Spoilers for anyone who has not seen the film. Although I suspect that will apply to very few people. So if for some reason, this applies to you, this mistake needs to be rectified straight away! Watching The Fifth Element at least once in a lifetime must be an unwritten rule, surely!
THE FILM: The Fifth Element (1997)
THE PAIRING: Leeloominaï Lekatariba Lamina-Tchaï Ekbat De Sebat (a.k.a. Leeloo) and Korben Dallas
THE MOMENT: When Korben convinces Leeloo that the world is worth saving after all.
A Love Story Between Two Warriors – Leeloo and Korben Dallas
It’s hard to believe that The Fifth Element is turning 20 this year. What’s even more amazing is that the special effects still look incredible and can easily compete with the latest Marvel movies when it comes to inventiveness. So, let’s look back at the love story between Korben Dallas, a retired military man, and Leeloo, a supreme being sent to Earth in its time of need.
When Korben Dallas stated that he didn’t want a million women, just one (how romantic is that, by the way?!), the last thing he expected was for Leeloo to Bada Boom into his flying taxi and into his life. They say dreams come true if you wish hard enough. If that is the case, Korben must have wished very hard indeed to meet the perfect one.
Related post: The 30 Best Romantic Space Operas in Film and Television
THE LEAD IN – Leeloo and Korben
Humans act so strange. Everything you create is used to destroy
Leeloo catches up on the events that took place on Earth during the 5000 years since her last visit by going through a very comprehensive dictionary throughout the course of the film. It seems a sweet and harmless way to learn about history by starting with the letter A. But she starts to notice the self-destructive nature of human beings and cannot quite wrap her head around it. The more she learns, the more apprehensive she becomes about saving a species capable of such cruelty.
We all know what happens when Leeloo gets to the letter W. As the words WAR flash across the screen, I’m crying even before Leeloo starts to. Humanity’s capacity for cruelty is the worst advertisement that Earth has to offer. For someone on a mission to protect life until death, it is simply horrifying. This simply goes against everything that Leeloo stands for. This would make anyone doubt who the true villain of the story is.
And thus, we arrive at our Romantic Moment of the Week between Leeloo and Korben.
THE ROMANTIC MOMENT – I need you. I need you very much!
As an exhausted and broken Leeloo lies on the pedestal of an Egyptian pyramid, the rest of our heroes run around trying to get the four elements to work their magic. With seconds counting down at a break-neck speed, everyone is treading the thin line between giving up and hoping for a miracle.
Everyone pins their hopes on Leeloo, The Fifth Element, but she is tired and defeated as she says “What’s the use of saving life when you see what you do with it?”
As Korben scrambles to think of beautiful things on Earth that are worth saving, Leeloo wonders if he means things like love. He is quick to agree, “Yes, love. That’s good. That’s good. That’s a good example. Like love. Love is worth saving.”
But Leeloo doesn’t know love. Her purpose in existing was to protect and nothing else. She really thinks there is nothing else for her in life but to serve this one purpose. Korben naturally tries to make her see that this is not the case at all because he needs her. He needs her terribly. He needs her so much that he can’t say the words out loud as any man in love.
He simply doesn’t have time to find the right words or the right place. It’s now or never and everything else dims by comparison.
Leeloo: “Tell me. Please! Why do you need me?”
Korben: “Because… Because I love you.”
The fact that Korben hesitates to profess his love for Leeloo even with the fate of the world hanging in the balance is such a human moment. It’s incredibly difficult to open up like that no matter the circumstances. Who cares if it’s a matter of life and death, right! That moment of hesitation must have felt like an infinity to them. It’s that long pause more than the kiss or confession that gets me every time. When Leeloo begs Korben to tell her why he needs her not just with words but with every fiber of her being.
It’s a lovely idea that love is what saves the world. Whether it’s romantic love, familial love, or love out of friendship. Love in any shape or form makes the world go round. So, we are all saving the world one love story at a time.
Photo Credit: Gaumont
What did you think of Leeloo and Korben’s big moment? As Leeloo and Korben head off on their long-awaited vacation, where would YOU go after saving the world? Dare I also ask what you would do on this vacation considering how our epic pairing spent theirs? Let me know below!