This week is the 20th anniversary of that absurd, over-the-top science fiction romp "The Fifth Element." Here's why you should revisit one of the weirdest and most fun blockbuster films of the '90s.More
Alien opera just might be your new favorite musical genre after seeing this one.
Type "fifth element" into the YouTube search window, and one of the first things you'll encounter is a video entitled "Everything Wrong with The Fifth Element in 16 Minutes or Less." In it, a smug, fastidious narrator presents a monotonous laundry list of complaints about plot inconsistencies. To be clear, this is a movie about a cab driver in the year 2263 whose plan to save the world involves alien opera singers, magical stones, flying cars—all written by a French teenager! The point of this film is not to inspire rants during which viewers split hairs about plot. In fact, it is pointedly not a movie for the serious—which is exactly what makes it worth watching.
Evidence: Teens never stop thinking about fake IDs. They even write them into their movies.
Though director Luc Besson was 38 when the film was released, he was actually just 16 when he began writing it, which must explain, in part, why the film has such a wild, frenetic energy to it. The highest of stakes, devastatingly beautiful people, the power of love, a neon palette—this movie deals in the kind of wild fantasies you'd imagine would spring from the mind of a teenager, and it's all the more ridiculous and joyous for it.