Notes from “The Fifth Element”

One of the first movies I ever saw as a child must have been the Fifth Element. I say it like that, cause I’m not sure myself, my childhood memories are few and in between, and as a result, I get glimpses and images of what I was like during my formative years, at least the first seven years. The Fifth Element is one of those movies we all see as children, and sometimes we immediately get it, and sometimes we don’t. I know plenty of people that never saw it as children and it blows me away to this day.

I know that there’s probably no reason to recap this movie, so I won’t be doing that. The plot is pretty straightforward, with a Great Evil showing up, and the humans using a weapon to defeat said Evil. Prophecies and mysteries aside, there’s not much mystery and intrigue to it at all, it’s a standard action film that suffers from a few flaws. Bruce Willis plays a cabbie in a futuristic New York city by the name or Korben Dallas. Milla Jovovich is Leeloo, the Supreme Being, a perfect woman. She is referred to by many characters in the film as the Fifth Element.

A few thoughts…

  • Aziz, light!
  • The opening scene with the aliens and the ancient temple in Egypt really blew me away as a teen and learning that the movie was written by Luc Besson when he was in high school pushed me towards writing in the first place
  • The music, one of the best soundtracks I’ve ever heard
  • The city of New York in the future is burned into my mind forever, and I’ve yet to see a more bold depiction of the future
  • Rebuilding Leeloo was poetry in motion…
  • What was the Great Evil and why?
  • Jean Bauptiste-Emanuelle Zorg…
  • The ZF-1…
  •  Chris Tucker as Ruby Rhod is still Chris Tucker’s best performance ever and I think he knows it
  • The divine language was an actual language that Milla and Luc developed and spoke on the set, it had about 500 words and was fully formed, to a certain extent.
  • Fhloston Paradise sounds awesome, and I totally want to go to there…
  • The Diva…
  • Love was the Fifth Element and I didn’t realize that until a few months back

While I have thoroughly enjoyed this movie the majority of my life, there has always been questions, and for the most part, I’ve simply ignored them and taking the movie at face value for what it is, cause after all, it’s just a movie. Recently, I was reading a list of incompetent bad guys and Zorg’s name was on the list for reasons that were very hard to disparage. It was that list and subsequent arguments that followed that got me thinking about the Fifth Element all over again.

While I know that I mostly write about anime, sometimes it’s nice to stray a little from the established norm and talk about something else, and movies are a universal topic that we all like to discuss from time to time, so while I won’t be posting a lot of movie posts, you will see some from time to time.

The first question we debated for a good while was a simple one, and it’s one we never really seem to think about, but it’s actually kinda important,

Just what exactly was Zorg’s plan and how was he going to get paid?

For the majority of the film, we see Zorg’s intentions are to acquire the stones so he can deliver them to Mr.Shadow. We see his only interaction with Mr.Shadow through a phone call, and the results that followed (was that blood, was it sweat, what the heck was it?). As far as the story is concerned, Zorg is a businessman and he does the majority of his business at the expense of others. We can clearly see that after his long soliloquy about death and destruction and how it benefits mankind. Another thing, when he is talking with Mr.Shadow on the phone, he talks about how his costs have tripled.

Clearly, he’s doing it for the money.

Did he think he was helping a tyrant or a terrorist or just another shady businessman like himself?

One can make the argument that Zorg had no idea who he was really interacting with, only that he was a person of high influence and great wealth, but I’ve never really bought that argument and here’s why.

Why the nerves? Why the tension?

Zorg isn’t a man who’s intimidated easily, and we see that very clearly.

The mangalores.

The scene where we see Zorg interact with the mangalores and deliver the ZF-1 comes to play, cause we can see just what kind of man he really is. He can really sell a pitch when he wants to, he can be persuasive, he’s just a force to be reckoned with, and he doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty. He’s in a room full of mangalores, who are quick tempered and not restricted to any moral code, though they do have honor.

Despite this, he becomes incensed when he finds out that the mangalores have failed to retrieve the stones. He immediately cancels the order and prepares to take his crates of guns back. The mangalores threaten him, but he does not bend, and is only convinced to leave them one crate when they persuade him to change his mind. It’s a small scene, and while the focus is on the ZF-1, I think it was meant to say a lot about who Zorg was. Zorg is supposed to be a badass, a legitimate bad guy who’s good with his mind, not with his fist. It’s inconceivable to me to think that Zorg could be intimidated by a man, when he didn’t even blink in the face of the managalores who were scary, so, if it wasn’t intimadation, what was it.

I’ve heard some people say that maybe he was being controlled by the Great Evil, and didn’t really know what was going on.

I don’t think that was the case, and I’ve already stated why, but I do feel the need to include that possibility as it is widely believed.

Has Leeloo always been the Fifth Element?

I would always ask myself this cause it doesn’t make any sense. If the “Supreme Being” was created, why just make one? Especially when you need her to fall in love?

We see when the Mondoshawans’ ship crashes, that a portion of her is recovered. A portion of her, and it’s not even her head, it’s a part of her hand. However, that is enough to recreate her, and her memories seem to be embedded in her genes, and not her brain. Still, she was recreated, and so, if at that point, humans could do that, what’s to stop her creators, who must have been technologically advanced, to make more? I don’t know if this has been touched anywhere when discussing the lore, but I think it’s important because it’s directly connected to my next question,

What happens to the Supreme Being after she has fulfilled her purpose?

We know that Love is the true fifth element in life. It wasn’t Leeloo, and we know that for a fact. She was there, with the stones in place, and the weapon wasn’t activated until she had a reason to.

Love was the reason.

With the Great Evil destroyed, and jubilations from everyone, we see our heroes “resting”.

End of film, and while OK, that’s an ending, it’s not an ending to the story, as the question that I immediately asked, and I did so out loud was, what happens next?

Does she stay with Korben, or does she go back into stasis? Who makes that decision? The priest? At the end of the day, it’s not important, because the story for us ends right here, but it’s important in that world, cause if she doesn’t go back into stasis, does that mean they’ll need a new Supreme Being for the next time? Who knows?

That’s the fun of watching movies, we can speculate, we can take scenarios, settings, themes, we can explore and extrapolate all we want, and the Fifth Element is one of those movies for me.

So, what do you guys think? Let me know in the comments or send me a message.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s