Tuesday, October 28, 2014

TV editing bad, chicken good.

I will never not love The Fifth Element but Esquire TV sure made it hard on me yesterday.

If you haven't seen the movie, please do. It's delightful and funny and stupid and sweet and cute and grungy. If you have seen the movie and don't like it, I'm sorry, there's nothing I can do for you. If you, as all good people should, have seen the movie and think it's awesome don't watch it edited for TV.

I didn't realize how well I knew the movie until I was watching it on Esquire yesterday and I kept feeling like something was missing. Then I figured out that a lot was missing, most of it sexual innuendo, and the movie was worse for it.

There was, however, one very interesting side effect of TV censorship - it made me realize what a good director Luc Besson is. Admittedly, I should have known that just from watching Leon, but it was a mangled version of The Fifth Element that really hammered this home to me.

In the movie there are several scenes that are cut up and shuffled together in parallel sequences. The one that comes immediately to mind is LeeLoo kicking major ass while the Diva is singing opera onstage - LeeLoo's action parallels and compliments the Diva's music and dancing.

The scene that was cut up and mangled worst of all was the spaceport - Zerg's minion is totally missing, as is the other imposter Corben Dallas, so that's one bit all shot to hell, but the really cool part of the whole thing involves Ruby Rod seducing a stewardess while Cornelius is sneaking into the ventilation system ALSO while the ship's crew is recharging the atomic power of the ship and cleaning parasites off the landing gear, ALSO while the ship is taking off. There giddy juxtapositions and silly visual metaphors and just a lot of really cool stuff that happens in that sequence and pretty much all of it was snipped out of this poorly edited version.

Fuck all that shit.

The really stupid thing about it is that the movie was rated PG-13 and the chopped up version was TV-14 so it wasn't edited for content, it was edited for time. Hey Esquire channel, I'm pretty sure that 1-3pm on Sunday is the least important advertising block that you have, especially since you're a shitty bundled channel in the triple digits. All that you have accomplished is making sure that I saw ONE THING on your station and it wasn't something that you produced and now I know better than to watch your programming again. The Fifth Element has a nearly 90% positive rating from audiences on RottenTomatoes.com - if you're going to make a hash of something do it with a flick like The Expendables 2, or Last Action Hero, or some other not-really-great popcorn movie that doesn't have an apparently rabid fanbase.

Anyway, go watch The Fifth Element. It's fun.

     - Alli

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