, he’d be jealous of.

While I wouldn’t contend that I’d watched The Fifth Element as many times as I’ve seen Ghostbusters or some of the other movies that I watched too many times to count, it certainly was a film that I’d seen more times than really necessary. Revisiting it again now though, in this new format, wasn’t at all a nostalgic exercise. It did remind me of what a fantastic movie it is, and why I’d enjoyed watching over the past fourteen years or so, but mostly I just enjoyed it. Thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed it. [source]

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1 Comment

    I think I might pick this up, the DVD version I have of Fifth Element is in German or French or some European language.

    Just the text, mind you – not the dialogue. But anything on screen, from opening credits to closing, including the title of the film itself, is in another language. Kinda pissed me off.