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Movie Review

The Fifth Element

Reviewed by: Tim Emmerich

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Science Fiction
117 min.
Year of Release:

Starring: Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman, Milla Jovovich, Ian Holm, Chris Tucker, Luke Perry, Brion James, Tiny Lister Jr., Lee Evans / Director: Luc Besson / Released by: Columbia Pictures

The only positive for this film was the special effects, which were well done.

The basic storyline to this futuristic sci-fi action flick is that once every 5,000 years, pure evil is able to come to our dimension and the only thing that can stop it is a hero that is pure life, the fifth element after earth, fire, air, and water. Interestingly, while not mentioning that the pure life is “God”, the protectors of the keys to the pure life are some bulky looking aliens (Mondoshawan) who have chosen religious humans to help (a priest named Cornelius, played by Ian Holm). The year is 2259, and it is time for the evil to return!

As the Mondoshawan (you know, the good aliens) are returning to help in the struggle against the evil, the Mangalores (large, dog-looking mercenaries) destroy the Mondoshawan’s spacecraft. From the wreckage, the Fifth Element is regenerated. The Fifth Element takes the form of a red-haired beauty named Leeloo (Milla Jovovich). Leeloo meets up with Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis), an ex-military man presently employed as a New York city cab driver in an unexpected way. Of course, Korben helps Leeloo out by getting her to Father Cornelius. There starts the race against the enemy to find the keys—keys which must be acquired in order to release the power of true life and stop the evil.

This poorly written and poorly directed film may hold an exciting tension (for some), but it really doesn’t deserve an audience, especially Christians. I was shocked that the MPAA chose to give it a “PG-13” rating and felt that it deserved an “R” due to repeated upper torso nudity (Leeloo), two strongly implied sexual encounters, abundant foul language, and graphic violence. Further, most women are very scantily clad.

A final aspect which I found disturbing is a futuristic disc jockey character named Ruby Rhod whose speech, effeminate dress and hairstyle all keep you wondering what his gender is, until he starts “attacking” (sexually) a stewardess.

Viewer Comments
This is in my “Top 5 Best Films.” I’m very surprized at all the bad reviews its receieved. Here’s the kind of film I thought it was and what I think it was written.

The main idea of the story is wrapped around this idea that just as the function of water is to get things wet, and wind is to blow, and fire is to burn, so is the function of humans is to love.

It was the clearest most positive messages I’ve ever gotten out of a Hollywood film. Not only is the message cool (that the ONLY real function we serve is to love) but they presented it in a truely entertaining and freshing way. The analogy is so perfect. And on top of that they wrapped a great story around it. I didn’t remember any nudity (if there was any it wasn’t any less innocent as a naked baby).

I wish Hollywood would continue to bring these movies out that give a totally positive message on top of a neat story—which by-the-way was secondary to the message. This was apparent in the way the whole story was told while slowly climaxing to the last scene when the “secret” of the movie was revealed.

During the whole story you’re either confused about the plot or content because you are being entertained, but it’s not until the last scene that you realize none of that mattered. The whole movie was just building up to a totally incredible and surprizing message. Tell me I’m not the only one who saw that?
—Benny Hauk
I totally enjoyed this film. I think that the review by Pixel Beru got it 100% right. It was art, and fun, and not to be taken seriously. Christian reviewers aren’t the only ones to have missed this point however, one reviewer I heard on National Public Radio said, if it comes out on video—run don’t walk from the store so you won’t accidentally take it home. I think the fact that this film is able to so completely reflect the viewer just proves its artistic merit. If you approach it with a light heart you will find this to be a wonderful movie.
—Larry Rosenmann, age 46
Why anyone would be willing to produce or act in a movie of this low caliber is beyond me. I can praise nothing about this movie, as not even special effects can make up for its flaws. The ONLY part of the movie that I even enjoyed was the opera song (and who knows what she was even singing about!) And Mr. Ediger, would you please care to explain how or why anyone should be able to watch an R-rated movie with a clear conscience? (check out Phil. 4:7, the ultimate movie review test.)
—Amber M., age 17
Now that I’ve read through other people’s comments I’m certain that that the media is actually reprogramming the way we think. Most of the comments were written by peope that had obviously been under the influence of Hollywood too long. Aside from good special effects and a few side-spliting punchlines, this movie was nothing but trash.
—Jason, age 15
Although the 5th element displays some gaping holes in the plot line, I have to disagree with the reviewer. The movie was obviously written in the spirit of fun, and anyone who took offense to it was looking too hard for things to be offended about! The movie, to me, is about the ultimate goodness of the human spirit, the goodness that exists when one is able to love. And one note about the costumes—if you know anything about Gaulthier (the designer) or about fashion at all, you’ll realise that it is ART, intended to glorify the body—such as Michelangelo glorified the body with his paintings and sculptures (yes, a lot of them were NUDE!) Furthermore, the storyline was innocent and charming—the age old story of good vs. evil.
—Pixel Beru, age 21
I have seen the 5th element, and on the whole found it to be an enjoyable film. I recommend it as a fine example of b-grade science fiction. The costume design and overall look of the film was intended to resemble a serial from heavy metal magazine, a publication that Mobius, the film’s production designer contributes to extensively.
—jeff hendren, age 28
I debated whether or not to see this movie and now that I have read these comments I know I will not waste my time or money. I am sorry that no has taught Sarah the truth about Adam and Eve and their fall from Grace, for then she would have a better understanding about what is wrong with nudity… Jason, you are right-on with your assessment. Has anyone ever heard the phrase “garbage in, garbage out”? As Christians, we must guard what we allow ourselves to be exposed to in the name of “entertainment”. The “enemy” delights in the subtle tactic he uses to desensitize our physche hoping that eventually we will decide that everything is permissible.
—Donna Kristiansen, age 47
People! Lighten up! People who were offended by this movie obviously weren’t mature enouph to handle it. Now, maybe I’m a little to young to tell, but I happen to think that it was a perfectly original plot! By the way, this movie wasn’t suppose to be some star wars or something! It was a SPOOF!!! A simple parody on other sci-fi's.

Perhaps the little nudity wasn’t necessary but all it was trying to do was to show that she was so perfect that she didn’t have anything to hide. I’m not Christian but weren’t Adam and Eve originally nude? If God had meant for us to be clothed for any other purpose than to keep warm, wouldn’t we be born with clothes?

How come we are the only species that are afraid of nudity… okay now that I am completely off the subject, the sexual innuendos weren’t meant to offend you guys, they were meant to add to the humor and character of the characters. Perhaps this movie wasn’t for people to young, but if you are old enouph to understand the plot and mature enouph to handle it, than this is a good movie. By the way, I don’t think I have yet to see a movie that doesn’t use God’s name in vain (besides Disney) so… I thought the movie seriously kicked some alien butt.
—Sarah, age 14
I agree with the principal reviewer, the movie was horrible. In addition to all the things he pointed out, it contained several racist and demeaning images of black men. The first I noticed was the characterization of the US president.

Do any of you think that was an accurate portrayal of the status afforded to US presidnets. That one was subtle. the next one is not. Remeber the “bad guy” aliens, it was insuated that they were black. One of them even “transformed” himself from an alien into a black man. I won’t even get into Chris Tucker’s effeminate dee jay character. It' embarrasing to see what some actors will do for money. I was also curious that nobody picked up on the several references to satanism.

Remember the commercials advertising the trip to “Floss Paradise”? Each one contained an image of a red headed person(s) wearing horns. How more blatant can it get? I was fortunate enough to veiw this movie with my “chrisitian eyes” on. It enlightened me to the extent enemy’s infiltration. Looks like he’s acquiring Hollywood.
—kevin jones, age 27
As with most large production movies, there is a significant amount conceptualization. I enjoyed this movie, and was even inspired by it for several reasons. During the course of the movie I emersed myself in the possibility the “leeloo” was actually from heaven, and absolutely perfect (genetic, biology, etc…), just as we will be some day soon in heaven. The movie made me realize that involving ourselves in trivial matters here on Earth takes our priorities away from achieving the ultimate goal—eternal, perfect life. I believe this movie deserves a better review.
—Marty Kovacs, age 27
George Lucas once said that special effects alone don’t make a movie, yet Hollywood doesn’t care, and audiences have mindlessly exchanged their expectations of good writing for their desire of big explosions and scantily clad babes. “The Fifth” element gratiuitously provides both, perhaps in the hope that it would carry an otherwise pointless and unoriginal film. 75 words is just not enough to scathe any movie that was forced down my throat like this one, which is more words than it deserves, anyway.
—Gary Speer, age 21
You really need to take your entertainment a little less seriously if you found the fifth element to be that offensive. Granted, there was nudity but those scenes were not sexually explicit, more like naivete. So the movie lacked a plot, and it lacks any real moral or religious direction. It is still quite entertaining and just plain fun to watch. So just turn off your brain for 2 hr 20 min and enjoy the visual relaxation.
—Joe Lin, age 22
So many people don’t believe in the impact that violence and non-Christian messages have on our lives. Have those of you who wrote in responses that were against the reviewer become so accustomed to this kind of violence and immorality that it’s alright to watch it? Maybe it’s time to take a long sober look at what enters our minds through our ears and eyes and try to imagine the effect of these wordly issues on our relationship with God. I guess you have to re-think your priorities and see if there might need to be a change.
—Jason Hand, age 29
This movie was truly awesome. The special effects were spectacular and the music fit so seamlessly.Even though their were “un-Christian” scenes, we should all have the discernment to figure this stuff out that it’s wrong and to just not practice or think about the immoral things. Besides, just living life is worse than watching a movie like this… TV and music can be worse than this at times with suggestive music videos and the such. I suggest you see the movie if you are over 15. Come on, junior highers are being exposed to much worse on the school bus nowadays… stop worrying about the movies and worry about your child going to school.
—Ian, age 15
I agree totally with the reviewer. This movie should have been given an R rating. I took my teenage boys and was disgusted with the nudity and sexual themes throughout the movie. We have decided as a family to never attend a movie again without first using this page for a Christian review as the secular reviewers never hold the same standards as we do. Thanks for the opportunity to read good reviews that spell out what a movie actually contains.
—Barbara Davidson, age 43
I liked it… it was fun, funny and endearing… kind of like Leeloo, the Supreme Being. Luc Besson wrote it age 14, and while that may show through occassionally, the fact is that it’s not trying to make any huge theological comment, it’s just a lot of fun! And why on Earth would this require an R rating?
—Sam, age 20
What a miserably bad movie. Stealing the plot from the old animated cult-flick “Heavy Metal,” director Luc Besson, who wants to be Ridley Scott but succeeds in only being shallow, produces a witless, self-indulgent, annoying, unimaginative, and ultimately boring waste of time and money. Save your cash, rent “Blade Runner” and stay home!
—Douglas A. Sirman, age 32
It’s WORSE than the review. Its “religion” has elements of the occult. Earth, Air, Fire and Water, are the four elements. The fifth is man’s soul, in this film drug through the mud with lust between the male lead and the “supreme being” Leeloo. Also, I noticed at the beginning of the film Templar crosses displayed promenently in the male lead’s apartment. One more “Lets evolve to God” plot. Yuck. I kissed 5 bucks Goodbye!
—Randy Seamans, age 37
Oh, come on. Surely somebody managed to pick up on the theological comparisions? How about “humanity powerless in the face of encroaching evil, with only a perfectly created human being/perfect being sufficient, at the cost of shed blood, to undo the power of evil with a “fifth element,” which turns out to be love? As for the nudity, you need sharper eyes than I have to discern much of that. An entertainment, visually spectacular, not for the kiddies, and the editor needed a firmer hand to unload the unbelievably annoying disc jockey character.
—Douglas Rollwage, age 35
I was disappointed with this film. It was fast-paced with some great special effects and makeup, but the plot was sadly lacking (been there—done that story line) and contained some completely unnecessary scenes (to include the gratuitous nudity and sex). Too bad Hollywood hasn’t come up with a good sci-fi story that appeals to more than the need to have a sensory overload and be mindlessly entertained for 2 hours by another “star vehicle.”
—Lydia Deamer, age 44
I thought the 5th Element was a pleasant diversion. As others have said, it wasn’t Star Wars, but I didn’t expect it to be. Your reviewer should quit talking life so seriously and develop a sense of humor. It would also help if you people didn’t require that all entertainment fare be palatable to the mind of a nine year old.
—Steve Swonder, age 44
I thought that The Fifth Element was a GREAT movie. “Star Wars” it wasn't, but the plot was very compelling and original. Fans of Willis' “12 Monkeys” will enjoy this one as well. There were a few things that could have been left out and I would not take children to it. Although I would agree that it probably should have an “R” rating, if your conscience is clean about seeing such movies than I would recommend it.
—Chris Ediger, age 24
I completely agree with Tim, this movie was not very well written. This movie shows men wearing women’s clothing, taking The Lord’s name in vain, and almost worshiping a regenerated woman whom they call the supreme being. I feel no Christian would enjoy it and it most certainly deserved an “R” rating. I’m sorry I wasted my money on it and would encourage others not to waste theirs.
—Carolyn Faulkner, age 32
I agree with Tim Emmerich completely. If I had known about this web site before, I wouldn’t have wasted my money. Clearly R rated, inconsistent plot, unnecessary nudity, etc.
—John Bradley, age 49
When I heard that there was some nudity, I decided not to see this. I’m not saying I haven’t compromised my morals before (I’m not perfect), but don’t you hate it when critics give accolades like “This generation’s ‘Star Wars’!” to unimaginative fluff like “ID4”???? Well, now a critic has had the nerve to say “The Fifth Element” is a “”Star Wars” for the 90s!.” If this was really true, in fourteen years (let ALONE 17 or 20 like “Return of the Jedi”’s predacessors) we will all be raving about “The Fifth Element:Special Edition” and how these characters Mila and Bruce portrayed have molded a place in the fabric of science fiction like Han, Boba, Leia, Luke and R2. Not going to happen.
—Michael C., age 15
This movie was actually fun and funny. Question: if Leloo was supposed to be “the Supreme Being” then why was she vulnerable and shedding blood? Next time someone makes a sci-fi movie, I hope they give Jehovah His props. Good effects. I disagree that this movie deserves an R rating, though.
—Chris Utley, age 24