Get your Multipass ready, “The Fifth Element” is returning to select theatres for its 25th anniversary on June 26 and 29th. Fathom Events and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will be screening the movie along with an exclusive interview with director Luc Besson, plus some outtakes.
This sci-fi masterpiece is a favorite among Paradox staff. It has some of the best performances from Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, and Gary Oldman. The movie has excellent worldbuilding, an unparalleled costume design, and memorable small performances from Chris Tucker and Maïwenn Le Besco. It also remains one of Besson’s best movies to this day.
The 25th anniversary comes as a great reminder to casual moviegoers. In late March, Willis’ family announced that the actor was retiring from acting. The decision was primarily due to being diagnosed with aphasia, a cognitive disorder that impairs communication. In recent years, it was known that Willis had either been difficult to work with or shown little interest in his roles. The news has certainly provided some explanation as to why that could’ve been. It also led to many having some sympathy for the respected actor that plays the taxicab driver Korben Dallas.
It is also a memento of Luc Besson’s best work. Luc Besson is a French director that frequently directs French movies but his American track record is split down the middle. While he has directed some hits like “Léon: The Professional” and “Taken,” he has also been disappointed lately with “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” and “Lucy.” A possible reason why this particular “flash in the pan” was such a success is that it is Besson’s life work: he first developed the script when he was sixteen and made the movie at thirty-eight. He hired comic artists for production design and allowed the cast to really shine in their roles.
The Fifth Element might very well be Jovovich’s best work. It might be easy to forget that given she mainly stars in films directed by her husband and director Paul W.S. Anderson.
As the ecstatically bizarre and charming Leeloo, the 19-year-old Jovovich was cast over 200-300 people. Jovovich, who describes the process in a retrospective Vogue video, developed an alien language with Luc Besson consisting of 400 words.
It would be remiss to mention The Fifth Element without mentioning the unique wardrobe of the film. From Leeloo’s iconic bandage and rubber suspender outfits to Rubi Rhod’s iconic hairstyle, you can thank revered French designer Jean Paul Gaultier. He designed every piece in the film, even minuscule but legendary designs–from the McDonald’s workers and flight attendants. The high-fashion pieces look post-modern enough to accompany the flying taxis but pop out amongst the dreary uniform architecture of future buildings. It was an essential component of creating the signature 23rd-century look.
While this movie came out in 1997, much of it still holds up today. It was a product of its time and yet, resonates with audiences of every generation. The perfect combination of stellar performances, a unique setting, and style makes for a movie worth celebrating 25 years later.