Sunday, October 31, 2010

Movie Sunday: The Fifth Element is better than Citizen Kane

And before anyone starts, yes I've seen Citizen Kane, and I thought it was incredible. That's how much I like The Fifth Element.

If you haven't seen Citizen Kane, I highly recommend that you do. Then you can make up your own mind.  Not only is it probably the most beautiful film ever made in black and white, I don't know that there has ever been a more eloquent or poignant character study on film. It's a movie with the depth of a book, and just writing this makes me want to see it again.

Having said all that, it is a black and white story about a rich guy. Let's review what's in The Fifth Element:
  • space travel, pyramids, and Mangalores
  • ultimate evil
  • the perfect being*
  • a descendant of David Lee Roth (I'm pretty sure that's who that is)
  • a descendant of Prince (just guessing on this one)
  • a blue chick that can sing
  • so much shit blows up
It is almost the perfect blend of romantic comedy, action movie, and morality play. Milla Jovovich is yummy,  and as far as I can tell, not enhanced, injected, or overly pilate'd. The effects are no longer cutting edge, but it all still holds up pretty well.

I know it has Bruce Willis as the lead, but it's as much Moonlighting Bruce Willis as "yippi ki-yay motherfucker" Bruce Willis. It just works. Actually, it's just about perfect casting all around.

So let's review. Citizen Kane is widely regarded as the best film ever made. The Fifth Element is even better. See them both. Then tell me you don't want to visit Fhloston Paradise.

I'm pretty sure if I say "leeloodallasmultipass" one more time, Biscuit is going to brain me with a skillet. And I wouldn't blame her.


  1. this makes me feel like a dweeb because i've never seen "Fifth Element". i do like things getting blown up, and a singing blue chick is a bonus. i would probably tolerate bruce willis for all that...

  2. Daisyfae, sleep well tonight - I'd never even HEARD of the "fifth element". But I can go for space travel, Dave Lee Roth (YES!) and Prince. I might even see it one day.

  3. I liked 'Fifth Element,' seen it a few times. I LOVE 'Citizen Kane,' and there's a reason it is still studied in Film 101 in colleges and Universities all over the no, can't stroll down this path with you...but you know that...I like the shadow play and elements of 'Casablanca' just as well as 'Kane' ...

  4. I've always thought that The Fifth Element was better than Citizen Kane. In fact, as good as Citizen Kane is, I have never understood the mega-hype about it. By the time I finally got around to watching it about a year ago, it felt like such a let-down. I guess I was expecting something really spectacularly amazing (like The Fifth Element), but instead I got something that was only really good. Maybe I missed something?

    My most favorite part of the development of The Fifth Element is that the villain (Zorg) and our hero (Dallas) never actually meet throughout the film. They come within seconds a couple of times, but it never happens. In fact, each of them is only barely even aware of the other's existence. And most people who've seen the film several times don't even realize this, that's how tight the storytelling is. I love it, so much.

    And I was really pleased with the casting. Milla Jovovich is perfect, just like you described her. :)

  5. What you said!!!

    -though I'm a little puzzled by the comments.(Haven't seen Fifth Element? Think Citizen Kane is just okay? Really?)

    I just saw Red, and will be posting about it.

    Fifth Element is better than that, too

  6. First of all, fuck Citizen Kane. bored shitless. Without shit. I've tried watching it, because it's historically relevant and important and I love movies, but it bores the crap out of me and any movie that I have to TRY at automatically fails. Boring. Bored. Pass out, snore yourself awake, realize you only missed three minutes of the movie and then get angry because IT IS SO BORING.

    Really can't change my mind on that one.

    Now I can get behind Korben Dallas, because Fifth Element is awesome.

  7. daisyfae: I assume you have corrected this oversight by now. If not, run, don't walk to your Netflix queue.

    pueblo: Your location and lifestyle excuse you from any ridicule for not having seen Fifth Element. But if you ever get the chance...

    wye: I assumed you would feel this way. I suspect you may have been born in the wrong half of the 20th century.

    Jane: I think Citizen Kane suffers from the same problem with younger people as pretty much everything else created before 1970. The pacing is too deliberate, and there is too much context, for today's attention spans. It's like reading books from centuries past that go on and on about the scenery. It's just not something most readers can enjoy, because it's not the world they live in.

    Two: great minds...

    Rassles: you know you should be writing these, right? Not only because of your naturally elegant writing style, but because you know like 100 times more about movies than I do, despite the fact that I'm twice your age and watch three or four movies a week.