Get ready to feel old, millennials. The Fifth Element, Luc Besson’s classic sci-fi epic, turns 25 this year, and Sony Pictures is celebrating with special theatrical screenings on June 26 and 29, according to Collider. Fans will be able to see Bruce Willis once more on the big screen in one of his best roles; as well as one of the most defining films of the 1990s. The screenings will be held through Fathom Events, and tickets can be purchased through their website by clicking right here. Tickets will also be available at the box office, if still available. Over 800 theaters nationwide will hold screenings, with a full list on the Fathom website. The screenings will also include a new interview with Besson and outtakes from the film.
The film, which made its debut at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997, remains popular to this day, thanks to its balance of Luc Besson’s futuristic vision with stunning visuals, which still rival what we see on theater screens today. It tells the story of a future Earth threatened by a powerful alien force. The only person who can stop them is the mysterious being Leeloo, played by Milla Jovovich in a breakthrough role. Leeloo needs the help of wise-cracking cab driver Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis), who must aid her in completing her journey and save the world. Standing in their way is the evil Zorg, played by Gary Oldman in a fantastic performance.
The cast is near-perfect, with Bruce Willis in the lead. The two-time Emmy winner was in the prime of his career, having just come off three Die Hard Films and his iconic performance in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. The Fifth Element was his second attempt at daring, different sci-fi, having starred in Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys in 1995. Jovovich’s iconic look in the film (with her barely-there white bands outfit) is still talked about to this day, and Oldman’s performance is oddball perfection, which is no surprise, as he turned in another memorable performance in Besson’s The Professional. And we can’t forget the screeching performance by Chris Tucker as Ruby Rhod, who seems a little too much like today’s social media influencers.
The film also include great performances from three actors who have since passed. Ian Holm (Alien, The Lord of the Rings) who died in 2020, plays a wonderfully eccentric monk trying to help Bruce Willis. The film is also bolstered by Luke Perry (who died in 2019) and Tommy “Tiny” Lister, Jr. (who died in 2020), who played the president in a small but hilarious role. Initial responses to the film’s strange-looking trailer were mixed; although the film boasted a fantastic cast, and Luc Besson had a strong following due to the success of The Professional. Audiences weren’t quite sure of what they were getting. Once the film opened, however, the response was almost universally positive.
The film would be nominated for a single Oscar, for Best Visual Effects, although it did not win. It did far better with the French counterpart to the Academy Awards, the César Awards. It was nominated for eight Césars, and won three: Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Production Design. The film is available (with a fantastic transfer, by the way) on 4K UHD for home viewing, but The Fifth Element remains one of the few movies that should be experienced on a big screen, to fully appreciate the visuals. It remains one of Bruce Willis’ most iconic roles, and given his recent retirement over health issues, fans can relive and appreciate one of his best performances in a theater once more.