Kaitlin’s Staff Pick: The Fifth Element

Jul 21, 2017 by Nick Staff on The Nickelodeon Blog

This July, our Operations Manager Kaitlin McKnight chose Luc Besson’s visionary and outrageous film, The Fifth Element. Here, she explains how she first encountered the film and the new (and old) reasons why she still loves the film today.

The first time I saw Ruby Rhod (Chris Tucker) slide onto the screen in a leopard jumpsuit and tall-boy shaped pompadour I was enamoured, I was also 8 years old.  I was technically too young given the film’s PG-13 rating, but I was a latchkey kid with cable and my parents were none the wiser.  I sat mesmerized as the film’s wide-eyed, alien hero Leeloo (Milla Jovovich) saved the world from great evil and found love with an action hero/ taxi driver (Bruce Willis) amidst the pitiless mechanization of earth in 2263 A.D., all while sporting super cool gold lamé pants and orange suspenders. That same year, I witnessed Jack and Rose consummate their relationship in a foggy car in Titanic (1998) and took my first dip into David Lynch’s mind with Lost Highway (1997).

Now as I rewatch The Fifth Element as an adult, I laugh at Gary Oldman’s over-the-top accent and definitely take issue with the love story’s patriarchal tendencies, but still can’t resist the vibrant sci-fi visual medley that just won’t quit. The bright colors, ornate costumes and overall pop aesthetic that permeate the film’s bizarre future are largely attributable to The Fifth Element’s creative team: haute couture designer Jean-Paul Gaultier and comic book artists Jean Giraud (aka Moebius) and Jean-Claude Mezieres.  The resulting vision of the future is dynamic and bizarre, far more carnivalesque than the austere future offered by film’s like 2001: A Space Odyssey (screening at the Nick on August 20.) The costuming and set design are some of the most ostentatious and intriguing you’ll see, and really stand the test of time 20 years later.


This movie is a wild, visual delight and I recommend never taking it too seriously. For the longtime fans, sci-fi purists and curious adventurous out there — just sit back and soak it all in.  

Big Bada Boom!