It would appear that the world didn’t end, so you can stop watching Melancholia. I am going to take a break this holiday, and I suggest you take one and load up The Fifth Element on Netflix.
I realize that most of you don’t think of The Fifth Element as a Christmas film. The film was a blockbuster back in 1997, and I dismissed it as trash when I first saw it. Back then, I didn’t really like any film that showed nudity, but I don’t think that the quick topless shot in this film is enough to ban it. Granted, most of the women in this film were scantily dressed, and I see that as the film’s only flaw.
As far as the thematic elements go, The Fifth Element is completely Christian in nature. I don’t even think that is deliberate, and perhaps I am reading too much in this film. I do want to explain myself, but there is a lot of spoilers, which means you should read the rest of this after the jump. Oh, and watch the movie first.
The Fifth Element is like most science-fiction epics as it presents a future that is pretty dark. In 250 years, New York will be so overpopulated that most will live in rooms no bigger than cubicles. Crime is rampant as muggers often wait outside the door to rob people who just want to leave their home. There is some sort of police state that requires all citizens to have yellow circles on their wall, just so you can place your hands on them when the cops come to the door.
In this midst of this dystopia is an odd mythos. Apparently, Earth get invaded by a being of living fire every 5,000 years, and the only way of stopping it is with a Fifth Element, who was given to Earth by funny-looking fat metal aliens. These aliens are about to deliver the Fifth Element, or Supreme Being, when their ship is destroyed by other renegade aliens.
Fortunately, human beings have some cloning technology that allows them to clone the Supreme Being, who turns out to be a brightly-orange haired lady named Leeloo. She crosses paths with Korben Dallas, a driver of a flying taxicab who is now set to save the world.
The film has enough action and excitement to fill any summer blockbuster. The effects, especially the one of the mid-air car chase scene, were like nothing ever seen during its time. Bruce Willis plays the part of the ordinary man caught up an insane scenario well, and there are scenes where he engages the alien armies that look like one of his most finest movies: Die Hard.
The Christian element is oddly here. At the end of the film (spoiler alert) Leeloo has to be placed in a special chamber to stop the living fire from eradicating all life on Earth. The main characters learn that these special stones have to be arranged about her that represent the four elements of Earth, Fire, Wind, and Water. At first, they don’t know how to activate them, but they soon figure out that you have to put the element it represents on the stone. For example, you have to blow wind on the Wind stone, pour water on the Water stone, etc. The four elements were working fine, but they main characters can’t figure out how to activate Leeloo, the Fifth Element.
Eventually, Korben realizes that he must love Leeloo, and apparently, love is the element that conquers death. It was years before I realize the significance of the ending. Granted, I might be reading too much in this film that has everything that celluloid produces, aforementioned pretty girls and all.
Still, I believe that the aspect of love conquering death is really what Christianity is all about. If we look at Leeloo as a symbol of the Messiah, then she embodies the aspect of grace. Grace that must be activated by love. In short, I believe that if we love God, then He will love us. This doesn’t means that He doesn’t love us unless we give it to us first. The important thing is that he loved us so much that the grace is already given, and we just have to claim it to activate it.
Yeah, a Merry Christmas to all. Let’s be thankful that there was a real Fifth Element who stopped death with the power of love. We’ll take this as the day to celebrate his birthday.