Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Fifth Element

OK, just a warning that I LOVE this movie and have parts of it memorized so this is an entirely biased post.
The Fifth Element made me happy on account that it took the part of the Messiah character and made the Messiah a woman. Compared to Dune, I prefered this interpretation of the Messiah character because it's more consistent with the ideals I feel are necessary to be a "good" messiah. For example, Leeloo (don't know how to spell it) is concerned with peace and, though she will protect herself, was seriously disturbed when she saw what humans had done over the past few thousand years since she had last been summoned.
She also provided a neat interpretation of what made a Messiah. She was a human, but she was enhanced to be a Super Human, rather than just given special powers. I've always seen the role of the Messiah as the ideal human, rather than a being that is beyond human and simply possesses different types of mental abilities. Leeloo had some faults, just as any human would, but they don't prevent her from saving the world, they just cause her to question why, which is a good thing. People who don't question why they do various actions can often make mistakes.
The different roles of prophet, priest, and evil are also interesting interpretations. For example, there is no concrete "evil" character, just a presence that leads to evil things, interpreting the fact that everyone had the opportunity to be good, but that they can be influenced by different incentives. The evil presence and its ability to influence others to prevent the reappearance of the fifth element showed how temptations have influenced people over time. There was also the fact that she had to come back over and over in order to defeat the evil. Evil was defined as the destruction without care of everything that lived, and, as such, had to be destroyed and couldn't be reasoned with.
As a film, the various roles of women was vaguely amusing. Though one of the central characters was a woman, the rest were males, and women were frequently the object of fantasies (such as the flight attendants) who were easily manipulated. Even in the end, Leeloo had to be saved by a man and his love, rather than being independent. Though I believe this story is a step in the right direction as far as bringing women into stronger roles, there is still problems with the development and independence of women characters as a whole. Don't get me wrong, this movie rocks, but there're still problems with how it uses female characters.