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The Fifth Element

Score: 87%
Rating: PG-13
Publisher: Sony Pictures Home
                  Entertainment

Region: A
Media: 4K Blu-ray/2
Running Time: 126 Mins.
Genre: Sci-Fi/Action/Comedy
Audio: English Dolby Atmos (Dolby
           TrueHD 7.2 Compatible), French
           (PAR) 5.1, Spanish 5.1 Dolby
           Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French,
           Spanish


Features:

  • The Director's Notes: Luc Besson Looks Back - 4K Exclusive
  • The Visual Element Featurette
    • Screen Tests
  • The Star Element:
    • Bruce Willis
    • Milla Jovovich
      • Screen Tests
    • Chris Tucker
  • The Alien Element:
    • Mondoshawans
      • Screen Tests & Outtakes
    • Mangalores
      • Screen Tests & Outtakes
    • Picasso
    • Strikers
      • Screen Tests
  • The Fashion Element Featurette
    • Korben Dallas and Leeloo Screen Tests
  • The Diva Featurette
    • Screen Tests & Outtakes
  • The Digital Element
  • Imagining The Fifth Element
  • The Elements of Style
  • Fact Track

The Fifth Element's 4K release brings the classic Luc Besson film that launched Milla Jovovich's career into ultra-high-def goodness. This, of course, means that the film's distinct color palette really pops in UHD, but it also means that the film's placement between high-quality CGI and practical miniatures is all too evident.

The Fifth Element takes place in the 24th century where New York City has only grown more dense as the buildings grew taller and flying vehicles criss-cross on many levels above the ground. Bruce Willis plays Korben Dallas, a former special forces man turned cabbie and ends up having a rather unusual fare drop into his car. It turns out this tangerine-orange haired, practically-naked woman named Leeloo (Jovovich, The Resident Evil movies, Ultraviolet) is actually an ancient weapon brought back to life in order to fight some ultimate evil that appears every 5,000 years, and it's up to Korben to take her around the galaxy in order to get the missing pieces of an old puzzle together, all before a flaming planet-sized ball decides to hurdle itself towards Earth and kill everyone.

Korben and Leeloo need the help of Father Vito Cornelius (Ian Holm, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Alien) and his apprentice David (Charlie Creed-Miles), both members of a sect devoted to Leeloo and her purpose, and end up in the sites of evil arms dealer and corporate head Zorg (Gary Oldman, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Leon: The Professional, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban). Zorg's mission appears to be to help the ultimate evil and he will do whatever it takes to achieve that goal. Also following Korben and Leeloo's path of destruction is a pack of alien warriors called Mangalores and the army who was hoping to reinstate Korben in order to have him work for them.

The epic cross-galaxy cat-and-mouse game will take everyone to a luxury flying hotel on a paradise planet and introduce Korben to broadcasting legend Ruby Rhod (Chris Tucker, Rush Hour, Silver Linings Playbook), just another of the many memorable characters The Fifth Element presents viewers.

The Fifth Element looks really good on 4K, but like I said above, you can really tell when and where models are used and much of the computer graphics is fairly obvious. As the filmmakers state in the special features, this is primarily due to what was available when this film came out, and had it been just a few years later, the visuals would have been much cleaner. That being said, during my previous viewings of this movie on other forms of media, I've never really noticed this issue before, so it really is a consequence of the upscaling that went into this release. The 4K disc not only has the feature film on it, but it also has a new interview with Director/Creator Luc Besson as he looks back at the film 20 years later and discusses briefly the film's history and its cult-classic growth. While this interview is only about 10 minutes long, the extras on the Blu-ray disc are numerous and lengthy.

That being said, there are no new special features on the Blu-ray disc. From what I can tell, these are the same special features that were in the film's 2015 "Supreme Cinema Series" release, so if you picked up that version, you might want to seriously think before buying this release.

While these aren't new extras, there is still enough to entertain any fan of the film. There are special features about the visual style of the film and how the creators behind the comic books Valerian (yes, the same comic that is the basis of Besson's latest film) were not only an inspiration for Besson, but also a pivotal part of the design of the film. There are also featurettes on Willis, Jovovich and Tucker, as well as various screen tests for Milla. Another collection of featurettes focuses on the different aliens found in the film, how they were designed, how they were created, and the various trials and tribulations that came out of bringing them to life. There is also a featurette on the film's unique fashion, all a product of Jean-Paul Gaultier, and obviously so if you know his work. The list of extras also includes a focus on The Diva and her scene, as well as the special effects used in the film.

Like I said, The Fifth Element has a lot of special features packed onto it's Blu-ray disc, but if you've picked up the previous release with these extras, then their presence won't do much to sway you into dropping the extra money on the 4K version of this film, especially since the upscaling has a tendency to make the movie feel just a bit more fake.

If, on the other hand, you don't have The Fifth Element, but have been a fan, this could be the one to pick up, provided you already have a 4K setup and are looking for fun films to fill out your library.



-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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