The Fifth Element (Directors Suite) (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 Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Four Directors Suite trailers
Featurette-Making Of-The Elements: The Making of The Fifth Element
Interviews-Cast-The Star Element: Bruce Willis & Milla Jovovich
Featurette-The Fashion Element
Featurette-The Fashion Element
Featurette-The Digital Element
Featurette-The Visual Element
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 120:44 (Case: 126)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (83:51)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Luc Besson

Madman Entertainment
Starring Bruce Willis
Gary Oldman
Ian Holm
Milla Jovovich
Chris Tucker
Luke Perry
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $34.95 Music Eric Serra

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English Alternate Subtitles
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     This review represents the fourth time that a DVD release of Luc Besson's 1997 science-fiction film The Fifth Element has been reviewed on this site. The first time was the original 1998 barebones release, the second was the 2003 Superbit release, the third was the 2005 Collector's Edition; this one is a two-disc release by Madman on their Directors Suite label.

     There is no need to cover again the plot of the film as that has been sufficiently covered before. At the very least, I will quote from the synopsis from the Sony official site of the movie which explains the plot of the film thus; 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. Now, 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.

     At this point of the review I must acknowledge the work of my fellow MichaelDVD reviewer Daniel Bruce for his extensive research for his 2005 Collector's Edition review of The Fifth Element and I wish to acknowledge my gratitude to the contribution that his review has made to this review. So, is this release on DVD better than the 2005 Collector's Edition? Read on to find out!

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Transfer Quality


     Similarly to the related Blu-ray release of the film by Madman, the transfer looks very good. The aspect ratio of The Fifth Element is 2:35:1, 16x9 enhanced.

     The image transfer looked sharp overall. Colour was vibrant, there is a strong primary colour scheme in the film. There are no film artefacts. The main presentation comes on the first disc of a two-disc set which houses the extras on the second disc. The first disc is 5.87 gb in size with an average bitrate of 6.4 m/b per sec. Comparatively, the 1998 release took up 4.12 gb of space on a single-layered DVD, the 2003 Superbit release was 6.93 gb in size. The Superbit and Collector's Editions had higher bitrates than this DVD, at 7.4 and 7.8 m/b per sec respectively.

     Subtitles are provided in English in default yellow or alternative white.

     The RSDL change occurs at 83:51 during a scene transition.

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


     Unlike the previous Superbit and Collector's Editions of The Fifth Element, this Madman Directors Suite label release does not contain a DTS 5.1 soundtrack.

     The main audio track is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 track encoded at 448 kbps. Despite the lack of a DTS soundtrack as per previous releases, this soundtrack still sounds superb. Dialogue is clear and synchronised. Eric Serra's soundtrack is reminiscent of North African music mainly.

     Surround Channel Usage really emphasises action sequences. The subwoofer is used often for explosions and armed battle, of which there are many such instances in this fine science-fiction/action film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Theatrical Trailer (1:32)

     The original trailer is included on disc one. It is 16x9 enhanced.

Directors Suite Trailers

     Four Directors Suite trailers are included on disc one for Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity, Alexander Sokurov's Russian Ark, Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai and Peter Brook's The Lord of the Flies.

The Making of The Fifth Element (24:50)

     Unlike the Blu-ray, this featurette is not full-frame, rather it is presented in a 1:66 aspect ratio, 16x9 enhanced. This 'making-of' featurette has Luc Besson making comments about how the film came to be made and includes behind-the-scenes footage. This extra is unique to this DVD release, it was not on the previous 2005 Region 4 collector's edition release.

The Star Element - Bruce Willis (4:19)

     This interview with Bruce Willis is a typical EPK featurette, promoting the actor essentially. This extra is not 16x9 enhanced.

The Star Element - Milla Jovovich (12:48)

     Milla Jovovich discusses how this role has affected her career and how she adapted to the unique demands for the role physically, with costumes and learning the 'divine' language.

The Alien Element - Mondoshawans - Featurette (8:14)

     Nick Dudman, creature effects supervisor, discusses the design and creation of making these good aliens come to life.

The Alien Element - Mangalores - Featurette (9:48)

     Nick Dudman again discusses how the evil forces, wishing to end humanity, were designed and made.

The Alien Element - Picasso - Featurette (4:18)

     This short extra looks at Zorg's (Gary Oldman) pet, Picasso.

The Alien Element - Strikers - Featurette (3:05)

     The garbage at the airport involved garbage men on strike, hence the debris in the airport scenes. Ultimately this back story was dropped.

The Fashion Element - Featurette (7:47)

     Jean-Paul Gaultier, the French fashion designer and wardrobe designer on The Fifth Element discusses the costumes and budgets (he made 954 costumes for the film!). This extra is not 16x9 enhanced.

The Digital Element (9:49)

     Digital Domain were the company that made the miniatures for the film, utilising hard-matte backgrounds to blend sequences. This extra shows how certain scenes were done.

The Visual Element - Featurette (18:26)

     French comics creators Jean Giraud(Moebius) and Jean-Claude Mézières are interviewed about their role as production designers on The Fifth Element.

R4 vs R1

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

     The Region 1 Collector's Edition is identical to the Region 4 Collector's Edition. The Region 2 United Kingdom - Pathe! Distribution Special Edition includes different extras:

     Although the Region 2 United Kingdom Pathe! release has comprehensive and unique extras, according to DVDBeaver the Region 2 release's image transfer is overexposed.

     The 2010 Madman Directors Suite 2-disc DVD release, in comparison to the previous Region 4 collector's Edition, misses out on:

     Therefore, The Region 1 and Region 4 Collector's Editions are the best available editions of The Fifth Element on DVD.


     If you have the previous Region 4 Collector's Edition on DVD than keep your copy as this release by Madman does not supersede it. On the other hand, if you haven't picked up this film before this Directors Suite release features a good video and audio transfer and great extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© John Stivaktas (I like my bio)
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S550 (Firmware updated Version 020), using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA46A650 46 Inch LCD TV Series 6 FullHD 1080P 100Hz. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-K1000P. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationSony HTDDW1000
SpeakersSony 6.2 Surround (Left, Front, Right, Surround Left, Surround Back, Surround Right, 2 subwoofers)

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