The Fifth Element 4K Blu-ray
Summary: New York cab driver Korben Dallas didn’t mean to be a hero, but he just picked up the kind of fare that only comes along every five thousand years: A perfect beauty, a perfect being, a perfect weapon. Together, they must save the world. Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, and Gary Oldman star in acclaimed director Luc Besson’s outrageous sci-fi adventure, an extravagantly styled tale of good against evil set in an unbelievable twenty-third century world. Now presented in full 4K resolution, experience this dynamic action favorite like never before.
Movie Review: For 20 years now, The Fifth Element has been demo content for home video enthusiasts. It was one of the first two DVDs I bought with my DVD player back in 1998 and one that we’ve been upgrading since. The movie itself remains a fantastic Sci-Fi adventure, with everyone in the cast delivering in their role. Sure, on the 15th viewing some of the earlier scenes can drag out a tiny bit, but pretty soon they are over and you’re back to the action. Virtually everyone that is going to purchase this disc has probably seen the movie, many more than even I have, but for those that have not know that it does not disappoint.
Technical Review: As with all films 20 years ago, The Fifth Element was shot on film, and many of the VFX appear to be more old-school optical effects than CGI. To get this out of the way, the transfer of the film is fantastic. There is more detail and clarity than you’ve ever seen before, and colors are rich and true. Overall this is a truly fantastic looking title, but I will get picky about a few things in the image.
As with some other titles that have been converted to HDR later on, it just doesn’t look great. The use of highlights is sparse, but in those cases I find myself wishing they’d just kept it SDR or toned it down so it didn’t distract. On scenes where you have a large block of a single color (the shot of Korben’s cat on his bed as he leaves stands out) you can see the film grain and it looks like sparkles. I didn’t notice the grain most of the time, but a few times it stood out, but I’d rather have that than losing detail. Finally, one shot near the end looked to be graded a bit darker than on the previous Blu-ray versions, but that’s not a big deal and it passes fast. I hesitate a bit on giving this a 5/5 for image quality because of these tiny issues, but I’m not sure they could actually improve upon these. Unlike Unforgiven, where there were clearly things that could be improved upon, I think this is as good as the film will look.
The audio has also been a reference quality track for demos in the past, and now it is available in Dolby Atmos. Scenes take full advantage of this, with both ambient effects and action sequences using the height channels to deliver the full experience. The classic opera scene is as incredible as you expect it to be, and dialogue the whole time is easy to understand. For better or worse, I’ll probably be seeing this in demo rooms at CES and CEDIA for years to come.
Special Features: A featurette, “The Director’s Notes”.
Review System: 65” Sony A1E OLED, Samsung UBD-M9500 UltraHD Blu-ray Player, KEF Ci5160RL-THX Fronts, Ci3160RL-THX Center, 2x Ci200RR-THX Surrounds, 4x CI200RR-THX Atmos Speakers, Anthem MRX 1120 Receiver.