Being one of my most favored Science Fiction Films, The Fifth Element achieves great success in its visual and special effects architecture.
Personally, from what I have seen, the world in which is built around the characters fundamentally emphasizes this notion of architectural imitation of specifically “Metropolis”. From the scene where Leeloo is edged on the side of the building, we can really see this world or city that is full of hovering cars and advanced technologies; however, the world also seems crowded, with buildings in close proximity with one another and the fact that they look old and run down. I think this is important because it shows that this world represents one that is beautiful and spectacular, but also one that is horrifying and fragmented.
This can also be reflected with Ghost in the Shell, which we just watched, as the city had both elements of high, tall, and advanced buildings but also those that are smaller, run down, and old.
I feel that this is integral to both the understanding of science fiction and the movie itself because of the fact that it shows that the environment and world can be seen as a ‘character’ in itself as it directly effects everything that surrounds it, including the physical characters.
This really reminds me of the “architecture of light” – something we studied in Cyborg Fictions a few years ago. I can’t remember all of it, but the soaring buildings and shining glass contribute to this architecture; which is a trademark of many cyberpunk and science fiction films. The cluster of buildings thrusting up into the sky signifies man’s achievements and the power that he holds through his ability to become more and more technologically advanced.
It’s also extremely phallic, but I digress.
I like how one can trace this idea of the shining city of lights right back to Metropolis – the influence is clear; there are only small variations in style throughout later movies, still adhering to the same visuals that were presented in Metropolis.
i have never seen The Fifth element. However, it is obvious that the stylicstic innovation is a significant part of the film.
the norm of a tidy or spotless image of a futuristic environment is not the case in this film. Instead of space and grey scale colours like in Brazil (1985), you have lots of colour, clutter and a very busy city.
The characters seem to still have very human, and relatable mannerisms and are easy to understand.
from watching that clip i would say that is have a few out of the box elements. in comparison to your average scifi film.
Elaborating on this notion
as the futuristic city landscape
as congested and run-down, I feel
City landscapes in science fiction film, seem to be encoded with either ideas of both efficiency, and freshness, such as “I, Robot” “2001” and to a lesser extent “A.I. Artificial Intellgience” or we have the dark, grittiness that seems to have resurged, and repopularized in recent years, such as “Chronicles of Riddick” “Titan A.E.” “Matrix” and older films like “Blade Runner” “Akira” and “Ghost in the Shell”.
I will elaborate on the difference between the two. Often, this bright futuristic environment, which connotes future efficiency and optimism. This presentation also has a humanistic overtone to it. It feels like, even as technology progress, and evolves, that the human component still remains. Differently, in movies mentioned with a gritty exterior, the cities are often presented as dark, congested, and dirty. It also represents a cold, non-empathetic world. They often have very tall buildings, very small rooms, and a dark-green tint (such as in the Matrix) or just darkness (like the noir in Blade Runner). These presentations are antithetical of one another. One represents a hopeful future, and the other is bleak. As far at the clips selected, I feel like Akira presents itself, in architecture, as being far more bleak and decayed. However, although more optimistic then Akira, 5th element still represents some social decay. Although, it is much more hopeful and optimistic, alluding to a cleaner, and more peaceful social atmosphere and environment than the other.