The Fifth Element (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

The Fifth Element 4K UHD ReviewThe Fifth Element seems to be one of those films that is every sci-fi + A/V enthusiasts wet dream.  I’m not saying by any means it’s the greatest movie ever made, but you can definitely have fun with it if you allow it.  The film’s audio surround track has always been heralded as a favorite amongst home theater enthusiasts/fans.  This one practically screams 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray treatment so much so that I’m really shocked Sony didn’t release it last year.  Maybe they were waiting for the the all-new bonus featurette to be completed.  It’s even presented in 4K here.  In “The Director’s Notes: Luc Besson Looks Back” extra the acclaimed director discusses the origins and impact of the celebrated film.  Whatever the reason of delay for this historic 4K UHD release the day is finally among us and the wait is practically over.  Join me below in celebrating everything The Fifth Element releasing in glorious, eye-popping 4K Ultra HD July 11th.  Read on baby!

The Fifth Element 4K UHD Review


The Fifth Element is a weird one for me.  I know it’s a groundbreaking 1997 sci-fi-genre release and all, but I was not introduced to this gem until the inception of the Blu-ray format back in 2006.  I remember watching the first release of it on the Blu-ray format via a disc rental from Blockbuster Video.  Remember those days when you could go to actual video rental stores and rent movies?  I don’t know about you, but Redbox while convenient is just not the same.  However, I digress.  The reason for me telling you all of this is not only to remind you how messy that first release of The Fifth Element was on the then new Blu-ray format, but also to inform you how much I hated the movie.  I remember thinking to myself how stupid it was and wondering what everyone saw in it besides the surround audio experience of it all.  I don’t remember what the reason for me giving it a second chance was, but I remember picking up the reissue of it on Blu-ray that addressed the original release’s problems and for some reason or another I adored it.  Say what?  Yes, I’m very weird like that.  I typically hate most things the first time around.  Oh well.  I never said I was normal.

The Fifth Element 4K UHD Review

I got to say after researching this one a bit for this 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review I now don’t feel so bad for taking so long to write some of my own screenplays.  I was shocked to learn that Director Luc Besson started to write this one when he was just sixteen years old and it would ultimately be almost twenty more years before it was released in the theaters.  That’s a long time to tinker with a passion project, but I now admire the man even more for his tenacity and persistence.  You just have to in my opinion.  So in addition to the mastermind behind all of this the influential sci-fi classic stars Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich and Gary Oldman, and basically follows follows a cab driver who unwittingly becomes the central figure in the search for a legendary cosmic weapon that could destroy the world.

The Fifth Element 4K UHD Review

Although The Fifth Element is highly regarded and is one of the instant sci-fi classics for home theater enthusiasts it’s still a mixed bag of nuts that critically speaking of divides many.  Some people just can’t check their seriousness in at the front door and let go with the insanity of this one.  In addition to the sci-fi aspect of Fifth Element you could also say it possesses trace “elements” of comedy, action and fantasy too.  No doubt about it though it’s a weird one.  In addition my research has also shown that it has been called both the best and worst summer blockbuster of all time.  Interesting to note too is the fact that at the time of its release it was the most expensive European film ever made, and it remained the highest-grossing French film at the international box office until the release of The Intouchables dethroned it in 2011.  Just for the record books the film earned more than $263 million at the box office on a $90 million budget.  However for me, it’s all about the performances and the visual orgasm the film provides.  Orgasms aside I have not even talked about the other stars of the movie such as the hilarious Chris Tucker, 90210‘s Luke Perry, Ian Holm and more.

The Fifth Element 4K UHD Review

The Fifth Element is set in I believe the 23rd century.  As I already mentioned up above it kind of involves the survival of planet Earth against a weapon of mass destruction.  After a young and very mysterious woman, Leeloo (Jovovich), falls into taxicab driver Korben Dallas’ (Willis) car he reluctantly becomes a hero to all the world.  How does he do that?  Well there’s a lottery ticket involved, some magical singing by Chris Tucker’s character (LOL), but more importantly the recovery of four mystical stones essential to stop Earth from being invaded by an impending alien attack from above.  If it sounds far fetched to you, don’t worry.  It completely is!  And once you get that first watch under your belt you can then allow yourself to let loose and have loads of fun with this one on repeat viewings.  I do each and every time I take it in and it’s like death and taxes being the only guaranteed things in life as Chris Tucker always makes me laugh.

The Fifth Element 4K UHD Review

Now that Sony’s The Fifth Element is finally on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc I have one hell of a reason to celebrate in life.  I’ve been looking forward to this momentous occasion ever since the 4K remaster graced the 1080p Blu-ray format a few years back complete with the added Dolby Atmos track.  That release is reference in itself on the Blu-ray format.  For those familiar with it just imagine how much of a knockout it must be on 4K Ultra HD.  So without further ado let’s tackle the real reason you’re all here not to hear me proverbially mastrubate, but to learn first hand just how spectacular the UHD’s disc vitals really are.  Follow me down…

The Fifth Element 4K UHD Review


The below video score and related critique of things here are based solely upon my viewing of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of The Fifth Element with HDR.  It’s billed to be culled from from the 2015 4K scan of the original negative.  Just an FYI the 1080p Blu-ray of the film is the same 4K remastered version that was previously released a few years back, also from that aforementioned 2015 4K scan.  They’re both stunning in my opinion.

  • Encoding: HEVC / H.265
  • Resolution: 4K (2160p)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Clarity/DetailThe Fifth Element was already a looker in its 4K Remastered Cinema Series Blu-ray release in 2015, but rest assured things do look even better here in true 4K.  I didn’t think you could get much sharper than that stellar 2015 release, but Sony proves me wrong.  Obviously there’s a lot more to see here with the increased resolution, but it’s the overall improvements in fine detail and textures such as in engravings, metals, stone, fabric, clothing and stitching in them, facial complexions, pores, scars, beads of sweat and hair that are the real winners here. There’s so much more to list here, but i think you get the picture.  Get it?  The picture!  LOL.
  • Depth: Depth of field is exacerbated here due to the infinite level of fine detail and the way things gorgeously pop with three-dimensional quality in this presentation.  From the opening of the tomb in Egypt to when Corben holds his mugger at gunpoint things never once look flat throughout here.  It was almost like watching a 3D presentation.  It’s that perfect.
  • Black Levels: The black levels are outstandingly deep, dark and healthy thanks to introduction of HDR in this 4K presentation.  Absolutely nothing gets crushed or lost amongst the shadows.  You gotta love that!  Equally gorgeous are the deep, inky outer space shots too.
  • Color Reproduction: This one is a tough one to critique because if you’ve ever seen The Fifth Element before, most notably in its last Cinema Series release, you already know it’s a bright, vibrant one.  So I guess all you can really say here is the color gamut is widened slightly due to the HDR and of course the colors are brighter than ever.  They literally pop off the screen naturally speaking and I’m very cool with that!  For example, imagine how eye popping the alien opera singer’s blue skin is or Leeloo’s bright orange hair was in the Blu-ray release.  Now hold those two images in your cranium and visualize both of those examples in glorious 4K HDR.  Yeah baby!  Even Corben’s orange tank top reminds me of a refreshing can of Orange Crush soda.
  • Flesh Tones: The temperatures of the skin tones are healthy and lively in appearance.  No one ever looked unnatural, pale or worrisome, except the scales on the aliens of course.
  • Noise/Artifacts: The Fifth Element was originally shot on Super 35 so as you can imagine now in 4K the grain is a little more prevalent.  However, it’s nothing distracting to me like the Ghostbusters 4K release was.  It’s steady and very consistent unlike that other release I just mentioned.  I know I’m going to get blasted for saying that, but ha ha I don’t care.  Controversy just means more reads.  I’m good with that.  Also like The Ghostbusters 4K release the effects look a little more dated and digital in appearance.  However, unlike the Ghostbusters 4K disc they don’t look God awful.  After all this was made in 1997 unlike the early 80s for Ghostbusters.  In the end this 4K Ultra HD presentation of The Fifth Element is just a very pleasant film-like transfer and I’m super happy with it.  This is the definitive way it should finally look and feel.

The Fifth Element 4K UHD Review


Like I mentioned up above in the video section, the below audio score and critical comments of such are based solely upon my viewing of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of The Fifth Element.  Both the 4K UHD disc and the regular 1080p Blu-ray come equipped with a revolutionary, awe-inspiring Dolby Atmos surround track.  Before we begin dissecting the audio comments below let’s be honest with ourselves.  Did you really expect it to be anything less than spectacular?   I mean come on!  LOL.

  • Audio Format(s): Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible), French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
  • Dynamics: This bold Atmos surround track is one that every home demo environment and showroom setup should strive to emulate.  Everything is just so clear down to the single musical notes.  Don’t underestimate this one though.  Despite it’s age, this one is a loud, vivacious and kicking surround track.  Holy hell does it ever punch!  It’s all about being in the atmosphere of things here with The Fifth Element.    This dynamic surround track definitely puts you in the right state of mind.  Best of all too there’s always something going on, but not once does the dialogue ever get lost in the shuffle of things.  The score is constantly engaged throughout.  There’s a sense of both priority and directionality to everything going on in the screen from every explosion and moment of gunfire to the quietest of whimpers and tender scenes between Bruce and Milla.
  • Height: The height channels of this Atmos induced surround track ain’t no gimmick either.  They’re used exceptionally with examples such as: Leeloo jumping off the side of the building crashing into Dallas’ cab, the spaceship in the opening arriving over the temple, the score, police sirens, gadgets popping out of Zorg’s desk, gunfire shooting up and so much more.
  • Low Frequency Extension: The LFE channel shakes things up and mixes just the right amount of ingredients to penetrate deep and ferociously, but never non-purposely.  Explosions throughout are big, bold and hefty.  Gunshots ring out with the utmost of aggression and deafness.  Equally aggressive at times is the film’s score and musical selections.  Even a spaceship hurling through outer space is presented with the utmost of heftiness and weight.  You’ll never notice the light on your subwoofer taking a break in this one.  It’s constantly nudging you along.
  • Surround Sound Presentation: The rear channels of this Atmos surround track will compartmentalize you and box you up with full immersion within.  From gunfire raining all around you to traffic and flying cars zooming by you left and right this surround track may be prone to inducing many whiplash moments in your viewing room.  Furthermore, you’re always surround by the environmental ambiance of it all too.  Like Bush once said “it’s the little things that kill.”  The attention to detail here in everything that transpires around you is impeccable.  Make no mistake about it, you’re always immersed here from the moment the film opens with temple walls sliding open to its fiery conclusion.  This one will never let you wonder where’s the beef in the rear speakers.  It’s constantly knocking against the back/side of your head.  What an experience!  Turn this one up and like Kiss profess to yourself “I love it loud.”  Everything that happens onscreen is recreated with the utmost of directionality and proximity.  Enough said here!
  • Dialogue Reproduction: Dialog is paramount throughout here and is a strong force to be reckoned with through the center channel where it’s mighty fine and prioritized.  Wait until you hear the musical selection that Chris Tucker’s character belts out.  It’s out of this world!  Get it?  Because it’s a space movie so to speak. Ha  ha.  He always manages to crack me up.  The blue opera singer’s performance is equally impressive if not more.

The Fifth Element 4K UHD Review


The Fifth Element arrives on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with the same old and one big brand new extra.  Don’t mind the crappy cover art for the slipcover.  I don’t know how they decided upon that, but I do know this.  In addition to hours of archival special features from the previous Cinema Series release, there is an all-new bonus featurette, presented in 4K, “The Director’s Notes: Luc Besson Looks Back,” where the acclaimed director discusses the origins and impact of the celebrated film.  How’s that for a very cool 4K extra?  I’m good with it.  Something is always better than nothing, right?  On top of all that you still get a Digital HD copy of the film good for playback within your favorite Ultra Violet retailer.  It also plays back in 4K on Sony 4K TV sets with their exclusive app found on them.  So let’s take a look down below at this exclusive new extra and list all the old, archival ones found on the 1080p Blu-ray disc.

  • The Director’s Notes: Luc Besson Looks Back (4K, 10:29) – In this new retrospective, look back at things, Besson talks about his inspiration for writing this film starting back at age 16, the hundreds of pages written and deleted, his future predictions, casting, the language, the archaic special effects, production and more.  He does make mention of his upcoming film Valerian when he talks about the mere number of special effects shots compared to the new one.
  • The Visual Element (480i, 18:25) – Here we have a look at the film’s style and the work of comic book artists Jean Claude Mezieres and Jean Giraud in designing all of it.
  • The Visual Element Extras (480i) – Here we have bunch of various camera tests from the film. This includes the following: Pyramid Test (0:41), Cornelius’ Apartment Test (0:30), Zorg’s Office Test (0:28), Airport Tests (2:19), Fhloston Lobby Test (1:20), Fhloston Corridor Test (0:17) and Fhloston Bedroom Test (0:34).
  • The Star Element: Bruce Willis (480i, 4:18) – Bruce Willis sits down and dishes on everything Fifth Element here from his acting to the director himself.
  • The Star Element: Mila Jovovich (480i, 12:47) – Here Milla Jovovich takes her turn talking about everything from the alien language to working alongside Mr. Diehard himself.
  • The Star Element: Mila Jovovich Extras (480i) – The following are Milla Jovovich screen tests: Screen Test 1 (5:54), Screen Test 2 (1:10), Screen Test 3 (1:58) and Screen Test 4 (2:59).
  • The Star Element: Chris Tucker (480i, 4:17) – It’s Chris Tucker’s turn to dish on Fifth Element things here.
  • The Alien Element: Mondoshawans (480i, 8:13) – These are the aliens in the film.
  • The Alien Element: Mondoshawans Extras (480i) – Here are screen tests involving one of the alines: Screen Test 1 (1:00), Screen Test 2 (0:35), Screen Test 3 (0:35), Battle Outtake 1 (0:20) and Battle Outtake 2 (0:51).
  • The Alien Element: Mangalores (480i, 9:47) – Here we take a look at a race of creatures from the film.
  • The Alien Element: Mangalores Extras (480i) – Here one of the creatures is showcased in the following two camera tests: Head Test (0:47) and Battle Outtake (1:23).
  • The Alien Element: Picasso (480i, 4:16) – This one gives us a brief look at Zorg’s pet in the movie.
  • The Alien Element: Strikers (480i, 3:04) – These creatures didn’t make the cut.
  • The Alien Element: Strikers Extras (480i) – These aliens also get a camera test in the included segments: Striker Test 1 (0:23), Striker Test 2 (0:25), Striker Test 3 (0:24) and Striker Test 4 (0:18).
  • The Fashion Element (480i, 7:46) – Ah I love this one as it gives us a closer look at the eccentric wardrobe of the film with Jean Paul Gaultier.
  • The Fashion Element Extras (480i) – Bruce Willis and Mila Jovovich model costumes in the following camera tests: Korben Dallas Test (0:59), Leeloo Test 1 (1:13), Leeloo Test 2 (2:09) and Leeloo Test 3 (0:53).
  • The Diva (480i, 16:15) – This is a closer look at that blue, opera alien always showcased on the previous home release’s covers.  Why so blue?  LOL.
  • The Diva Extras (480i) – The film’s blue, operatic alien also gets her own camera tests (of course she does) in the following segments: Make-Up Test (4:34), Opera House Outtake (1:35), Studio Outtake 1 (1:27) and Studio Outtake 2 (0:26).
  • The Digital Element (480i, 9:48) – Here we have a closer look at the film’s special effects, which back then were considered grandiose.
  • Imagining The Fifth Element (480i, 5:14) – Here we have more on the film’s then groundbreaking special effects.
  • The Elements of Style (480i, 5:13) – This one touches more upon the wardrobe and style of Jean Paul Gaultier.
  • Fact Track – If you play the movie with this extra on, then random facts appear in text throughout the movie.

The Fifth Element 4K UHD Review


Well it feels like has been a long time coming, but home media enthusiasts that love Luc Besson and sci-fi films alike can finally rejoice.  The Fifth Element is finally coming home to the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format where it has been destined for over a year now to live.  I for one couldn’t be happier about the the overall experience of finally taking in Sony’s The Fifth Element in all its 4K splendor and beauty.  It’s like watching it for the first time with the instant acceptance of all its lunacy.  In my opinion that’s as close as you can get to a money back guarantee.  Ha ha.  The wait for this 4K release was definitely worth it as this is what store and home media demos should be pumping out to sell their setups to gullible others. Enjoy this one folks as I know I will over and over.  It’s as perfect as Milla’s scantily clad body.  Oops!  Did I type that out loud.  Looks like I did!


DISCLAIMER: This 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review was judged and graded using the following 4K certified Ultra HD Premium television set found here and player here.  For your ultimate reading pleasure make sure to check out all our 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray reviews archived here.


This July 11th

Go Full Balls-to-the-Wall With

The Fifth Element

Finally on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray!




The Fifth Element 4K Cover


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

2 Responses to “The Fifth Element (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Mike

    Is there a 4K player out there which this disk works on? Bought today and my Sony 4K player won’t recognize the disk. Very disappointed.

  2. Brian White

    That stinks! Take it back and get another one. Mine works great on my Sony 800 4K player. I had an issue once with Sicario like that.