The Fifth Element
The movie opens following a trail of asteroids towards the center of the Milky Way. This is a possible nod to apocalyptic theories which focus on galactic-center explosions found in all spiral galaxies, which may one day spell doom for us. Then we are treated to a slowly rotating earth, reminicent of scenes in 2001:A Space Odyssey, as is the classic flyby of a spaceship which accompanies this shot. The ship in this movie is an alien space ship making its way towards earth. As the camera pans down from space to Egypt on earth, an asteroid burns up in the atmosphere, or perhaps its the heat of the alien space ship entering earth's atmosphere.
The story begins in Egypt in the year 1914. 1914 is used in reference to World War I and there are other events of that year we might take interest in. A strange temple is found apparently carved into a large rock outgrowth on an otherwise completely flat terrain. Is the large rock formation actually carved from an asteroid? Probably not, though Egypt is host to a large area of shocked glass resulting from an ancient asteroid impact; a piece of this glass finding its way into the scarab beetle on King Tut's sarcophagus. A young boy rides to the temple on a donkey, a pharnoic (and Christian) symbol of being humble. Jesus rode into town on a donkey, as he was aware of the prophecies which stated this is exactly what the Messiah would do. Here a boy carrying water for the archaeologist working in the temple takes the position loosly associated with Messiah. Perhaps a slight hint to Age Shift, as the water bearer would be Aquarius and the New Age.
Inside the temple an archaeologist and his illustrator assistant artist are working on deciphering an image carved into the broad wall. A boy named Aziz nods off while reflecting light towards the wall from a large golden lid. The three figures are notably an archaeologist, an individual who digs into the past, an illustrator, which is synonymous with illuminator, and the child Aziz whose job is directing sun light. "Aziz, light!" Yells the archaologist, wholly appropriate as Aziz is one of 99 attributes of Allah, meaning powerful and beloved. A name such as 'Abd al-'Aziz would mean "servant of the powerful." Thus, Aziz is God, and god lets there be light! Later, the fifth element will be referred to as Divine Light. Luke Perry's illustrator tallies the number of times the archaeologist shouts "Aziz Light", marking the 11th instance.
The large wall of hieroglyphics has another pattern going on which looks very mathematical, with lots of straight lines, and one or two long arching lines through it. It kinda reminds me of the anticryptogram on the voyager plaque. Images such as this are used to encode information, but to also make it easy for a person in the future, speaking a possibly unknown language, to decode that information.
He also mumbles something about an image looking prehistoric. Maybe there's a drawing of a dinosaur in there that I can't see? It would make sense since this event should have been happening every 5,000 years for all time. The archaeologist starts to read over what he's figured out so far starting with a picture of 3 large and 3 small circles representing 3 planets and their moons forming a triangular alignment. In this picture are 3 lines connecting the planets, as well as 3 lines which point to nothing, but serve only for form a veiled hexagram. The hexagram is the center shape of Metatron's Cube, which contains the platonic solids as well as a 4th dimensional cube, or tesseract.
He then goes on the explain the "Snake Act" as his assistant describes it, an event where Ultimate Evil, represented by a snake, is fended off by the Ultimate Weapon, a Fifth Element surrounded by the four other elements. It begins when a "black hole like a door is opened." The hieroglyph which represents this doorway is 'pet' which represents the vault of the heavens, personified as sky goddess Nut.
Earth, Air, Fire and Water with Ether centrally positioned is obviously Tetramorphic, and this emblem is likewise indicative of Age Shift, the Tetramorph of Last Judgment, the World Trump, etc. The Fifth Element is blatantly described as "the perfect being" and as "divine light".
The Quintessence is the fifth element with which the alchemists could work. It was the essential presence of something or someone, the living thing itself that animated or gave something its deepest characteristics. The Quintessence partakes of both the Above and the Below, the mental as well as the material. It can be thought of as the ethereal embodiment of the life force that we encounter in dreams and altered states of consciousness. It is the purest individual essence of something that we must unveil and understand in order to transform it.
The description of the periodic arrival of the Great Evil is blatantly astronomical, the 3 planet eclipse is a planetary alignment highlighting the function of celestial observation as means of timekeeping. The archaeologist deciphers the date for the "snake act" as taking place every 5,000 years. This figure we might assume has been rounded. 5,125 is the length of Mayan Calender. and 1/5 of a Great or Platonic Year, the full circuit of the precession of the sun's ecliptic through the houses of the zodiac. This will be very odd by the time we get to the end of the movie when you start wondering how many times this has all happened in the past. The number 5,000 is probably more symbolic than anything (it is The *Fifth* Element after all), though it does remind me of several other "prophecies," if you can call them that. For instance the Mayan calendar has been deciphered as depicting 9 ages of 13 sections, or a 9 weeks of 7 days and 6 nights. Each age is 20% shorter than the previous one, creating a stepped pyramid shape as you move up the ages. The fifth "day" and "night" of each age usually represents an important event in that "week" of creation during each consecutive age. The fifth day is usually something new, and the fifth night is the use of that something. For instance, the guy who claims to have figured this all out says that the fifth day during this past age contained the publishing of Einsteins e=mc^2 formula, while the fifth night was the detonation of the atomic bomb. As the number 5 is used so heavily in this movie, I thought that it was at least an interesting (if convoluted) connection to the Mayan calendar. Another thing that the 5,000 year date reminds me of is something I heard about the "illuminati" having been planning to forestall an event which was prophecised about 5,000 (or 50,000?) years ago. Basically, they've been spending all this time working towards a way to prevent whatever event they think is going to happen. I know, I read too many odd things, but it's interesting that it is or almost is the same timeline. And there's a really interesting connection to that which I just saw in the movie Tomb Raider (part 1): There is a secret society called the "Illuminati" (stop me when this soudns familiar) whose symbol is the all-seeing eye in a triangle, and they have been waiting 5,000 years for a planetary alignment to happen so that they can unite the Triangle of Light which would allow them to control time! If I may amuse you for a bit longer; I read a post somewhere where a person said that the Inca of Peru in Maccu Pichu were intent on forestalling an event at the end of the age by focused magical practice. They were apparently afraid of whatever was going to happen. Whether or not this is really the case, it's interesting to note the similarity between a tetramorphic picture called the "secret of the Inca," and an almost identical enigmatic engraving on the Cyclical Cross at Henday. The Cross was deciphered to reveal a warning about the end of the age and an apocalyptic event, the Day of Judgement. As Fulcanelli states in his chapter on the Henday Cross, "The age of iron has no other seal than that of Death. Its hieroglyph is the skeleton, bearing the attributes of Saturn: the empty hourglass, symbol of time run out..."
Continuing with his work, the archaeologist comes to the picture of what he correctly deduces as the fifth element, represented as a human body between the symbols of the 4 other elements. Again the number 5 is used as each element is represented by 5 lines, including the fifth element as 5 vertical lines above the figure. The Element Stones even have 5 faces (The elemental stones are triangular, like the face of pyramids plus the top+bottom, yah I can find a connection anywhere!). Leeloo's name, in the fictional language invented for the movie, means Sacred Stone. She is the fifth element stone, but also perhaps a perfect cube, a smooth ashlar or philosophers stone. While all this was happening a preist of a presumably very ancient society has been listening in. His ears perk up when the archaeologist mentions the fifth element. He takes the water from the boy, and adds a vial of poisen to it stating: "forgive me Lord, they already know too much." The priest is dressed as a monk, and is called "father" by the archaeologist. Though it is never stated what religion the priest practices, we can assume it's not a common one we are familiar with, though this priest and the one later in the movie seem to be very similar to Catholic priests; they are called father and priest and are celebate. The priest Veto Cornelius who shows up very soon in the movie even wears a skull cap which is common not only for Jews but for high ranking Catholics such as bishops and popes. Perhaps the priest is a Jesuit, as this would fit very well with the theme of Jesuits being on missions all around the world such as Egypt, and being involved in many conspiracy theories of their own. The head of the Jesuit order is called the Black Pope, as he is said to be as powerful if not more powerful than the real pope. It may be that by the time we get to the future ('present day' in the movie is year 2363), the Jesuit order has broken off to form it's own religion. This priest who now comes to visit the archaeologist who he is clearly friends with, seems to have no qualms about poisoning him for knowing too much. The symbolic act is clear, as the archaeologist has literally just figured out the true Knowledge Good and Evil (this time without the help of Eve and her forbidden fruit, though he does have some golden-apple wine mentioned in the next paragraph).
The priest suggests drinking a toast with the poisoned water. The archaeologist tosses out the water just in time to not get poisoned. He would prefer to drink a toast to his future fame with some wine. His assistant Billy gets the bottle which is a Marcati Grappa Vinaccia. The label art is clearly symbolic, probably chosen on purpose for its horned "Devil" figure which helps them drink a toast to the discovery of the Ultimate Evil prophecy. The art also includes golden grapes, or as any fruit can be called apple, these can be seen as golden apples. The Devil/Pan/Baccus figure is also holding a bottle of Grappa Vinaccia, and on that bottle is a picture of a figure holding another bottle of Vinaccia, and so on ad infinitum. Not only is the devil figure appropriate, but there is a representation of an endless loop as well, very appropriate for the age ending event which happenes again and again every 5,000 years.
As this is happening a large alien space ship decends to earth directly outside the temple. The ship it's self is slightly reminicient of a bee abdomen, complete with a stinger at the end. Not sure if that means anything, but it looks cool... Anyways, the aliens step off the ship and shuffle into the temple. They are very robust with tiny robotic heads perched infront of their broad hunched shoulders; and Billy's charcoal drawing of them is quite bird-like. The shape actually reminds me of an oversized bird with a small head, very much like Howl from Howl's Moving Castle in the scene where he leans in to talk to the witch.
The archaeologist is asking himself outloud what the Divine Light spoken of in the heiroglyphics is when Aziz falls asleep again and the reflected light goes out (Symbolic sun cycle of day-night? Or is this kid just really tired?). The archaeologist yells for light again, and just after that - the alien's ship lights come on illuminating the room without the need for Aziz and his reflector. I think it's done on purpose this way as a bit of foreshadowing that the "Divine Light" the archaeologist is wondering about is the Fifth Element, who is one of (or just lives with) these aliens called the Mondoshawan, a name which apparently translates as The Guardians (similar to the Seriphim choir of angels).
Very little is actually said about the Mondoshawan who deposited the Ultimate Weapon on Earth. As we later see that beneath their armor they are visually identical to humans it might be suggested that they engineered the human race for this purpose, though I don't think this is ever stated blatantly. They remove the elements from Earth due to the pending Great War suggesting some foreknowledge on their part of this event. One of the Mondoshawan is trapped in the temple, entombed, and passes the key to the priest and commands him to preserve the tradition. This is a sci-fi establishment of a Secret Society/Mystery Cult.
The eclipse occurs and the Great Evil manifests, a sentient black hole or anti-sun/Black Sun. This is very much like the way Galactus was depicted years later in the Fantastic Four/Silver Surfer film. French illustrator Jean Giraud (Moebius) did the design work for the Fifth Element and previously a noteworthy Silver Surfer/Galactus comic book.
The Mondoshawan take the stones and the fifth elements sarcophagus and bring them to their ship for safe keeping. The sarcophagus has an interesting feature on it which is porbably more ornamental than anything, but might be worth noting. There's a lump on the front and back of the human shaped sarcophagus at approximately the level of the lower dan-tien chakra (located a couple of inches below the navel, and a couple of inches inside the body.) The lower dan-tien is the focus for energy in many tai-chi and chi-gong techniques. Extending from these spots is a line running up the front and back of the sarcophagus to the top which is an open mouth (the sarcophagus is shaped like a person looking straight up with their mouth open). The mouth is another important spot because in meditation people put their tounge to the top-front of the inside of their mouths to reconnect an acupuncture meridian which runs from the top lip, over the head, down the back then up the front all the way to the bottom lip. Its possible that these points and lines of energy are being hinted at with the shape of the sarcophagus, or it could all be 'coincidence.'
A closeup of the drawing of the alignment fades into a computer simulation of the actual alignment in present day-future. The computer simulated picture has a central circle with 12 sections as the focus of the alignment, possibly a zodiacal age-shift symbol. The alignment produces, or signals, the creation of a new planet in the solar system. This scene includes a closeup flyby of a military spaceship and a shot of Jupiter, very close, in the background. Like the opening scene, it is quite reminiscent of 2001:A Space Odyssey. We all know by now that the planet was supposed to be Saturn in A Space Odyssey, but was turned to Jupiter for the movie. Here the new Dark Planet, the "snake act" and Absolute Evil, takes the place of Saturn in the solar system as the seventh heavenly orb seen from earth (sun, moon, mercury, venus, mars, jupiter and new dark-planet). The location is appropriate as the planet turned into a sun in Space Odyssey was named Lucifer after the transformation (in the book). The new planet is formed by black clouds swirling together slightly similar to the monoliths in Space Odyssey swirling together. Like the monoliths of Space Odyssey, this planet is intelligent. The new Dark Planet is Ultimate Evil incarnate.
The President of the Federated Territories (One World Government apparently, make that One-Solar System) wittnessed this even from his headquarters in New York City - current site of the United Nations building, and host to one-world religion, The New Age Religion or Lucis Trust. President Lindberg seems to be blind in one eye, which is perhaps glass, I think his left eye. The president also wears a black undershirt with a red and blue uniform over that. The red and blue are duality colors often used in place of black and white, and most commonly represent the earth and heavens. These colors or most notably seen on Jesus and "Mary Magdalane" in Da Vincis Last Supper. At the presidents headquarters are representatvies from the secret society introduced earlier by the priest, the Catholic religion and another unknown religion. The Element Priest Vito Cornelius is played by Ian Holm bringing his many interesting performances in. He calls the black hole Death and Absolute Evil. The 48 hour time period before the Great Evil exterminates the Earth may represent four 12s, or four full circles on the face of a clock. With Cornelius is his neophyte assistant, who is next in line to pass down the ancient knowledge of their order. Before the military vessel fires on the Dark Planet, Priest Cornelius raises his hand to offer his theory on what action to take. When he does, he seems to be giving a 3-fingered wave, similar to that seen given by Saddam Hussain and other figures on websites about "illuminati" hand gestures. It's also the boy-scout sign, and I'm told a very secret hand sign used by the KKK's "darkest occult groups." I see the three fingers as a sign that he has completed the three initiatory degrees of his order.
The military spaceship in orbit around jupiter fires its largest missles at the Dark Planet, only serving to make it bigger. The intelligent force of the planet causes the commander of the vessel to bleed from his third eye region similar to a stigmata before consumng the entire ship in a fireball shaped like a human skull. As quoted earlier: "The age of iron has no other seal than that of Death. Its hieroglyph is the skeleton..." I think the Great Evil represents Saturn (the deity). It's a consummer. Saturn eats his children (the planets). This is the same as Galactus. Saturn identifies with Death/the Grim Reaper.
Next we're introduced to Bruce Willis' charcter Korban Dallas. Called "dog brain" by Finger, his old co-pilot who now apparently works at the the Taxi Cab company Korban drives for. Korban has a pet cat as well. Being a dog-brain and owning are cat are highly symbolic as these animals are psychopomps and often represent travel into another world. In this case it's a New Age, as well as the start of his journey which will lead him to help battle Ultimate Evil and save the universe. It may seem minnor but I think it is noteworthy that Bruce Wllis' character Korben Dallas is first shown in the film Waking Up. This easy symbol play is probably observable in many stories. Of course he's a cab driver, a flying checker cab. There's an ad for Fhloston (Flow Stone) Paradise. Fhloston Paradise is described as being in the Angel Constellation. The contest sponsor is Gemini Croquette, introducing Twin symbolism and a croquette may be a standin for sacramental bread.
Later we learn that Korban lives in the 500 Block of apartments, another use of #5 in the movie. Leeloo may be the Ultimate Weapon, but Korban is the Ultimate Warrior, as the only surviving member of his military unit and an expert in a very long list of weapons and vehicles. (Later we see a book in Korbans room titled Adolf and another with a skeleton on the cover. I can't make out what they are though. Also Veto calls him Mr.Wallace on accident, but I dont know if theres any importance to that either.) When Korban hides Leeloo in the shower she is Baptized. He hides Cornelius in the retractable bed and he is "entombed" by plastic wrap, both initiation symbols. The award Cornelius knocks Corben out with is a Grail/Cross combination.
Korban drives the already popular symbolic checkered chariot, as well as having black and white dice hanging from the rear-view mirror, and a plush spider in the back.
The tomb of Marie de Blanchefort, which in its inscription reveals the coded words “Et in Arcadia Ego”, also has the figure of an octopus etched down at the bottom. The octopus is, according to Priory of Sion member Paul Le Cour, a solar symbol used in Atlantis. It also contains the same symbolism as Arachne, the spider goddess, in regards to the number eight and the chessboard.Thus the octopus/spider hanging in the back of Korban's cab connects again to the checker/chess pattern which is already connected with taxi cabs; as well as being a solar symbol to boot. When Leeloo is in the back of his cab, the XI of the broken TAXI sign can be seen dangling in the rear view mirror and can be read numerically as 9 or 11 or both. I just mis-typed Korbans name into the google search bar and got a bunch of hits for "Koran." I just realized how close his name is to the Islamic holy book. I wonder if that's important?
The Mondoshawan return. The Fifth Element is called the Supreme Being and the ultimate warrior, the Light of Creation. I can't help but notice the same terminology here as in "Time Bandits" (featuring Holm) depicting a conlict between characters named simply Evil and the Supreme Being. Mangalores working for Zorg shoot the Mondoshawan ship down.
All that survives is the right gauntlet of one of the Mondoshawan, from which Federation harvests cells for cloning. It's very interesting that Mila Jovovich's character is genetically engineered as is also the case with Resident Evil and Ultra Violet. This is a Resurrection scene as she is born again, in a coffin like vessel. The gauntlet on her right hand initially is similar to Hellboy, but I'm not sure what, if anything, this might mean. A leap of faith brings her to Korben Dallas.
Priest Veto Cornelius apparently studies many world religions as well as astronomy and probably astrology. He has many symbols of world religions "under one roof" of his apartment. Among the many relics are a Shiva statue, a 7 stick candle holder (the 7 planets), a stuffed white owl, Madonna and Child paintings, statue of a fish-tailed horse (a Merovingian symbol), and a large snake statue. The snake may be a representation of the Ultimate Evil he has been preparing for. When he knocks out Korban to steal his tickets, he makes a semi-sign of the cross. Its hard to tell if its just a rushed Christian sign, or a different gesture for his religious order.
The Fifth Element is often referred to accidentally as a man up until she's cloned and ends up being female. This Hermaphroditic symbolism fits well as she is elemental Hermes and goddess Aphrodite combined. The Fifth Element, Leeloo (double- L, played by Milla Jovovich) is also repeatedly called "perfect" as a reminder that she is the Supreme Being, which she refers to herself as at least once while simultaniously pointing upwards as to indicate that she is God incarnate. She also represents a messiah. Leeloo's color scheme is complimented by Korbans, with orange hair to Korbans orange shirt, and later her gold pants to Korbans gold hair. Another famous duo with similar and opposing color schemes are Jesus and "Mary" from the Last Supper. This is certainly intentional as Korban and Leeloo represent a union of opposites, male and female, at the end of the movie when they become one on the altar of the Fifth Element; a chemical marriage perhaps. I also think there's some phoenix symbolism, as Leeloo dies in a firey crash on Mars when her ship is shot down, but is resurrected as a complete fully developed person again. "The Phoenix was a bird with a beautiful voice and feathers of gold and red. The bird lived for a long time, usually 500 years." There's the magic number again, plus the colors Leeloo wears; well her red is more of a neon orange, but I'm not a stickler for details. His cab is Cab #890 (=17). His liscense plate is 246890-A (11A). The advert from which Leeloo learns the phrase "Please help" has the phone # 800-019322 (=17, so 8-17). The golden arch of the sun also makes a couple of appearances as the McDonalds logoin the moive.
The person behind the attempted hijacking of the Element Stones, and coincidental owner of Korban's cab company is Jean Baptist Emannuel Zorg (played by Gary Oldman), who runs a conglomerate called Zorg. Zorg is an arms dealer who poses as an art dealer. He seems to have a prosthetic leg. I'm not sure what that means if anything, but I have a notion that one-legged characters reference the bent-leg format of the Tarot Hanged Man. He is working for Mr. Shadow, which is the name the Dark Planet is given for communication with Zorg. How Zorg came to be employed by Mr. Shadow is never mentioned. The Dark Planet has only recently formed, probably not enough time for it to contact Zorg, so perhaps Zorg also has knowledge of the 5,000 year cycle from his own secret society. He is an arms dealer and a major business owner, positions which many real life "illuminati" occupy. When Mr. Shadow speaks to Zorg through radio waves sent towards earth to Zorgs phone, Zorg's third-eye region bleeds like the captain of the military ship which first encountered the new planet. It would seem that the mere presence of the Dark Planet causes this reaction, maybe from overstimulation, as the pineal gland is seen as a way to communicate with the Ultimate (evil too!). Zorg describes his philosophy as Order out of Chaos; paramount strategy of illuminati-esque groups. When Zorg meets with Cornelius he nearly chokes to death on Ceres signifying Cherries. His sad-eyed elephant pet is weird, maybe Ganesh indicative.
The Great Evil is described as swallowing communication satellites. This is the blocking of information. Also "Communication Satellite" could be a way to describe the planet Mercury. Or the swallowing of communication satellites might be a technological replay of Lucifer killing the angels in a war in heaven/space. Angels are the messengers of God afterall.
The flight attendants at the airport have Mercury wings on their hats. The also wear blue, reminiscent of the blue symbolism from my post "Amanita..." and the Blue Dreamer pills from Saturn 3; the flight attendants dont do anything but put people to sleep for the space flight.
Radio host Ruby Rhod is first shown in leopard (Dionysus) skin and a "unicorn" hairdo. Later he wears an outfit with a collar lined with roses. His overuse of the slang term "Green" might refer to Green Language and the Green Column of the Tree of Life. He nicknames Korban Dallas D-Man (Demon).
At the end Korban and Leeloo make it to the temple in Egypt with Cornelius, Ruby, and the young priest, David. 5 People gather together the 5 elements. Each takes a stone and matches it with it's proper place. The young priest accidentally figures out how to open the stones, then Korban takes over and opens Air by blowing on it. Cornelius opens the Water stone, Young Priest opens the Earth stone and Ruby is left with the Fire stone, as Rubys are red and so is fire, duh! Ruby however quit smoking and has no matches, so Korban uses his last friction match, or lucifer, to activate the fire stone. He and Leeloo take the place of the fifth element, where she becomes active when he says he loves her. They are one body, one soul, and she snaps her head back and emits the Divine Light of Creation and stops the Dark Planet in it's tracks in a similar orbit as the moon.
This brings up the question - is the moon an old Dark Planet from an ancient apocalyptic cycle? The moon is usually associated with the goddess and magic, and thus considered evil by mainstream sun worship and male dominated religions such as Christianity. Left handed people are sinister, as the left side of the body is asociated with the moon, whose Sumerian name was Sin. Another thing to think about is the importance that earth plays in this event. Why does the end-all apocalyptic event take place on earth? I've never really thought about it, but lets say Revelations is real, does that mean that billions of people die on earth, as well as other populated planets? Do the events on earth, where Good and Evil do battle, determine the fate of the entire universe? The Monodoshawan probably engineered humans from their own more complicated DNA, so we are not the oldest race of intelligent beings in the universe. What makes earth so special? And what exactly is the Fifth Element? According to traditional symbolism, the fifth element, sometimes placed at the top of a pentagram, is Spirit. The pentagram, besides being a great fractle of the Divine or Golden Ratio, is also a symbol of Man. Is Mankind, and His consciousness the "Diving Light of Creation" which Leeloo represents? In science we have the Observer Effect and Conscious Creation on a quantum level. While God would represent the fountain head of this Spirit, it would appear that all humans contain a little bit of it.