Minor Thoughts on The Fifth Element
Popped in The Fifth Element yesterday while doing some cleaning, which meant I cleaned for fifteen minutes, and then stood transfixed by the television for the last 2 hours of the flick.
Just a couple thoughts:
I have movies that become non-apology movies for different actors. They are roles or performances that I enjoy so much, for any variety of reasons, that they flip the needle over to "I love them, and they'll never need to apologize for any performance ever again." The Fifth Element has that for a couple different folks.
The first is Gary Oldman. And let me say this: I appreciated Gary Oldman before Fifth Element. He's a chameleon, and an incredible actor. But for me, Fifth Element cemented in my mind that as much of a tremendous artist Gary Oldman is, he's still able to go out and be silly. And Jean-Baptiste Zorg is a cartoon villain made real. He is funny, and terribly silly. And from the looks of things, amazingly fun to play. Had a conversation with my buddy Alex, one time, in which we were talking about comic actors taking dramatic roles, and saying "if you think it's not a gift to be funny, go watch De Niro try to do comedy." And I think it ties a little bit into the ability to be silly. De Niro's never really done silly well (he gets close in Stardust), but Oldman does silly incredibly in The Fifth Element. It's hard to think of Oldman having a bad outing, but Fifth Element makes it so that he gets a pass.
The other is Chris Tucker. I love Chris Tucker in Fifth Element. Again. Silly. Outlandish costumes that he just owns 100 percent. Loud. Screaming. Bug eyes that are bigger than life. He just makes me laugh. Now, at first glance, I was thinking that Tucker might have greater potential for making material to apologize for than Oldman, but looking through his IMDB file, there's not a lot bad there. Add to that his decision to head for the house after a couple huge paydays? Highly respectable. (Dude's made 2 Rush Hour movies in the past 11 years, and nothing else. It's not high art, but they're enjoyable, and he's not leaving a bunch of other crap lying around...I kinda like that).
So. Yeah. Milla Jovovich, Ian Holm, Tiny Lister and Bruce Willis are all fun in the flick, but those two guys listed above? Never have to apologize for another role.
Let me finish this post that while their performances are fun, they're not on the level of Val Kilmer in Tombstone. After playing Doc Holliday, Val Kilmer could run my family over with a lawnmower, and given his performance, I think I could probably forgive him....