Summer is upon us, and with the hotter weather comes summer superhero movies and trailers for all sorts of upcoming action-adventure fare. The trailer for Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, for example, seems like it could be a fun video game, with its bright, oversaturated CGI colors, and it definitely seems like a great summer flick for the kids. However, the film’s plot looks like the standard defeat-the-evil, save-the-world kind of schtick, and I’m not sure if there’s anything else about it to make it seem more interesting.
The Fifth Element is one of those movies that it often seems like everyone likes.From the comic book visual aesthetic to the ostentatious yet believable nature of the universe, there is a lot to love about this flick. It is also a film that plays with tropes and genre staples in almost every scene. It could be said to be the opposite of a film like Young Frankenstein, which is a parody film that loves its genre; Fifth Element is a genre film that loves its parody. But while he employs many tropes, director Luc Besson seems to be deconstructing and analyzing those very cliches in a way that often makes the result truly brilliant.
One of the things that gets dissected in this fashion is gender. The way that gender and heroism are intertwined in sci-fi is a constant presence in almost any scene in which there is significant development of the protagonists, Leeloo and Korben Dallas. While these moments sometimes play into expectations and brush with actual tropiness, they also make some crucial points in a way that resonates with an unusually diverse audience.
My primary focus will be three things: Bruce Willis as the “generic action hero”, The Supreme Being as a female archetype, and of course, Ruby Rhod.