Fifth Element, The (Directors Suite) (Blu-ray) (1997)

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Released 17-Aug-2010

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Sci-Fi Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Making Of
Featurette-Alien Element
Featurette-Fashion Element
Featurette-Digital Element
Featurette-Visual Element
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 125:53
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Luc Besson

Madman Entertainment
Starring Bruce Willis
Gary Oldman
Ian Holm
Milla Jovovich
Chris Tucker
Luke Perry
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $39.95 Music Eric Serra

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement Unknown
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    OK, I am not going to write any more about this wonderful film. The focus here should be on the fact that this is now the third release of this film on Blu-ray locally, following the rubbish one from Sony , the much better one from Sony and now this version in the Madman Director's Suite. This is the first Blu-ray edition to include significant extras which are somewhat similar (but not the same) as the extras on the  Collector's Edition DVD, which I reviewed a few years ago. If you are really keen we also have archive reviews of the  original DVD version and  the superbit DVD version.

    The best way to explain where this edition sits is a three way comparison between the most recent Blu-ray from Sony, this Blu-ray and the Collector's Edition DVD (although it is only useful to compare extras with the DVD edition).

  Remastered Sony Blu-ray Madman Director's Suite Blu-ray Sony Collector's Edition DVD
Video AVC Codec. Excellent quality for a film of this age. Based on screen shots this seems to be the same transfer as the remastered Sony Release or if not, very similar. It's certainly the best I have seen this film look. N/A
Audio English Linear PCM 5.1 (plus DD5.1 and the same repeated in Spanish) English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 only (despite what the case says). N/A
Extras Fact Track Only Making Of (not on any other local edition)

Lots of Featurettes from the Collector's Edition (see below for details),

Theatrical Trailer (not on any other local edition).

Does NOT include the Fact Track or many other extras from The Collector's Edition (see list in next column)

Fact Track plus the following items in addition to the extras ported to the Madman Blu-ray.
  • Loads of test footage including Milla Jovovich, costumes, creatures etc
  • Chris Tucker featurette
  • The Diva featurette & test footage
  • Poster Gallery

    So, what does all this mean? Well, completists will want to hang onto the Collector's Edition for the extras which have not moved over. The most important of these is probably the featurette on The Diva as the Chris Tucker one is more annoying than interesting. The test footage is interesting but you won't watch it more than once. However, this is certainly the best combination to date for local buyers as it includes a marvellous video transfer in 1080p, a great audio track in lossless Dolby TrueHD and the most important of the extras available including a Making Of which has not appeared locally before. In short, this is the best edition to date (until the next one).

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    The video quality is excellent for a film of this age and is based on a very clean print (unlike some previous Blu-ray releases of this film).

    The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is encoded using the AVC codec. Leaving aside the obvious increase in definition and clarity this version is based on a cleaner print than the Collector's Edition DVD (and that was much better than other versions).

    The picture was very clear and sharp throughout certainly the best I have ever seen this film look. Shadow detail was excellent. The colour was excellent, very vibrant with the colours of this wonderful movie jumping off the screen. Flesh tones were very natural.

    There was some very minor telecine wobble as mentioned in our review of the previous Blu-ray but this is so minor as to be nearly invisible to all but the most pernickety viewers.

    There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired which were clear and easy to read.


Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The audio quality is also excellent. This is the best I have heard this movie sound.

    This DVDs contains one audio option, an English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack despite the fact that the case refers to it being LPCM. According to reviews of Blu-rays with both soundtracks the difference is not noticeable between the LPCM and TrueHD options.

    Dialogue was very clear and easy to understand.

    The wonderful music by Eric Serra really jumps out on this soundtrack.

    The surround speakers were used really well throughout for atmospherics, crowd scenes, action scenes, gunfire, landing spacecraft, etc. The DVD sound was pretty good for this film but this Blu-ray is so much better especially in the rear speakers (and the definition of the dialogue). The subwoofer was also used really well throughout during gunfights, explosions, the approach of the black star and much more.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     A nice selection of extras which includes one important new extra for our local region and the majority of the important stuff from The Collector's Edition (see above for full comparison). Despite the case listing them as standard definition, my Blu-ray player sees them as 1080/24p using the AVC codec. The extras ported from the Collector's Edition are longer than the PAL versions on those discs, which were shortened by PAL speedup. There are no subtitles on the extras.


    The menu includes action and music.

The Making of The Fifth Element (25:51)

    This is a great addition which has not previously appeared on any local release of this film (to my knowledge). Luc Besson hosts this very interesting making of featurette which includes information about casting, shooting, stunts, visual effects, costumes, the director's approach to the actors and lots of behind the scenes footage including outtakes. Definitely worth watching. 1.33:1.

The Star Element - Bruce Willis (4:30)

    An interview with Bruce Willis probably from closer to the time the movie was shot than now. He discusses acting, his role choices and working with Luc Besson. Not bad but no major insights either. Presented non 16x9 enhanced.

The Star Element - Milla Jovovich (13:20)

    A more contemporary interview with Milla Jovovich discussing the audition process, screen tests, working with the director, rehearsals, learning Leeloo's language, problems with the bright Orange hair, costumes, how she coped with the action sequences and how the role affected her career. Quite interesting.

The Alien Element - Mondoshawans - Featurette (8:34)

    An interesting featurette about how these creatures were designed and built. If you don't recall, these are the good guys. Also covers the strange requirements for the actors who would work inside them. Includes interviews with Nick Dudman, the Creature Effects Supervisor and others. Presented 16x9 enhanced.

The Alien Element - Mangalores - Featurette (10:12)

    A featurette on the design and build for the bad guys. Again includes interviews with Nick Dudman, the Creature Effects Supervisor and others. Interesting Stuff.

The Alien Element - Picasso - Featurette (4:28)

    A featurette on the design and construction of Zorg's strange little pet, Picasso. Covers the animatronics, silicon skin and how it interacted with Gary Oldman. Interesting.

The Alien Element - Strikers - Featurette (3:12)

    A featurette on a creature which did not make the final cut of the film. These were the garbage workers who were on strike causing the large pile of garbage at the airport. Fascinating how much work went into something which got dropped.

The Fashion Element - Featurette (8:06)

    An interview with Jean-Paul Gaultier about his designs for the film. Seems to have been recorded at the same time as the Bruce Willis interview. He is quite forthright and covers how he found working for someone else, costume budgets in films and his design process. Includes some of his preliminary sketches. Definitely of interest.

The Digital Element (10:13)

    A featurette covering the work done on the film by Digital Domain. Includes interviews with the Visual Effects Supervisor, Mark Stetson, and other crew members. Covers how the various stunts were shot including Leeloo's jump and the use of miniatures for New York. Good stuff.

The Visual Element - Featurette (19:11)

    A very interesting featurette about the two comic book authors, Mezieres & Moebius, whose work was an influence on Luc Besson's thinking about design. He decided to employ them to do the production design for the film. This featurette includes interviews with both of them about the design process. Presented 16x9 enhanced. Newly made in 2004.

Theatrical Trailer (1:33)

Other Madman Trailers



R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This edition pretty much makes our local Blu-ray release the best available globally, despite not having the LPCM option. It is the first Blu-ray release with any significant extras, so bravo to Madman! UPDATE : Based on user comment (see below) it seems there is a German release with a very significant set of extras.


    A great sci-fi action comedy from Luc Besson.

    The video quality is excellent for a film of this age. The audio quality is excellent.

    The set has a good quality collection of extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Monday, September 13, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplayLG Scarlet 42LG61YD 106cm Full HD LCD. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into BD player. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Lots of extras in German edition. - JB REPLY POSTED
3rd Version? - Shane A REPLY POSTED
Video quality - Same or better? - MickJT REPLY POSTED
Video quality identical to Sony - Tom (read my bio) REPLY POSTED
Does this version's video look like...? - Chris A.