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Fifth Element, The: 2 Disc Special Edition DVD Review

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by AVForums Dec 1, 2003

    Fifth Element, The: 2 Disc Special Edition DVD Review
    SRP: £19.99

    Picture

    While there was nothing wrong with
    the video transfer on Pathé's previous
    Fifth Element DVD, time has moved
    on, and so has the encoding quality
    that we expect from a DVD release.
    With Columbia Tristar in America
    having recently released a SuperBit
    version of the movie, the big question
    is how Pathé's latest release measures
    up to that.
    To be fair, the SuperBit disc still
    takes top honours (probably down to
    the space used by the commentary
    and the extravagant menus), but the
    new high-definition optimum bitrate
    transfer featured on this disc is still
    great. Framed anamorphically at 2.35:1
    the film looks vibrant and is packed
    with fine detail that lends the image a
    three-dimensional quality. Some minor
    edge-enhancement is visible in a few
    scenes (notably the backgrounds in the
    Diva sequence), but this is a stunning
    piece of encoding.
    Fifth Element, The: 2 Disc Special Edition Picture

    Sound

    In addition to a suitably dynamic
    Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, the big news
    here is the inclusion of a completely
    new DTS mix created from the ground
    up specifically for this Special Edition
    release. Compared to the Dolby Digital
    mix, the DTS track is a real revelation,
    offering greater detail and clarity,
    better frequency response and slightly
    more natural movement through the
    surround speakers.
    Fifth Element, The: 2 Disc Special Edition Sound

    Extras

    Those expecting a simple repetition
    of the extras featured on the now
    legendary German Special Edition are
    in for a shock here, as Pathé has only gone out and gathered a mixture of
    previously unseen and newly created
    supplements for this release! Apart
    from some very stylish animated menu
    screens (with 5.1 audio) and the film
    itself, the first disc also houses a
    brand new audio commentary by
    members of the visual effects team
    who worked on the film. While a little
    slow at times, the commentary goes
    into plenty of detail about the creation
    of the film's breathtaking imagery and
    is well worth delving into.
    Disc Two kicks off with Discovering
    the Fifth Element, a 50-minute documentary
    about the making of the film,
    consisting of both new and archival
    interviews with the cast and crew, plus
    rare behind-the-scenes footage and
    production art. Imaging The Fifth
    Element runs for just over five minutes
    and looks at the film's visual effects.
    The Art of Jean-Claude Meziers is a
    six-minute interview with the French
    cartoonist who was the concept artist
    on the film. An Audience with Diva
    Plavalaguna is a look at the creation
    of one of the film's most memorable
    characters and clocks in at around five
    minutes. The last of this collection of
    featurettes and documentaries is
    Elements of Style, a short look at
    Jean-Paul Gaultier's costume designs
    for the film.
    Trailers and TV Spots houses the
    teaser trailer, the theatrical trailer and
    five TV spots. Also included on the
    DVD is a gallery of miscellaneous
    print material including posters,
    concept art and newspaper coverage,
    MTV's coverage of the film's Cannes
    Film Festival party plus a short essay
    about the history of the film and the
    plans for a sequel entitled The Sixth
    Element. There is a chance that the
    package might contain an Easter Egg,
    but after the nightmarishly difficult
    one featured on Pathé's original DVD
    release, it's no surprise that we weren't
    able to find it.
    Fifth Element, The: 2 Disc Special Edition Extras

    Verdict

    Luc Besson's visually opulent sci-fi gets a
    second lease of life on DVD courtesy of this
    truly magnificent package.

    The Rundown

    Movie

    7

    Picture Quality

    9

    Sound Quality

    10

    Extras

    9

    Overall

    8

    8
    AVForumsSCORE
    OUT OF
    10
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