The Fifth Element is a big, noisy, goofy piece of cotton candy, and I mean that as compliment. This is not a film that tries to be anything more than what it is and it’s a lot of fun. Director Luc Besson has put his own adolescent daydreams up on the screen and surrounded them with a dense, richly imagined universe.
Summarizing the plot of a film like this is kind of silly, in only because the plot itself is, well, very silly. In short, a big, bad, black thing is headed for Earth and will destroy the planet unless the “Fifth Element,” the supreme being, can be reunited with stones representing the other four elements (Fire, air, water and earth). The fifth element takes the appealing form of Leeloo (Milla Jovovich), wearing just enough to keep the film’s PG-13 rating intact.
To protect Leeloo and retrieve the stones, the government taps Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis), a luckless soldier turned cab driver who happened to cross Leeloo’s path. Dallas has to escort Leeloo to an interstellar cruise ship and collect the stones from a blue-skinned alien diva, all the while eluding the Mangalore agents of arms dealer Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg (Gary Oldman).
See? I told you it was silly. Fortunately, everyone involved was on the same silly page and the whole thing manages to hold together. While Bruce Willis is hardly challenged by this role, he plays it with a world-weary “why me” demeanor that suits the character perfectly. Milla Jovovich, in addition to looking gorgeous, brings an otherworldly childlike innocence to the role, all the while speaking many of her lines in an incomprehensible alien language without sounding mush-mouthed. It doesn’t hurt that her childlike innocence includes a complete lack of modesty in some scenes. Did I mention that the story was originally dreamed up by a teenage boy? Obviously, in such a story, you can’t have a beautiful heroine who doesn’t take her clothes off once in a while.
You will need to check your brain at the door (and occasionally grit your teeth when Chris Tucker is on screen) but The Fifth Element is the perfect movie for the thirteen-year-old boy in all of us.