The Fifth Element (1997)

Big and loud but with enough visual creativity and mish-mash of influences to make it feel distinct from most science-fiction blockbuster fare, The Fifth Element is a fun, well-paced romp through director Luc Besson’s distinctive imagination.

The construction of the plot is interesting in some places, like the well-observed lack or proximity between the protagonist and antagonist, but is ultimately derivative enough to feel mostly like noise. Not derivative in a “this feels like Star Wars” way though, instead in a much more preferable “this feels like Star Wars in that its pulling from so many things to feel interesting on its own terms”. Not that the feel is claiming to not be derivative or anything anyway, as it explicitly namedrops battles between “good and evil” within its first five minutes. Maybe it’s the other way around though, the story is plenty derivative but there really are some neat things with the sequence of the actual plot. In any case, the cast is full of great actors, but its the visual design and worldbuilding that is the real pull here.

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A fun time, with enough visual creativity to stand out amongst so many peers. I give it three elements, and a hungry cat.

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