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Luc Besson's "The Fifth Element"
April 25, 2012 5:39 AM   Subscribe

Beanplating on The Fifth Element from architecture students at the University of Waterloo.

The production design was by French comics creators Jean Giraud (Moebius) and Jean-Claude Mézières.

The costumes were by Jean-Paul Gaultier. (screen test)

The soundtrack was by Eric Serra.

The Divine Language was by Luc Besson and Milla Jovovich.
posted by Trurl (198 comments total) 70 users marked this as a favorite

 
Kind of a weird article. Reads like like a 5th grade book report, and it doesn't quite explain how hundreds of people avoid fiery death daily. Multi-pass!
posted by Brocktoon at 5:57 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love this film, it's the perfect pop song equivalent of a movie. Though not particularly deep, it's gorgeous in direction, set design and costumes and hits all the right notes for light fluff.

The soundtrack is great also, especially the last track, "AKnot! Wot?" which mixes dialogue from the movie with the music.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:07 AM on April 25, 2012 [11 favorites]


I've never really figured out why I like that movie so much. I can't justify it as good in any real sense. The plot manages to somehow be both somewhat nonsensical and cliched at the same time. But it's just loaded with fantastic cinematography, and probably has more pure style than any other movie I've ever seen. As bizarre as those costumes were, they worked. I, at least, could totally believe that vapid socialites and flight attendants might dress that way in the far future. And there's just a ton of visual humor all throughout, often just referenced in passing.

The story could probably have used another pass (or two, or three) through the typewriter, but for pure exuberant spectacle, it's a hard movie to beat.
posted by Malor at 6:12 AM on April 25, 2012 [24 favorites]


Love this film so damn much. Chris Tucker's Ruby Rhod is everything wrong and right about the future.
posted by hanoixan at 6:14 AM on April 25, 2012 [22 favorites]


green? super green


It's easy to underestimate Bruce Willis, but he really carries this along. Also, regardless of the visual suspension of disbelief, almost all of the characters are motivated in a way that's legible. Also, the Diva. Idk of any other action movie that takes 2-3 minutes to do something like that.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 6:21 AM on April 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


Every time there's a new video technology - DVD, widescreen HD flatscreens, blu-ray - this movie ends up as the demo piece for showing off what the new technology can do. And the movie really has held up surprisingly well, especially for a film that, as Malor says, really just isn't any damn good when you stop to think about it.

I can't explain my love for it any more coherently than, apparently, can a bunch of Canadian undergrads.
posted by Naberius at 6:23 AM on April 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Geez, it's OK to admit that you think the movie is good. It's not on some Metafilter blacklist.
posted by Brocktoon at 6:25 AM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh. My. God. Ohmygod.
posted by melt away at 6:25 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I can't explain my love for it any more coherently than, apparently, can a bunch of Canadian undergrads.

I can.
posted by Fizz at 6:29 AM on April 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


This film was one of the first films with effects rendered by Digital Domain on Linux systems.

So maybe I'm biased but it's still pretty awesome.
posted by atbash at 6:31 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I love every last thing about this movie from the random supermodel extras to President Deebo to Gary Oldman's inexplicable hairdo to MULTIPASS.

oh god must watch again immediately.
posted by elizardbits at 6:40 AM on April 25, 2012 [18 favorites]


I just had to look up what on Earth "Beanplating" means - answer: Overthinking.

Well I don't think those students are overthinking it, I think it's all quite valid. I mean you can see the amount of effort and energy put into this film as well as the architectural spaces, from the costumes, the world, the strange realization of such a dysphoric world-scape, to the very fantastic tiny level of detail, to the script, to the direction of Bruce Willis that shows him to be a genuine guy that is, at times, reduced to mocking his own existence in such a farfetched reality that the film is based in.

I am going to have fun buying this film again and watch it again now.

I think that the fifth element is an absolutely fantastic film and I thoroughly enjoyed your links Trurl, thanks :)
posted by Cogentesque at 6:47 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


After all these years, I remember very little about this film except a sense of lavish design and joking with a friend, "Air! Earth! Fire! Water! Supermodel!"
posted by aught at 6:49 AM on April 25, 2012 [10 favorites]


It's easy to underestimate Bruce Willis, but he really carries this along.

He's committed to some great projects - in whose number I include this one - that less courageous stars would have rejected. 12 Monkeys and Pulp Fiction come to mind.
posted by Trurl at 6:51 AM on April 25, 2012 [9 favorites]


Geez, it's OK to admit that you think the movie is good. It's not on some Metafilter blacklist.

I think it's a sign of the ubiquity of thread-snotters that people now often feel the need to reflexively apologize for the fact of liking anything that they in fact like.
posted by aught at 6:51 AM on April 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


mOOLtipass.
posted by sonascope at 6:52 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Still my favorite joke in this movie is that the cigarettes Bruce Willis smokes are like 80% filter.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:55 AM on April 25, 2012 [24 favorites]


"Are you German?"

This movie has many parts that are very funny.
posted by dglynn at 6:56 AM on April 25, 2012


The first DVD I ever owned (and watched on an Amiga 1080 monitor hooked up to the DVD player). To continue the tradition I made it my first Blu-Ray purchase, and used it to show off 1080p to a friend.
posted by mrbill at 6:57 AM on April 25, 2012


Pros: I absolutely love this movie.
Cons: This movie is proof positive that a shit story with acting that very rarely elevates above "meh" can be polished with enough scantily clad supermodel extras and halfway decent special effects to achieve the unthinkable capitalistic goal of: marketable.

As an aside, I've always thought that movie did well because they spent so much time on the non-essential details to explain other slightly-less-non-essential details. Like, that whole scene with the rasta guys refueling the ship. Not only did they build a complete set for that scene, including the nifty touches like using a flamethrower to clean the landing gear and the glowing nuclear "fuel", but it completely explained why the co-pilot seemed a bit miffed about still having parasites in the landing gear after they landed, which in turn explained how Cornee-lee-us got on the plane.

It's like you could do a prequel or origins story from literally, every single character in that movie and still have an interesting story.
posted by Blue_Villain at 7:00 AM on April 25, 2012 [31 favorites]


I've never really figured out why I like that movie so much.

You kinda answered your own question here, it's got good action set pieces, a light humorous fitting the OMG FUTURE setting, and is really visually distinct . It's a standard Hollywood action plot filtered through a French SF comics aesthetic. I also think part of the appeal is that it reads like something a reasonably smart 12 year old would have come up with and I mean that as a compliment. It's just so damned giddy.

Nostalgia Chick on the 5th Element. I think she's right, it's the weirdest conventional movie ever made.
posted by The Whelk at 7:06 AM on April 25, 2012 [7 favorites]


Also,

Mulll-Ti-Pass
posted by The Whelk at 7:06 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love this movie more than I love meat Popsicles.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 7:06 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


To this day, when I'm out with certain friends and we're splitting a pizza or a bar tab or whatever, one of us will say "Gimme the casssshhh!" Love this movie so much.

Awesome thread, Trurl, but why oh why isn't it titled "Aziz, light!"
posted by xedrik at 7:07 AM on April 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


SHE KNOWS ITS A MULTIPASS!
posted by Chekhovian at 7:09 AM on April 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


This movie is like pho. It is made up of mundane components but the combination is liminal.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:15 AM on April 25, 2012 [18 favorites]


Some of these are painful. Fifth element ends up looking like a comic book story. Yes, Nancy, that's rather the point.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:16 AM on April 25, 2012


A (fifth?) element of the film someone pointed out to me awhile back that really contributes to the subtle off-kilter-ness of it all: the hero (Corbin Dallas mooltipass) and the villain (Jean. Baptiste. Emanuel. Zorg.) are both sharp, memorable characters with tons of screen time each, trying to save and destroy the world respectively... but they never actually meet. Closest they come is Zorg firing Dallas via impersonal transparency letter.
posted by Rhaomi at 7:18 AM on April 25, 2012 [29 favorites]


There are so many parts to this movie that don't seem to make sense, but there are bizarre enough possibilities suggested by the movie that those flaws can be brushed over e.g. Korben's boss is "Finger", the man that sat next to him for X missions and knows how he drives.

Then later, the general says that Korben is the only member of his unit alive...but then who is Finger? I like to imagine that Finger was brought back from a single Finger like Leeloo, and for some other reason is not quite the same anymore, and not capable of going on the mission. Or something.

The movie is like a good horror movie, it doesn't spell everything out explicitly, but leaves a lot of dots to be connected.
posted by Chekhovian at 7:19 AM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


It always comes on, I always think "ooh!" and I turn it on and ask myself why I bothered. It really is the McDonalds of movies. Tastes great at the time, then you wonder why you ate that mess. Then you see the commercial and it's all buns and special sauce and lettuce and cheese and it just looks so tasty.
posted by cashman at 7:22 AM on April 25, 2012


*Korben
posted by Rhaomi at 7:24 AM on April 25, 2012


Chris Tucker is actually the thing I like least about the film. I want, so badly, to like Fifth Element, but it just keeps doing things that make me shy away a little more. The hectoring Jewish/New Yorker mother, Chris Tucker's existance (no, seriously, name one good movie he actually contributed to making good), and the blatant 'love is the fifth element' thing, which... I don't know. Is it trying to be ironic and failing? Is it so blatantly sincere that they just don't know how horrible a cliche they're making the centerpiece of the film?

Still, there's things I do like, particularly the exchange between the president and the admiral:

(name) I have a thought.

I do not, sir. (pushes button, fires rockets speeding our doom)
posted by Ghidorah at 7:28 AM on April 25, 2012


The Fifth Element is my favorite movie of all time. I'm not joking, although I can see why one might take that as a joke. I like it for the reasons which are not so eloquently articulated in the OP link (but their heart is in the right place) - mostly that it has a singular view of the future and every aspect of the technology, fashion, culture, slang, and architecture meshes together perfectly.

Also, as an aside, a class where you get to watch The Fifth Element, Blade Runner, and Metropolis and compare their urban environments sounds absolutely awesome.
posted by codacorolla at 7:28 AM on April 25, 2012 [9 favorites]


Man, you folks have already gotten to all my favorites! Multipass, she knows it's a multipass, Aziz LIght, are you Germans, meat popsicle, gimme the cash. I guess I'll go with, "it's a, it's a, it's a, it's a."

I think it's a terrific movie and I think the Pho comparison is pretty good, but I'd say it's more like that alarming seafood soup that has all the same mundane ingredients as pho, but also hot dogs of the sea, and those pink fish balls and stuff. Because for every standard plot device there is some crazy, crazy stuff. Mostly, but not exclusively, in terms of the production design. The cigarettes, Ruby's paintcan for a line of autographs, the mixture of supermodels and people with weird skin conditions, and supermodels with weird skin conditions.

And some great actors in fun roles! Gary Oldman is hilarious, and so weird, and it is so good that Luc let (made?) him be so weird. And Ian Holme is gravely awesome, as always, and I agree that Bruce Willis is underrated here, and his 'game'ness really makes the movie work.


Also: my third ever Ask Metafilter question, in 2006, was about the Fifth Element. And in retrospect this is another of the strange choices that just makes the movie works so well
posted by dirtdirt at 7:29 AM on April 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


I love this movie so much.

CHIK-AN... GOOD!
posted by kbanas at 7:29 AM on April 25, 2012


Someone mentioned above about how this seems like something a 12-year old would write if given a chance and a budget. When I was 12 my family went on a summer vacation to visit some friends in Houston. It was unfortunately one of those vacations where I did not have any company. My sister still not old enough to be anything more than a toy that I can annoy. So for most of the trip it was just me and my cd player. The second night in Houston, everyone decided to go see a movie. I don't know what my parents saw, but it was something adult and boring. Probably some kind of political thriller or historical drama. I asked my folks if I could watch something else. They said as long as it started and ended roughly around the same time as their film that it would be acceptable. I had not seen any trailers, I had not even heard of the film. But I saw this poster. I felt awkward sitting in a busy theatre all by myself but that was one of the best movie experiences I've ever had. It's made for a 12-year old. The bright lights, the explosions, the one-liners, the sexy super-model SF chick, the end of the world. If any movie deserves to be viewed alone at age 12, it was that one.
posted by Fizz at 7:29 AM on April 25, 2012 [13 favorites]


Still my favorite joke in this movie is that the cigarettes Bruce Willis smokes are like 80% filter.

That's a great example, but it's one among many - I love that almost every scene in this movie has some subtle gag like this in the background, stuff that's treated like absolutely mundane day to day life to the characters walking through it that's pitch-perfect futurism and surprisingly hilarious to present-day me.
posted by mhoye at 7:30 AM on April 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


I just got a Zorg haircut a week ago.
posted by kaibutsu at 7:30 AM on April 25, 2012 [7 favorites]


It's a standard Hollywood action plot filtered through a French SF comics aesthetic.

It's basically a Heavy Metal comic brought to life, which is why the movie rules.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:31 AM on April 25, 2012 [12 favorites]


Yeah it's not surprising considering who worked on it but yeah, Heavy Metal brought to life.

My favorite detail are the airports full of trash.
posted by The Whelk at 7:33 AM on April 25, 2012 [7 favorites]


People Hi!
posted by dabug at 7:33 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is it so blatantly sincere that they just don't know how horrible a cliche they're making the centerpiece of the film?

It's a joke - not an "ironic" joke, but an actual, honest to god making-fun-of-corny-sci-fi-tropes joke. The whole movie is a brilliant execution of an average sci-fi movie with bunch of quiet, good-hearted jabs at the average-sci-fi-movie genre.

You know what, on reflection, that's what it is: this is a movie that is clichéd enough that it shoud should By God have a laugh track, and the set design silently serves that role in every scene.
posted by mhoye at 7:36 AM on April 25, 2012 [17 favorites]


It's like you could do a prequel or origins story from literally, every single character in that movie and still have an interesting story.

You could do that with just some of the sciences, architecture or costumes. Think of the police tactics and costumes in the shitty apartment building Dallas lives in. There's an entire background of why those costumes look they way they do, the security measures built into the building and the "by the numbers" tired feel that the police and occupants go through. And that's just one scene!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:38 AM on April 25, 2012 [8 favorites]


The laugh-track is the goofy music that pops up from time to time so things don't get too serious cause the movie always chooses "fun!" over "grim action"
posted by The Whelk at 7:39 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Chris Tucker is actually the thing I like least about the film. (no, seriously, name one good movie he actually contributed to making good)

Not a fan of Friday, I take it?
posted by Edogy at 7:39 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


My family took me to see this movie when I was about 14. I knew nothing about it beforehand, and I still remember it as one of the best times I had at the movies. Recently I was thrilled to be able to show it to my little sister. I don't even know why I love it so much, but I do. I think it's the general giddiness, and the lack of the bullshit gravitas that makes bad science fiction movies annoying.
Also, Milla Jovovich! I'm amazed she hasn't been mentioned yet. Well, except as "supermodel". Milla Jovovich is great in this movie. Leeloo Dallas Multipass!
posted by Nibbly Fang at 7:42 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


the character Leelo ( Milla Jovowich)
2. Federica Martella : Fhlotsan Paradise
dj Loc Rhod
In the movie “the Fifth Elementh”


Sigh. At least I didn't have to grade them.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:42 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think it's a sign of the ubiquity of thread-snotters that people now often feel the need to reflexively apologize for the fact of liking anything that they in fact like.

This film really seems to be a love-hate thing. I suspect that the people who hated it wanted science fiction, and got a comedic action movie with aliens and romance and flying cars.
posted by Foosnark at 7:44 AM on April 25, 2012


(no, seriously, name one good movie he actually contributed to making good)

1. The Fifth Element
posted by shakespeherian at 7:44 AM on April 25, 2012 [41 favorites]


but then who is Finger? I like to imagine that Finger was brought back from a single Finger like Leeloo, and for some other reason is not quite the same anymore, and not capable of going on the mission.

Now it all fits.
posted by tilde at 7:45 AM on April 25, 2012


That GAF Viewmaster makeup machine? Digital nail coloring? Just throwaways. In many ways the depth of the production details are one part of what makes this movie so watchable.

It's a deeply goofy movie, but lots of people did a lot of smart work in it.
posted by dglynn at 7:45 AM on April 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


My favorite detail are the airports full of trash.

Just like in real life.
posted by Fizz at 7:48 AM on April 25, 2012


Speaking of Luc Besson SciFi movies, Lockout is SUPRISINGLY enjoyable. You think its going to just be Escape from New York in space, but instead its Guy Pearce playing Sterling Archer, in space.

And literally everything he says is a one-liner. Its sublime.
posted by Chekhovian at 7:50 AM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


And the golden arches from McDonalds as a bustier/uniform? That's cleverly debased.
posted by dglynn at 7:50 AM on April 25, 2012


Fifth Element is an fantastic film. It's in my permanent top 10. I love watching people pick it apart, to see what they did or didn't get out of it.

Sometimes they notice something brand new that makes it shine more brightly to me. And sometimes they so deeply don't get where it's coming from that I am once again amazed at the subjectiveness of perspective.

I love the whole thing - the imaginative casting, the intense focus on well-designed look & feel, the minute details briefly scanned, the PoMo/retro-throwback dialogue, and the nitro-burning funny car race pacing...oh, man, I need to see it again and soon!

It's Chris Tucker's best movie.
posted by batmonkey at 7:51 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]



That GAF Viewmaster makeup machine?

You've got it set on "whore"
posted by The Whelk at 7:54 AM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


I also think part of the appeal is that it reads like something a reasonably smart 12 year old would have come up with and I mean that as a compliment.

Not much of a surprise, since I think read somewhere that Besson wrote the original script when he was in high school.
posted by daniel_charms at 7:56 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, the IMDB trivia page for The Fifth Element is a fascinating read: The flying traffic created by the visual effects team at Digital Domain allowed artists to create personalized license plates. Though never visible in the film, the state slogan printed on all license plates reads, "New York, The Fuck-You State."
posted by daniel_charms at 7:58 AM on April 25, 2012 [29 favorites]


That GAF Viewmaster makeup machine? - I haven't seen this movie in the last 48 hours, but I believe there is a Chanel logo on it .
posted by tilde at 7:58 AM on April 25, 2012


Shaping Things to Come
The trio of Weil, Moébius and Mézières supervised seven up-and-coming illustrators — of French, Brazilian, British and American extraction — who toiled collectively on Besson's concepts. The initial preproduction sessions began in November of 1991 and continued for a year until the project's temporary hiatus. Drafting resumed in September of 1994, when Columbia Pictures acquired rights to the film, and continued through principal photography.

Once a week, Besson offered the artists a description of a particular living being, or inanimate instrument, speaking only in terms of its intangible qualities. The illustrators had one week to devise a sketch based upon Besson's idea. The director then surveyed all of the sketches and, with Weil, selected one or asked for portions of several drawings to be melded into one design.

After the first year, the team generated some 3,000 images. When prep recommenced in 1994, Besson and Weil picked the best concepts; the artistic collective then proceeded to devise additional designs. When all was said and done, approximately 8,000 sketches were created. (Elevated plane models of the various sets were later constructed so that Besson could conceive potential shots.)

Since Weil hails from a realist background, the production designer steered his artistic team towards a functional futurism free from cumbersome, gimmicky hardware. He says, "Since I was working with sci-fi artists, I had to fight a lot against the mechanical and technical exaggerations of sci-fi imagery. A vacuum cleaner, for example, is just a piece of plastic that starts when you press your foot on it. When you design a vacuum cleaner for a sci-fi film, you need to add lots of little lights and pipes, and smoke vapor, so that what you have becomes a lot more complicated. My daily battle with everyone was not to make things simplistic, but to make them at least as simple as they are in the real world."
posted by Rhaomi at 7:59 AM on April 25, 2012 [10 favorites]


I don't want one position, I want all positions!
posted by stoneweaver at 8:00 AM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also, is there a good snarky term for underthinking something? because this doesn't really qualify as beanplating.
posted by daniel_charms at 8:05 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sadly, the linked content is pretty bad, but I'm glad we can have this thread, because The Fifth Element is clearly one of the best movies in movietown.

Lovely SO and I cannot talk about chicken without saying it like Leeloo taking the chicken out of Cornelius' "microwave" (which usually elicits the non-sequitur response "multipass!").

It's a really rare sendup and homage all in one. It's a shame, but as far as I'm aware, it's never gotten the full master collection kind of treatment on DVD or Blu-Ray--the whole six-disc set with outtakes, production commentary, making ofs, etc. Where is Criterion?!? We need this!

Are we green? Crystal green?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:06 AM on April 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Also, I think it was pretty gutsy for Chris Tucker to play Ruby Rhod, and I respect him for obviously trusting his director's vision and diving into the role. He was preposterous, as his character was supposed to be. Can you see him during costume previews, how that might have been disconcerting, and then someone says "Now, about your character's hairstyle....".
posted by dglynn at 8:11 AM on April 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


I would sit through this entire movie just to watch Gary Oldman deliver the line "Fire ONE MILLION."
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:12 AM on April 25, 2012


Questions that one may have after watching The Fifth Element: posted by codacorolla at 8:20 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I also had to look up what beanplating means, and got this on urban dictionary:
  1. Beanplating
    Overthinking
    Derived from the expression "HI I'M ON METAFILTER AND I COULD OVERTHINK A PLATE OF BEANS."
Hmm.
posted by jiroczech at 8:21 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I always keep forgetting The Fifth Element came out in 1997, not 1987. Not a bad thing - I love 80's movies (particularly sci-fi because a majority of it is weird and experimental...eg DUNE). The Fifth Element is something that a majority movies these days are not - it's entertaining*. It's just so damn weird, which makes it so, so interesting to watch.

I like sci-fi, but I swear to god if I ever have to sit through another glossy, overly-CGI'd, splosions! all the time mess of a movie....
posted by littlesq at 8:21 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


codacorolla: I think they say in the film that the garbage cleaners are on strike, so that should explain the trash at the airport. As to the rest, though, your guess is as good as mine.
posted by daniel_charms at 8:22 AM on April 25, 2012


My seven year old told me the other day that he thought the lady on The Fifth Element was really funny. I asked him if he meant Leeloo, the one with the orange hair. No, he said, the brown lady. ??? Turns out he meant Ruby Rhod.
posted by dabug at 8:25 AM on April 25, 2012 [7 favorites]


Why is there all that trash in the airport?

Maybe they use it as fuel, à la Back to the Future 2. Ships probably have a huge Mr. Fusion installed somewhere ;)
posted by littlesq at 8:26 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe they use it as fuel, à la Back to the Future 2. Ships probably have a huge Mr. Fusion installed somewhere ;)

But we see the Jamaicans change the fuel rod for the spaceship...

But as daniel_charms points out, one of the gate attendants mentions the garbage collector strike.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:29 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's a garbage workers strike, I think mentioned in passing once, which of course adds to the richness of ths goofy sci fi world.
posted by The Whelk at 8:30 AM on April 25, 2012


This points to an essentially French imagining of the future. The USian future has no labor unions, the French future is a perpetual garbage strike.
posted by kaibutsu at 8:33 AM on April 25, 2012 [12 favorites]


the PoMo/retro-throwback dialogue

One of my favorite moments is when the President (Tiny Lister - who WWE fans will remember as Zeus, the Human Wrecking Machine), drained and exhausted, dully says "We're saved."
posted by Trurl at 8:35 AM on April 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


atbash: I happened to get a bit of a tour of Digital Domain when they were shooting that, and I got to walk down the city street model. Very cool looking.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:41 AM on April 25, 2012


wait, I thought they were using SGI, not linux. I think I remember a lot of purple in their machine room.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:42 AM on April 25, 2012


I unapologetically and unabashedly adore this movie, and seem to watch it once a year or so. There is nothing wrong with it, and anyone who sneeringly says there is needs to be taken out back of the website and thrashed soundly until they relent.
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:48 AM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's a beautiful-looking movie, and fun; the main problem I had with it the first time I saw it and since is that it doesn't give the women much to do. Leeloo is a Manic Pixie Dream Messiah who needs rescuing (and ends up being the Hero Prize) and the other women are all pretty much set dressing. The diva is great, but she also takes the female role of looking awesome and then dying nobly.

Korben's mom; ugh.
posted by emjaybee at 8:54 AM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


"That's a very nice hat."
posted by Fizz at 8:55 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


My question has always been; What is the plastic thing on Zorg's head, and why does it BLEED?
posted by SPUTNIK at 9:12 AM on April 25, 2012


On the bleeding: see dirt dirt's comment above and this thread.

On the plastic thing, I think it's a jaunty hat.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:15 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Man I would love to see a movie where Juan Gimenez designed the sets. Actually, any movie featuring anything about Juan Gimenez would be awesome.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:16 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


TH-THAT'S OK...I D-DON'T NEED IT!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:21 AM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


I suspect that the people who hated it wanted science fiction, and got a comedic action movie with aliens and romance and flying cars.

When I saw "The Fifth Element" back in 1997 I thought the movie was terrible. It was a ludicrous mess, made by someone with no taste, a complete and baffling disappointment. How could someone create a disaster like that and not realize how badly they were failing in time to fix it?

In the ten years before I watched it again, someone must have pulled a reverse George Lucas, because that incoherent cliche-ridden mess had somehow been reworked into a glorious romp through an absurd wealth of hilarious world-building, poking fun at everything in sight and still managing to make sense at every turn. It slaps a big goofy grin on your face and never lets you take it off again. I've never seen anything else quite like it.
posted by Mars Saxman at 9:25 AM on April 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Whenever I drive through a tollbooth now, I shout in my head (and sometimes out loud), "LEELOO DALLAS EZ-PASS"

/thanksforlistening
posted by Zippity Goombah at 9:30 AM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


I haven't seen much mention of it here, so to throw in my 2¢: A big part of what makes the movie so enjoyable is the very snappy editing and camera work. In almost every scene where a normal movie would get bogged down with exposition, the movie keeps things active by rapidly interleaving multiple scenes. The editing and camera work also work really well in accenting the physical performance of most of the actors, with subtle but dynamic camera moves in shots that don't absolutely require them, and in which the viewer barely notices them.
posted by belarius at 9:30 AM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


When my ex-husband and I split and were divvying up the DVDs, I got Galaxy Quest but he got The Fifth Element. Divorce really does suck.
posted by maudlin at 9:38 AM on April 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Love.

This.

Movie.
posted by inparticularity at 9:39 AM on April 25, 2012


This, and "The Blues Brothers", are the only two perfect movies I can think of.

Not "perfect entertainment" (although to me they are). "Perfect movies". Nothing out of place. Never a dull shot, forced into existence to pull two plot-driving scenes together.

I'm certain cinephiles would push many other film names onto that list, but I'm not one, and so this is my list. So far.

(My favorite movie, however, is Cocteau's "La Belle et la Bête" - so go figure.)
posted by IAmBroom at 9:42 AM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was invited to a test screening of The Fifth Element a few months before I even saw any trailers or ads for it. They even passed out survey forms after the film to get our input.

I begged and pleaded they changed ZORG's name, but alas, they did not take my advice. In hindsight, I was trying to put lipstick on an extravagantly costumed, outlandishly accessorized pig. Why bother?
posted by blastrid at 9:44 AM on April 25, 2012


Divorce really does suck.

When I got divorced, I was sure to keep the Fifth Element. I think I stuck her with Moulin Rouge (take that, you dreadful, dreadful woman). Now, I'm getting re-married to a woman who counts the Fifth Element as one of her favorite movies of all time.

So really what I'm saying is just when you think you've used up all the points on your license, big baaadaa boom, something awesome drops from the sky through the roof of your cab, and you fall in love again and save the universe, and you don't have to settle for Major Iceborg.

Thank you Luc Besson for giving me life lessons!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:44 AM on April 25, 2012 [8 favorites]


It's a garbage workers strike, I think mentioned in passing once, which of course adds to the richness of ths goofy sci fi world.

It's not actually mentioned in the film, but it is indeed because of a garbage strike. They shot a scene with striking muppet rat things, but it got cut. It's included as a DVD extra on some releases.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:46 AM on April 25, 2012


Years ago I was in the Mexican Consulate getting a work visa, and wound up sitting in the waiting room right next to Milla Jovovich, who was getting her own visa for who knows what.

It took enormous restraint to keep myself from turning to her and saying "MULTIPASS!"


there are maybe five or six movies that I've bothered to acquire on DVD, and this is one of them.
posted by ambrosia at 9:47 AM on April 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


While Cinéma du look is supposed to be over, The Fifth Element retains whatever that magical secret sauce is about French films that just makes it better every time I watch it. Just like my favorite of all movies ever, Diva, I can find something new and wonderful every time. When I'm home sick, or when I'm bummed out, or when I'm just in the mood to read or write something, The Fifth Element is perched forever on a flash drive in my media player, at the ready. It's a reminder that the tiresome old saw about how every story's already been told is just a tiresome old saw—even what's wrong, or silly, or head-shakingly annoying about the film is still catchy, if you can apply a musical term to cinema, like a feature length French pop video. It's terrific storytelling, at a perfect pace and with a perfect je nais se quoi.

Just every detail, even the meaningless ones, like the "gimme the cash" scene, is visually inventive, off-kilter, and with that sort of gotta-pee-right-now sort of hyperactive energy. There's a great book about the creation of Blade Runner that covers where all the lushness in that film comes from, and I'd happily read through a similar tome on Fifth Element.
posted by sonascope at 9:47 AM on April 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


It's basically a Heavy Metal comic brought to life

I thought it had a lot of elements of Judge Dredd comics but that's just my personal favorite. Think of Corbin as Dredd.

Chris Tucker's Ruby Rhod is everything wrong and right about the future.

That's what's so brilliant about the role. In the big battle scene, Ruby is broadcasting the whole scene live, so he is a stand in for you, the viewer. But he's so loathsome that you kind of wish he'd get killed. And Corbin takes huge risks to protect him.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:52 AM on April 25, 2012


Rhaomi: "A (fifth?) element of the film someone pointed out to me awhile back that really contributes to the subtle off-kilter-ness of it all: the hero (Corbin Dallas mooltipass) and the villain (Jean. Baptiste. Emanuel. Zorg.) are both sharp, memorable characters with tons of screen time each, trying to save and destroy the world respectively... but they never actually meet. Closest they come is Zorg firing Dallas via impersonal transparency letter."

Actually, when the cruise (space)ship is about to blow up, there's a shot where Corbin & Co. run into an elevator and Zorg runs out of the next elevator over a split second later. The two actors were on the same set, but their characters still never meet.

God, I love this movie.


"Where'd he learn to negotiate like that?"
"I wonder."

posted by brundlefly at 9:52 AM on April 25, 2012


There's a great book about the creation of Blade Runner that covers where all the lushness in that film comes from, and I'd happily read through a similar tome on Fifth Element.

Why, here you go!

Wait, did you mean a book that costs less than $350? Then you're out of luck.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:53 AM on April 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


More proof that a simple story well told is worth 10 good stories phoned in. It reminds me of the Batman TV show. The actors and characters are 110% committed and genuine in their roles, and the "joke" is told by the crew in how the thing is produced.

Also, Milla Jovovich! I'm amazed she hasn't been mentioned yet. Well, except as "supermodel". Milla Jovovich is great in this movie. Leeloo Dallas Multipass!

Yes, I agree. It had to take some serious acting chops to play that character. Every facial expression and vocal moment is absolutely perfect.

Demolition Man is another movie that has a lot of the weird future comedy tucked in.
posted by gjc at 9:54 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


it doesn't give the women much to do.

Ruby Rock had a pretty decent gig.

It took enormous restraint to keep myself from turning to her and saying "MULTIPASS!"

/sidebar: I sat next to Dan Marino at a restaurant a couple of years ago. Having grown up in Florida he was as much of a superhero as I had as a child. Unfortunately, when he did acknowledge me all I could think of to say was "Loved you in Ace Ventura!"

He was not amused.
posted by Blue_Villain at 9:55 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was middling along the line of teenage angst and depression when the Fifth Element came out. I had just been uprooted from the home and friends I had known for 17 years to be moved not just a state over, or even a region over, but across the pond to not so jolly England (all right, it was a little jolly - but tell that to the flannel wearing teen who hated the prospect of navigating round'a'bouts where a traffic light would have worked just as good). The movie struck some kind of chord with me. I ended up going to see it at the nearest Odeon no less than five times while it was in release.

I was hypnotized by the Diva's performance and as recently as a couple years ago, finally bought the soundtrack so I could listen to it at will. The movie's kinetic energy certainly was one of its selling points with me. Even when there was nothing going on, everything seemed fresh and active to me. The strange mismash of cheap effects (like the targeting devices) with beautiful shots of a city atop a city filled with flying car traffic (beat you to it Lucas!) or the delicate reconstruction of the "survivor", and the fun, sometimes irrelevant jokes made concerning business and pop culture. A wonderful joke that I recall was the use of the real opera house as a set and then a dismissive, "An exact replica of the opera housuse..." comment thrown in for no purpose other than to make a joke about the use of the real thing. The script just flowed like honey from the actors' mouths.

It will definitely stand eternal in my list of most excellent movies.
posted by Atreides at 9:56 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Admiral Haddock: "and you don't have to settle for Major Iceborg."

I love how she nods at Dallas and it makes a kung fu/whip sound effect.

Completely unrelated, but I just remembered. The "GIMME THE CASH" guy with the "very nice hat" went on to direct Babylon A.D.. There's your pointless piece of trivia for the day.
posted by brundlefly at 9:56 AM on April 25, 2012


Just adding to The Fifth Element lovefest.

Still my favorite joke in this movie is that the cigarettes Bruce Willis smokes are like 80% filter.

It really makes me wonder how did they could get like this? Was it growing pressure from the health department and society or was it actually the cigarette industry veeeeerrrrry slowly changing the ratio so that their margins on tabacco increase over time and nobody really notices until they can't remember that it used to be the other way? Both causes are totally believable! It's this depth of detail as others have mentioned that really endear it to me.

I also use "MOOLTIPASS!" and "mmm chick-uhn" far too much in everyday life.

Great read, thanks.
posted by like_neon at 10:03 AM on April 25, 2012


Wait—the "gimme the cash" guy is Nino in Amélie!? Man, I learn something new every day!
posted by sonascope at 10:04 AM on April 25, 2012


Why is there all that trash in the airport?

I know it's because the workers were on strike but I like to think it was really because of a Snow Crash-type situation where every possible service in society is franchised out to the lowest bidder, and somewhere outside the airport, the armies of TrashCorp and GarbageMan are engaged in a pitched battle.


Why does Zorg have a small elephant lizard in his desk available at the push of the button?

Because he CAN, obvsly.


How does the biology of the Diva allow her to store four elemental stones in her body cavity while still performing a kick-ass rock opera?

A wizard did it.
posted by elizardbits at 10:05 AM on April 25, 2012


Kassovitz is also the male lead in Amelie, among other things. He's a well known French actor.

Julie Wallace, who plays Iceborg, was also in the original Diary of a She Devil (which was an awesome miniseries, and was later remade with Rosanne Barr, I think), and is in the Bond film The Living Daylights (she shoots Timothy Dalton down the pipeline). I actually did think she was a bit of a number and wouldn't mind being trapped in a futuristic refrigerator with her. Though since she's 6'2", there would not be much room...
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:05 AM on April 25, 2012


The 'very nice hat' is also a wonder bit of weirdness. It's a picture of the hallway outside of Corbin's door. So while the 'gimme the cash' guy is standing waiting waiting for the door to open the hat is showing an empty hallway to Corbin's security monitor show an empty hallway.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 10:08 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I though this had been posted before on MetaFilter, but apparently not: Laura sings the "Diva Dance" from the Fifth Element. I seem to recall at the time that they had to use synthesizer tricks and/or postprocessing to get the vocals, but here's someone who can legitimately sing it.

I also must join with everyone else in remembering how this movie takes me to a special time and place.
posted by Rhomboid at 10:10 AM on April 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


I really really like Fifth Element. It's very flawed yet incredibly courageous and true it's vision of the future. The art and set and costume design elevate it to an enormous degree, really only a handful of Sci-Fi movies seem to have put that much effort and detail into seemingly innocuous elements that collectively breathe life into the movie and make you think that you are actually experiencing a different world rather than a set with actors.

IIRC, the actual screenplay for the movie was cut down from a massive tome that Besson had worked on for ages (including his own language for Leelo) so it's kinda a triumph of sci-fi world building as well. The reason why it feels like you could take any number of characters and places and have a completely different adventure is because he's laid out that ground work.

I think the over-the-top performances of Chris Tucker and Oldman contrast nicely with the almost sarcastic "WTF did I get myself into agreeing to this movie, my agent is a dead man" feel to Bruce Willis's portrayal of Corbin Dallas. Even though in theory he's a super human killing machine you always feel like you are experiencing Besson's vision through his eyes.

The major area where I think the movie struggles is that the chemistry between Willis and Jovovich seems really artificial in the second half. Even though his love for her is supposed to help fuel her as the ultimate weapon I just never feel like that connection between those two as two people deeply in love ever actually arrives on screen so it's hard to imagine the sarcastic Willis actually abandoning that shell of cool, calm and collected detachment.

That being said I've wanted Besson to revisit the universe of the fifth element numerous times since the movie was released but I guess he's either not interested (maybe his divorce from Jovovich closed that door for him) or can't get backing.
posted by vuron at 10:12 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


The 'very nice hat' is also a wonder bit of weirdness.

I love how hat guy dances for a second after Korben Dallas compliments his hat.

No amount of beanplating will ever sate my appetite for The Fifth Element. It is my very favorite movie of all time. Watching it again right now.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 10:13 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


The 'very nice hat' is also a wonder bit of weirdness. It's a picture of the hallway outside of Corbin's door. So while the 'gimme the cash' guy is standing waiting waiting for the door to open the hat is showing an empty hallway to Corbin's security monitor show an empty hallway.

And it shows a bit of planning on 'cash guy's part - he is not standing there when the cat is let in (he has to stand where the cat door is) but is after the cat is let in.
posted by tilde at 10:15 AM on April 25, 2012


qxntpqbbbqxl: "I love how hat guy dances for a second after Korben Dallas compliments his hat."

Not only that, but he dances to the score.
posted by brundlefly at 10:17 AM on April 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


Whenever I drive through a tollbooth now, I shout in my head (and sometimes out loud), "LEELOO DALLAS EZ-PASS"

You know that feeling when someone gives you an earworm and it hasn't quite taken hold yet but you know it's going to?

Yeah.

So I hope you'll understand that I mean it in the nicest, most almost-appreciative way when I say "Fuck you sideways."

Years ago I was in the Mexican Consulate getting a work visa, and wound up sitting in the waiting room right next to Milla Jovovich, who was getting her own visa for who knows what.

How many minutes elapsed before she couldn't stand it any more and disrobed for no obvious reason?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:20 AM on April 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


Actually, there is this making of that I just happened to notice on Youtube.

Watching now! Fuck you, work! You're not the boss of me!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:24 AM on April 25, 2012 [7 favorites]


So wait, was "nice hat" guy not the same guy that the police take away thinking it was Dallas?

I always thought it was, and that Dallas was used to his strung out neighbor (hence the dancing) trying to steal from him.
posted by Blue_Villain at 10:28 AM on April 25, 2012


How many minutes elapsed before she couldn't stand it any more and disrobed for no obvious reason?

I never recognize celebrities. I'd sat down next to a young woman with a brown ponytail wearing a gorgeous winter white cashmere blazer. The jacket had a lovely drape, and it looked so soft and plush I just wanted to reach out and stroke it. Since her clothing clearly cost many times what I paid for rent each month, I glanced down at her paperwork out of curiosity, and only then did I actually put it together. If she had disrobed, I would have yoinked that blazer in a heartbeat.
posted by ambrosia at 10:30 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


So wait, was "nice hat" guy not the same guy that the police take away thinking it was Dallas?

Nope, hat guy was not wrong answer guy.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 10:32 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


So wait, was "nice hat" guy not the same guy that the police take away thinking it was Dallas?

No, it was the side shave blonde "smoke you" shaving guy whose door it seems Leeloo or Cornelius tagged with Dallas' business card.

"Smoke you!"

"wrong answer"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZFH4wCLVXY
posted by tilde at 10:34 AM on April 25, 2012


I always thought it was, and that Dallas was used to his strung out neighbor (hence the dancing) trying to steal from him.

I'm not sure what you're saying.

Kassovitz (Nice Hat) is just a random junkie that you see in South Brooklyn in the future. The guy that is taken away is Dallas's neighbor, sort of a crazy survivalist looking type (i.e., shaving with a Bowie knife).

Here's the scene.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:34 AM on April 25, 2012


See, I saw the crazy survivalist type and figured nobody actually shaves with a bowie knife, even real survivalist types, so who else would have a gun and not know how to use it but some guy trying to pretend he was tough but really just needed the money for drugs or non-liquid food, or whatever it is people were addicted to at the time.

Somehow, I feel a little bit sadder that this is not the case. Sorta like that little bit of universe that my mind created off of the tiny seeds of characters is now crumbling.
posted by Blue_Villain at 10:42 AM on April 25, 2012


Somehow, I feel a little bit sadder that this is not the case. Sorta like that little bit of universe that my mind created off of the tiny seeds of characters is now crumbling.

No, you're thinking of the Neverending Story. That's a different thread!

This is the thread where we Leeloo Dallas Multipass at each other.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:48 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you think about it, this movie is simply like a really good science fiction convention. On acid.
posted by Twang at 10:53 AM on April 25, 2012


nobody actually shaves with a bowie knife, even real survivalist types

Obviously you've never seen the wunnerful documentary _Project Grizzly_ about (fuckin-a-)Canadian inventor Troy Hurtubise and his anti-bear suits.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:53 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like Korben's cross-eyed cat.
posted by mediated self at 11:01 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Divine Language was by Luc Besson and Milla Jovovich.

Actually Luc Besson and Mila Jovovich are each divine in any language.
posted by Splunge at 11:03 AM on April 25, 2012


So, in conclusion, Metafilter deals with Aliens and The Fifth Element really well.

And only those two topics.
posted by kbanas at 11:09 AM on April 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


Anything else is superfluous, if you ask me.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:12 AM on April 25, 2012 [5 favorites]


Love this film so damn much. Chris Tucker's Ruby Rhod is everything wrong and right about the future.

It's Prince's greatest role.

________________________________________________________

Apparently,
"The French comic series Valerian by Jean-Claude Mézières and Pierre Christin features a near-identical flying taxi in the album Circles of Power, though with driver whose personality has little in common with Korben's. Much of the costume inspirations also comes from this comic. Mézières was one of the film's Production Designers. The other was Jean Giraud aka Moebius)!"

Still need to read that.
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:19 AM on April 25, 2012


So, in conclusion, Metafilter deals with Aliens and The Fifth Element really well.

Through in come bacon and we're golden.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:19 AM on April 25, 2012


I'm I right that when the junkie loses his gun to Dallas and it's added to the collection, that it's meant to imply that people try to rob him all the time?
posted by drezdn at 11:27 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I hope you meant SOME bacon because otherwise what is this I can't even
posted by elizardbits at 11:29 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ew, gross, BB.
posted by mediated self at 11:29 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Divine Language was by Luc Besson and Milla Jovovich.

I first became acquainted with Milla Jovovich not as an actress, nor as a supermodel, but as a singer. Her one and only album, "The Divine Comedy", is quite good, not a vanity project at all - I think she was sixteen when she recorded it, actually.
posted by Mars Saxman at 11:31 AM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm I right that when the junkie loses his gun to Dallas and it's added to the collection, that it's meant to imply that people try to rob him all the time?

That's always been my understanding.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:32 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm I right that when the junkie loses his gun to Dallas and it's added to the collection, that it's meant to imply that people try to rob him all the time?

Possibly, more likely also since he's ex mil and never not armed and knows he's in a rough neighborhood. It's not unlikely he'd be gone after, but it's not necessarily all that as he's armed while driving his cab, too. I want to know more structurally how the storage works, looks like between the shower, bed, fridge, and storage unit, there is dead space between units that doubles as storage for multiple units.
posted by tilde at 11:34 AM on April 25, 2012


It really makes me wonder how did they could get like this? Was it growing pressure from the health department and society or was it actually the cigarette industry veeeeerrrrry slowly changing the ratio so that their margins on tabacco increase over time and nobody really notices

I've always wondered what supreme court made what decision that allowed police to force everyone in a building to "PUT YOUR HANDS IN THE YELLOW CIRCLES."
posted by hot_monster at 11:35 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dude, the current SCOTUS is one, maybe two, Repub nominations away from this already.
posted by elizardbits at 11:37 AM on April 25, 2012 [12 favorites]


One of the many great things about this movie is how its fans stretch across all types. Sci-fi fans, literary fans, fantasy fans, pulp and noir fans, I know people from every walk of life that love this movie.

I saw The 5th Element when it first came out with my (now) wife. It was back in the college years and we both loved it. It became the first DVD we ever owned. We still watch it far too often.

Some years ago as we grew older my best buddy from high school had his first child. We keep in touch but don't get a lot of time together. I asked him what they were going to name her and he said "Lelu." Nobody in his or his wife's family understood - they all argued for more standard names or at least Lela. My wife and I just smiled.

I said to him that I didn't know they were such fans of the movie that they'd name their girl after a character. He said while holding his baby, "Yeah, we love the movie, and to me my girl's the most perfect being in the universe."

Maybe you had to be there to appreciate the sentiment. Perhaps it would help if you mentally pictured a big guy that usually carries a gun saying this about his baby girl.
posted by Muddler at 11:40 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


they were such fans of the movie that they'd name their girl after a character

That being said, the couple that named their baby Daenerys need to be forcibly sterilized to prevent any future children.
posted by Chekhovian at 11:50 AM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


They can wait in line behind the people naming their babies Reneesme.
posted by elizardbits at 11:53 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


It really makes me wonder how did they could get like this? Was it growing pressure from the health department and society or was it actually the cigarette industry veeeeerrrrry slowly changing the ratio so that their margins on tabacco increase over time and nobody really notices

I have always assumed that the long filters and short cigs was part of the quit smoking program he's in; the cigarettes are dispensed by the "Four a Day" machine that proclaims "To quit is my goal!"

See here.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:56 AM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


eb, I had to google that, as I've had a long standing twilight embargo to keep that shite out of my general awareness. Next time put a *Twilight trigger warning* in place ;-)
posted by Chekhovian at 11:56 AM on April 25, 2012


The Eating and Food part sucked. Trying way to hard, man. Dial it back.
posted by Splunge at 12:17 PM on April 25, 2012


I hope you meant SOME bacon because otherwise what is this I can't even

Yes, forgive me, my horrible typo.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:27 PM on April 25, 2012


http://cheezburger.com/6157626112
posted by erniepan at 12:40 PM on April 25, 2012


If [Milla Jovavich] had disrobed, I would have yoinked that blazer in a heartbeat.

You know, ambrosia, anywhere but Metafilter people would have assumed that "yoinked that blazer" is a phrase that would show up in UrbanDictionary.

(It doesn't.)
posted by IAmBroom at 12:40 PM on April 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh man. After years of "ew, Bruce Willis, what's this" channel-changing, I got sucked in and watched most of this movie on TV a couple of years ago. I've been hoping to catch it again and make my husband watch it ever since. He probably won't mind my girl crush on Milla Jovavich too awfully much, either. I've never talked about this movie with anyone, it's never come up in conversation, and I've never known anyone else who liked it or even mentioned it - so this thread has been uber rewarding. I can't decide whether to forward the thread to husband (as I sometimes do) or let him watch the movie cold, if we ever track it down.

(... obviously we're not really movie people. We signed up for a free Netflix trial, never used it, and ended up paying for it for several months before we got around to canceling it, still unused. I was astonished when husband signed up for it. but I digress.)

MULTIPASS
posted by Occula at 12:50 PM on April 25, 2012


"I'd like to take a few pictures... for the archives."

"They really made her..."
"Perfect. I know."

This is one of 3 movies (the others being Pan's Labyrinth and The Matrix) that I am compelled to watch to the end if I catch even a glimpse of them on TV. I pick up on some new little joke or set design flourish every time I watch it.
posted by Blue Meanie at 12:53 PM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Man, the movie just looks and feels great.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:57 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love how whenever Leelo disrobes everybody else acts all shocks and turns away.
They really make the perfect being...perfect
posted by Confess, Fletch at 1:13 PM on April 25, 2012


Soooo any fans of The Incal in the room?
posted by Shepherd at 1:20 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also I was 17 and in high school and supremely unpopular when this came out and the brief shot of Milla's breasts was like a revelation to me.

There I said it.
posted by kbanas at 1:23 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's basically a Heavy Metal comic brought to life, which is why the movie rules.

It reminds me of the Harry Canyon sequence in Heavy Metal.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:23 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Let's see a show of hands for the number of people planning to watch it again tonight (cuz I know I am).

"People Hi" was my sound bite for new messages on ICQ for a long time.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 1:58 PM on April 25, 2012


Me!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:20 PM on April 25, 2012


[insert clever name here]: "Let's see a show of hands for the number of people planning to watch it again tonight (cuz I know I am)."

Just as soon as I'm done with The Dark Crystal, the Blu-Ray just arrived and I need to make sketches for my Chamberlain costume. Maybe I need to make a Mondoshawan costume as well.
posted by the_artificer at 2:32 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah I may watch it again tonight, it's been a while. I know that soundtrack was one of the first *new* CDs I bought and I played it over and over
posted by The Whelk at 2:38 PM on April 25, 2012


I'm in. Burnt the everloving shit out of my hand, I need cheering up & nothing else is getting done today anyway. Yay-ish?
posted by Space Kitty at 2:48 PM on April 25, 2012


I have to work BUT I will put RXRA on infinite repeat, is that adequate?
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:53 PM on April 25, 2012


I will watch it as soon as I am done watching Some Like It Hot for the eleventy billionth time.
posted by elizardbits at 3:01 PM on April 25, 2012


Nobody's perfect.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:02 PM on April 25, 2012


(hands elizardbits the fuzzy end of the lollipop)
posted by The Whelk at 3:07 PM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fresh!
posted by elizardbits at 3:09 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Always loved this movie and am still brooding over the review that pointed out that the real fifth element was, "appropriately enough, boron!"
posted by Standeck at 3:26 PM on April 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Late but need to contribute but 5th Element and Point Break are head to head on my favorite movies of all time.

Personal favorite scene is when the swat team is about to take down the neighbors door and the futurecrack head yells "SMOKE YOU". I would love to know if this awesomeness is intentional or some sort of forced editing to deal with censors.
posted by youthenrage at 5:14 PM on April 25, 2012


I am watching it right now! I'd forgotten how great the score worked with every scene.
posted by Mouse Army at 5:38 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love, love this movie. The only bad thing about it is the embarrassing level of fan service.
posted by Mitheral at 6:40 PM on April 25, 2012


Couple of random thread points -

They don't rebuild her from a seed pod but her hand. She was in a suit, holding the case. One handle broke off when it was taken from her. In opening scenes both handles are there, in Zorg exchange the one handle is missing.

On the near miss & meet of Korben & Zorg; Z is flying the same style ship loaned to Agnot. Korben steals the ship.
posted by tilde at 7:26 PM on April 25, 2012


She was in a suit

And that raises all sorts of questions. The hand looks the same other Mondoshewan suit hands, are they all human? Or why wasn't she in stasis?
posted by Chekhovian at 7:45 PM on April 25, 2012


I would like to know how an advanced civilization leaves one of there behind a simple stone wall.

"Wait, what about Frank, we're just gonna leave him?"

"Yeah, fuck that guy."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:22 PM on April 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


I had to read this whole thread to see if anyone had noted the classic cliché, and no. So early in the movie, Dallas was lighting his cigarette with a match from a box and the closeup emphasised there was only one match left. So you knew, in all its anachronistic placemnt, that this one little match was going to save the world!!

And Shepherd, yes.
posted by arzakh at 8:56 PM on April 25, 2012


there was only one match left

Here's my stupid question. Why are the ends of matches already black before they're burnt? Crazy french matches or something?
posted by Chekhovian at 8:58 PM on April 25, 2012


Brandon Blatcher writes "I would like to know how an advanced civilization leaves one of there behind a simple stone wall."

More importantly why wasn't he, or at least the remains of his environment suit, there when the heros get there?
posted by Mitheral at 9:11 PM on April 25, 2012


the remains of his environment suit

In the 5th Element fan fiction I occasionally think about writing, this suit could have been found by some great power, and researched, and could have formed the basis for some of the technological leaps of the 20th century.

But why are they wearing environment suits if they could survive in the earth's environment already like Leelo?

I had this idea once that maybe the reconstruction machine did not actually reproduce the real "leelo" but maybe a downconverted version or something. Maybe before the explosion she was something vastly different and came out looking like she did after being convolved with the human technology of the machine...anyway I'm rambling.

As to what someone said, I too would like more Fifth Element, but I'm sort of glad there wasn't more. We weren't well served by the "More" of the Star Wars prequals. Better that they shouldn't have been made. And probably better than the questions the Fifth Element raises are left unanswered, then answered poorly.

Fucking Midichlorians.
posted by Chekhovian at 9:30 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


This weekend, I saw the UC Irvine Anteater Sci-Fi Band. There is someone there with this costume. You're welcome.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:51 PM on April 25, 2012


Admiral Haddock wrote, "Wait, did you mean a book that costs less than $350? Then you're out of luck."

Not entirely our of luck. There's also this book about Jean-Claude Mézières' work on the design of the film. It's written in French, but of course is heavily illustrated and if you've seen the film you'd get the general idea (in fact, the book often pairs Mézières' design sketches with frames from the film itself). It's a fairly slender volume, but worthwhile for those who enjoyed the film enough to want to delve into (some of) the art behind its creation.
posted by NetizenKen at 9:54 PM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would like to know how an advanced civilization leaves one of there behind a simple stone wall.

My asumption has been they're a hive mind of sorts, and the loss of one is just not a big deal. Also, we assume they're metal, but it could be an insect, and the body just decays.

. . . Or he went out the back door no one else knew about . . .
posted by [insert clever name here] at 10:17 PM on April 25, 2012


It's almost 3am and for some reason I have this overwhelming urge to watch The Fifth Element right now.
posted by littlesq at 11:44 PM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I and my friends of a certain era continue to quote this movie to each other at random times.

Thanks to this thread, I am now watching it again right now, when I should be studying.

Screw you, MBA! I don't need no macro-economic theories.

MUL-TI-PASS!
posted by But tomorrow is another day... at 3:59 AM on April 26, 2012


1. The Fifth Element is the Deus Ex of movies. Whenever it comes up it gives people the urge to play it again.
2. Ruby Rhod is my favorite, fuck the haters.
posted by clorox at 4:20 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


environmental suit - sarcophagus - human shaped.

Leeloo's 3,800 year old incarnation could have been nearly any shape, potentially any race or sex.

The sarcophagus was shaped human like, in the head thrown back, open mouth format of use, shaped like a man with what we humans take as an earth style beard (which was the style at the time). She could have been wearing the environmental suit in the sarcophagus, though I doubt it.

I expect that they knew there was going to be trouble, hence travelling in envirosuits, and not travelling with the stones. So she died and they had to rebuild her; likely when calling her up on purpose it is a less violent rebirth and reindoctrination.

Lots and lots of nanogroups, probably could have been any of the contributing races when she's awoken or brought to maturity naturally; having humans pull and build her as a human was a useful bit of storytelling that let them use her. Though there is a bit of a discontinuity error as she wakes up wearing the glove in the chamber and then it's not seen again (or even used as a weapon, she fist punches out of there bare knuckled - and instead of just breaking the whole thing, showcases her intelligence by taking out the general, putting his MULTIPASS in the machine and popping the hatch.

She's human. Mondochewans are not, Diva is not, Mangalores are not ... though they are humanoid. Maybe she could have been any one of them. We don't really know what the Mangalores look like. Those huge egg-like enviro suits might have been a form of protection and monkly robes like their earth counterpart was wearing.

the match -

The way he rattled it, it sounded like there were more than two, but they pulled the "only one" trick by having two in there, though we didn't actually see him pocket it, IIRC. Which also is likely why there are his four-a-day cigs at the wakeup scene, too (2am ouch). The picture on the outside was of a tropical paradise, though not Phloston's. I tried watching for the logo last night (Gemini Croquettes) and it was all over NY. :) Civilization has advanced just away from fire, but our hero with his weird black headed matches manages in his uncivilized way to save the day.
posted by tilde at 4:28 AM on April 26, 2012


More importantly why wasn't he, or at least the remains of his environment suit, there when the heros get there?

Remember, Cornelius' assistant David went to the temple in advance and "got everything prepared" or something like that. Hence why there's lights setup when Dallas and Co. show up with the stones and Leeloo. While I was originally bothered by the same question, I've since decided that David cleaned up any remains (a scene of which would probably have been entertaining to watch - as an extra).

I would like to know how an advanced civilization leaves one of there behind a simple stone wall.

Their one mission was to rescue the 5th Element from the temple and apparently they carried it out with ruthless efficiency (after Luke Perry tries to shoot them).

Actually, what disturbed me most was the apparent intention of the priest to poison the professor to keep him from finding out the secret of the 5th Element. And, did the Mondochewans kill the professor or simply knock him out? Obviously, Perry's character assumed the professor was dead, but was he just mistaken?
posted by Atreides at 7:11 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like to say "I know this music..." not when there are sounds of people panicking and screaming, but when I walk into a hotel or similar structure and there is some muzak I recognise.
posted by asok at 7:14 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Remember, Cornelius' assistant David went to the temple in advance and "got everything prepared" or something like that. Hence why there's lights setup when Dallas and Co. show up with the stones and Leeloo. While I was originally bothered by the same question, I've since decided that David cleaned up any remains (a scene of which would probably have been entertaining to watch - as an extra).

Yes, the original poisoning priest whispers a prayer for forgiveness to My Lord; but I also believes he is referring to the Mondochewans (forgive my spelling) as My Lord. Who knows what they believe, but they have ancient astrophysics texts (and Cornelius is introduced as a priest of astrophenomenon IIRC) and have presumably been tending the secret of the weapon for 3,800 years. I think he was going to kill both Perry and the Professor but not Aziz or his friends.

Actually, what disturbed me most was the apparent intention of the priest to poison the professor to keep him from finding out the secret of the 5th Element. And, did the Mondochewans kill the professor or simply knock him out? Obviously, Perry's character assumed the professor was dead, but was he just mistaken?

After the professor is presumably killed (I don't think Perry was, too? I would have killed him if I were the priest, it would have been a nice touch for Cornelius to have Luke Perry's drawings in his books) and then the Mondo is left behind, key out of the door, the 20th century priest has the key. He can go in and clean it up (Mondo suit, professor and Perry) anytime in the ensuing 300 years.

Presumably new priests to whom the knowledge is passed are given a tour of the facility, so David has a rough theoretical idea of what needs to be open and lit. In the original scenes, Aziz was using a reflective pan/mirror that seems deceptively light to me to bring in sunlight. Everyone is in shadow of backlight from the landing ship's lights, but the temple seems ambient lit without visible light sources (the sarcaph is lit from above in a square).

I would like to know how an advanced civilization leaves one of there behind a simple stone wall.

A dual axis key stuck in a not-obvious crevice that moves smoothly in and out, with the ability to crush a Mondochewan doesn't seem "simple" to me. :)
posted by tilde at 7:43 AM on April 26, 2012


A dual axis key stuck in a not-obvious crevice that moves smoothly in and out, with the ability to crush a Mondochewan doesn't seem "simple" to me. :)

"Whoa, whoa ya'll, Frank's stuck in the wall again, we need to get him out."

"Fuck him, this spaceship is due back in less than twelve parsecs, we gotta hustle."

"But what about the key, are we really going to leave with well clothed apes, instead of taking it ourselves? The priest hasn't bathed in weeks, you really wanna trust the key to him? Do we really not have a few minutes to at least grab the key, maybe throw Frank some food and water?"
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:04 AM on April 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


A dual axis key stuck in a not-obvious crevice that moves smoothly in and out, with the ability to crush a Mondochewan doesn't seem "simple"

Yet it lacks the same safety features built in my own garage door.
posted by Chekhovian at 8:37 AM on April 26, 2012


Just because you are responsible for an ancient and powerful being that seeds life throughout the universe to defeat the very concept of entropy doesn't mean you're particularly smart about it.
posted by The Whelk at 8:47 AM on April 26, 2012


belarius: "A big part of what makes the movie so enjoyable is the very snappy editing and camera work."

Totally. Like when Zorg carefully slips the disarming card into his bomb at the ship with like 3 seconds on the clock, and then when Aknot's bomb activates, it starts from 3 seconds, right where Zorg's left off. Or when Zorg opens the case and sort of panics and realizes the stones aren't there, and snap-cut to Leeloo laughing her ass off and explaining why the stones are gone.
posted by xedrik at 9:01 AM on April 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yet it lacks the same safety features built in my own garage door.

True, but will your garage door open seamlessly any time within 3,000 years from installation without fail. And close. ;)
posted by tilde at 9:03 AM on April 26, 2012


Yet it lacks the same safety features built in my own garage door.

I'm not sure that's an over sight. If I'm building a door to keep the angry hordes at bay having it close regardless of what might be caught would be seen as a design feature.
posted by Mitheral at 12:32 PM on April 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think I ran out of favorites in this thread. The Diva song made me search out more, and I found Operatica. Finding a copy is difficult, but worth it.
posted by msbutah at 3:44 PM on April 26, 2012


What mitheral said. & sub everywhere I said 3,800 for 4,700 as well as 3,000 for 5,000. D'oh!

Also, correction - I watched the sarcoph/fin go out again just now, looks like it is a similar enough hand on the side to be her "enviro suited" hand. Rebuilt or not - she was designed to be but with the nano groups had a lot of specialized skills and info retained; priest Vito Cornelius, the elements logo, the Diva & a rendezvous, etc.

Oh & the ballroom shoot up scene! Deaf guy giving Dallas billiard balls, Dallas shooting Rhod out of the balcony like a cartoon with a body shape bullet spray ...

Also, mammo groups, d'oh not nano groups. 40 vs 200,000
posted by tilde at 5:14 PM on April 26, 2012


Wrong on my part about the glove continuity error _ never saw it on widescreen until a few months ago #ofcourseimwatchingitrightnow
posted by tilde at 5:20 PM on April 26, 2012


The love for the movie expressed in this thread reminds me of the slow-burn growth of "The Shawshank Redemption" - a movie which was under-appreciated when it came out but which has grown to sit (comfortably) at the top of the IMDB 250. According to UK critic, Mark Kermode, this gradually growing reputation was driven by video rentals, by word of mouth and by the wide audience appeal of the film.

At present The 5th Element has an IMDB rank of 7.5 - somewhat below the "same plot without the sci-fi" Leon (8.6 and #31 on the IMDB 250). Perhaps, one day, The 5th Element might catch up in the ratings.
posted by rongorongo at 1:34 AM on April 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also: Gary Oldman: "I based [Zorg] on Ross Perot because it is kind of my nightmare that one day the south will...run everything". {Zorg...Perot}
posted by rongorongo at 2:10 AM on April 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


I seem to recall black headed matches being the norm in the UK in my youth.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 1:08 PM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just re-watched for Nth time. Still good stuff.
posted by Atreides at 11:05 AM on April 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yup. Watched it with my Person a couple nights ago, who had never seen it before (somehow!) and loved it. She said she was expecting something like 'Armageddon' - more standard-faire Bruce Willis, and was totally surprised by the inventiveness of the film. success!
posted by kaibutsu at 4:35 PM on April 30, 2012


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