The Fifth Element: Ultimate Edition Luc Besson

When The Fifth Element was originally released in 1997, it should have been the best comic book-styled science fiction flick ever. It is certainly one of the best looking films ever made and it must have a growing cult following for Sony to continually release "new" versions of the DVD. This, however, is the first with any extras, which are found on the second disk. The movie takes on the grand themes of an ultimate good battling the ultimate evil action adventure, with eye-popping aliens, a future of societal malfunction and an appropriate 23rd centuy representation of global commercialisation. The biggest problem with this wonderful dose of eye candy is its attempt to be a mainstream Hollywood blockbuster. Just a few too many cheesy moments (especially the very final scene) add a cringe factor to what should otherwise be regarded as an amazing film. French Director Luc Besson (The Professional, La Femme Nikita) ensures that this film doesn't take itself too seriously with heavy doses of humour, mainly centring around TV personality Ruby Rhod, who's obnoxiously over-played by Chris Tucker (which is probably the main reason why this film might be unwatchable for some). Bruce Willis is the perfect reluctant hero/cab driver who unwittingly becomes embroiled in the battle to save the world from destruction. Evil, by the way, is embodied by the crazy Gary Oldman. Then we have the earth's salvation packaged in the drop-dead gorgeous body of a 19-year-old Milla Jovovich, who is always scantily, although stylishly, clad. Since The Fifth Element is so visually stunning from beginning to end, you're going to want to watch this on a nice big screen with high end gear to get the full effect of this Superbit transfer. Besson did not support the idea of creating DVD extras, commentary track, etc., so it took until 2005 for this 1997 film to include some of these. A series of low production value documentaries are prepared, with all those involved talking about Besson. This project was Besson's labour of love since he was 16 years old, but Besson is nowhere to be found. The documentaries kick off with the most important aspect of this film: its visual style and how it all sprang from the minds of French comic book artists and Heavy Metal founders Moebius and Mézieres. Every set, costume, alien, vehicle, gun and haircut was conceived of as a comic book illustration. The challenge of morphing these creations into a live motion picture is covered in the "Digital" and "Alien Element" documentaries. It is interesting to note in this pre-CGI period the aliens are real costumes with no augmented digital trickery. Even the set of New York City is a real miniature model and not a digital backdrop. An extensive interview with wardrobe designer Jean Paul Guathier covers the outrageous costumes. The stars talking on the extras are Willis, Tucker and Jovovich, in addition to a surprise interview with the woman who played the enchanting blue alien Diva. It turns out the Diva was Besson's fiancé going into the film and was upset that her big opera house performance scene ended up on the cutting room floor as it was inter-cut with scenes of Jovovich fighting. Yes, the same 19-year-old Mila Jovovich the director was shagging by the film's completion. Oh, the drama. (Columbia Sony)