But The Fifth Element doesn't take itself too seriously. It's camp through and through. The acting is overboard, right down to a somewhat dumbfounded Tommy Lister playing President of, well, everything and Gary Oldman pulling out all the stops as the ridiculous Zorg, weird hairdo, accent, and all. It's as if the creators sat down one day and said, "How can we make this movie so ridiculous it's actually entertaining?" And it's that willingness to embrace the campy side of SF that makes The Fifth Element one of those rare humorous gems, memorable not for being a gamestopper like 2001: A Space Odyssey or Blade Runner, but for being that absurd movie we can all watch and love together. It never needed to be a good movie. It only ever needed to be that right mixture of camp and humor (a skill Joss Whedon has learned to master quite well).
Retro Nostalgia is the product of my compulsive re-watching of classic and/or quality science fiction and fantasy films (and their related components). In each feature, I'll cover some element of a particular film that interests me, sometimes from an academic perspective and other times as a simple fan. Previous columns can be easily found via the "Movie Rants" label.