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The Fifth Element

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Beginning in 1914 set in ancient Egypt, two archaeologists are studying a wall with prehistoric hieroglyphics. An alien ship later lands outside the pyramid in which the two archaeologists as well as others are. Several alien like creatures depart from the ship and waddle into the pyramid slowly. Following the arrival of the creatures, they then move up to the wall covered in writings and produce a key. Steadily the creature inserts the key into a slot in the wall, which is completely unnoticeable. Doors open and four elements, air, earth, fire and water, all known to man, surround a fifth.

The fifth, the mystery, the unknown. Having collected up all five elements they are put into boxes. Unluckily the doors start to close. However the creatures do not make it out of the door quick enough and it closes upon them. Luckily the key in which was used earlier pokes through a gap. A priest receives the key and leaves. Around 300 years later in Brooklyn, New York the fifth element is taken to a scientific research centre and placed into a tube like container. A general puts his security card into a slot. A button is pressed and the generic molecules of the element have constructed a young looking woman.

Awoken in distress [Milla Jojovich] the fifth element screams in an unknown language. The general makes his way over to the container whilst teasing Jojovich with the key. However Jojovich reacts with the teasing and gives the general the general an evil look. Suddenly out of nowhere Jojovich produces enough strength to break through the glass and retrieve the card. Jojovich escapes from the container and then through the ventilation system. Jojovich is led from the ventilation system to a ledge outside of the building.

Jojovich is nervous and distressed whilst looking as the new futuristic New York. A number of police had followed Jojovich and had also ended up on the ledge of the building. Having been unable to communicate with Jojovich, the police phone in for fly car to go and seize her. The car turns up in front off Jojovich and tries to determine who or what she is. Jojovich makes a crazy attempt to escape and jumps of the ledge of the building. Crashing into Korbin Dallas’ [Bruce Willis] cab he tries not to crash into any other cars and parks at the side of a building.

Looking into the back of his futuristic taxi he finds a young woman, the fifth element, lying on the back seat. A police car then turns up to recapture the fifth element. Nevertheless Willis does not cooperate, puts his car into manual and zooms away from the police. In a drastic chase to get hold of the fifth element, the police do everything in their power to get hold of the fifth element. The chase ends when Willis plunges into the fog at the bottom of the city and the police are unable to find them.

Luc Besson uses a fantastic range of shot types and camera angles, for example we get to see Jojovichs’ view of things when she escapes from the tube and tries to analyze all of the people who could be threats to her. Its pretty much robotic how she looks at everything due to the speed of what she is looking at. When she gets to the ledge of the building we get a tilt shot from when she looks down and back up, we really get a feeling of how high Jojovich really is. Another shot is when the camera moves with the motion of the car when Willis turns the steering wheel when trying to escape from the police.

It gives us a feeling of the speed and the angle in which Willis is driving at. We see one of Luc Bessons’ best shot the over the shoulder into the mirror shot. Besson used many of these shots in the sequence. Its really effective as it shows his view of the fifth element and also helps us to go further into the movie in more detail. There is a range of editing shot in the sequence like when there is a shot of the city, which is on for a reasonably long amount of time, which helps us develop an understanding for the enormity. However it gives us time to criticize the CGI (Computer Generated Image) effects.

When Willis is talking to Jojovich and the police car turns up in front of his car but behind him as he has turned around, his outline becomes blurred making us more interested to the car also alerting us that Jojovich has also noticed it because it would be in her view. These days sound technology is fantastically clear, but when this film was made it wasn’t the best. However Besson made the sound more effective and because it was bad it integrated really well into the film, like when Jojovich is first in the tube like container we hear the voice of the guard, which is muffled, and it makes us feel as though the camera is there with her.

This helps us identify with her as we see and hear things as she would. Also when she first escapes the tube we hear the robotic whirring when she is analyzing all the threats around her. It makes us feel that she is not much of a real human. We see the visual effects quite often in the sequence for example we see the CGI train speeding down the building from a low angle followed by a gust of wing that hits Jojovichs’ face. These events frighten us somewhat and keeps us on the edge of our seats.

There are loads of close ups of the little mechanical computers inside with buttons etc showing us that it is futuristic and technologically advanced than the present civilisation as we know. Music played a great deal in the sequence as most thrilling scenes had thrilling background music. When the fifth element escapes, the music incorporates the alarms and builds up, to the point where she bursts out of the room; it helps the tension and shows the urgency in the scenes.

The music in the car scene does not suit the event happening. It makes you feel as if nothing is going to go wrong. It also makes the chase more fun as well as interesting. Its pretty much as though they were having fun doing, and experiencing the chase. Script and dialogue can sometimes be funny as when things are said from one character to another that character does the opposite or something stupid. For instance the part where the policeman says “Thank you for your co-operation” insists that Willis is not going to co-operate.

It also as if the film is hinting the audience that he is going to try and escape. There is also irony in the sequence when Willis says “If they don’t chase you after a mile, they wont chase you at all” but to Willis’ dismay they continue to chase after the mile. So he comedically says “Maybe two miles”. I think that this film was planned out well to get all of the above to fit in nicely. There was not too much humour etc and not to little. I think that Luc Besson is an extremely talented film director to have made such a thrilling futuristic film.

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