The Fifth Element


‘The Fifth Element’ was filmed by Luc Besson in 1996 at the Studio “Gaumont”. It world premiere at the Cannes film festival May 7, 1997. The film’s budget was a mere 90 million dollars, but it was at the time the biggest-budget movie ever filmed outside of Hollywood and also the film with the most expensive special effects.

According to Besson, he began to think of the world of ‘The Fifth Element’ as a teenager. Much in the plot of Besson clearly inspired by the cartoon “Heavy metal” 1981), specifically his piece “Gary canyon”.

“I started to write at 16 and shoot at 30, so I had the time to think about it,

“But when I started to write at 16 it was more like a novel. It was not a film in my head. I never thought about making a film of it. So it was a novel for a long time and then, at a certain point, 10 years later, I said, ‘You know what? I would love to make a film of that.’ But I started changing a lot of things because a novel is really different.”

– Luc Besson in an interview with Nerdist.

He was also influenced by the prominent French comics series “Valérian and Laureline” (written by Pierre Christin and illustrated by Jean-Claude Mézières), which became another of Luc Besson’s space opera projects that resulted in ‘Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets’ released last year.

‘The Fifth Element’ is an absolute classic of Science Fiction. It’s action, comedy, romance, drama contained within a shell of great sci-fi. Gary Oldman’s performance as the Villain Jean Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg is nothing short of terrific. The sets are fantastic and full of color. At a time when all sci-fi was grey and boring, the Fifth Element was a wild ride of colors and design that still stands apart more then twenty years later.

Mr. Shadow

In this clip (above) we see “Evil”, or as he refers to himself “Mr. Shadow” (aka “Anti-Life”, the “Anti-Lifeforce”, the Great Evil). A moon-sized star-like entity bent on the destruction of all life everywhere. When Mr. Shadow is attacked by three large Earth warships that unleash multiple salvos of evidently nuclear capacity, his surface liquefied in anticipation of the attack and he absorbed the shots, which made him increase in size many times over until the ships no longer had the capacity to destroy him.

This article is part of the series Iconic Scenes from Science Fiction