Not another "Bruce Willis saves the world… again" action flick.
Well no- this is a stylish and engaging movie and this special edition brings out the best in the sound, colour and overall atmosphere truly intended by the Director.
Bruce Willis is a New York cabbie in the 23rd century who gets mixed up in a quest to track down the mysterious fifth element which alone can save Mankind from imminent destruction by an evil force threatening to engulf the Earth. His adventure begins when a beautiful young woman drops into his cab (literally) while being pursued by the police and from there on he has to contend not only with the Law but with a mysterious priest (Ian Holm), a lunatic gangster (Gary Oldman) and a bunch of hairy aliens.
The plot threatens to go off the rails occasionally but there's no shortage of action and humour, especially when towards the end it becomes almost Die Hard in space. In fact, Element is more of a comedy than anything else, although it draws obvious themes and visual images out of other SF films from Total Recall to Blade Runner to 12 Monkeys and even Stargate. Like them, this is an intensely visual movie, with some spectacular special effects. The design of ships and aliens are very different from many traditional science fiction films, which gives the movie a very unique feel. And many of the scenes are simply breathtaking, add to this the outlandish costume designs provided by Jean-Paul Gaultier and this is simply a beautiful film to look at. And it's all complemented by Eric Serra's hauntingly beautiful score.
Writer/director Luc Besson (La Femme Nikita) reportedly had $90 million to play with, and most of it clearly went into elaborate costumes, lavish effects and massive battle and chase sequences. His distinctive visual flare is certainly present, and his vision of the future is painted in bold, bright colours.
And so to the plot (which is at times full of giant holes). A set of stones that represent the four elements (fire, water, earth, wind) - when combined with a mysterious "fifth element" - are the key to the protection of earth from ultimate evil. In early twentieth century Egypt the stones are collected by the Mondoshawan race and taken for safe-keeping for when evil returns. Now fast forward to the 23rd century and evil has indeed returned, in the shape of a planet-like entity on course to destroy the earth. Priest Vito Cornelius (Ian Holm) assures the President that the Mondoshawan will return with the stones to save the Earth. En route though, they are ambushed by Mangalores, mercenaries working for the evil Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg (Gary Oldman) who wants the stones for himself. But from the Mondoshawan wreckage a new life is cloned in Leeloo (Milla Jovovich); escaping the clutches of the scientists who "created" her she falls literally into the cab of Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis). Leeloo is the key to preventing the evil forces from their destruction; but she needs help, so together with Dallas they battle to retrieve the stones and repel evil.
For the acting, Gary Oldman's Zorg is a suitably over-the-top bad guy, Bruce Willis does what he does best, and Milla Jovovich is perfect as the girl who can save the world from ultimate evil.