Sunday, February 26, 2023

The similarities between Heavy Metal & Fifth Element | A comparison


Have you ever stumbled upon a video essay that compares two movies, and suddenly you realize that they're eerily similar? That's exactly what happened to me when I watched the video above comparing the 1981 animated classic "Heavy Metal" and Luc Besson's 1997 sci-fi masterpiece "The Fifth Element".

The similarities between the two films are downright uncanny, and it took me by surprise.

At first glance, the two movies seem like they have nothing in common. One is a gritty, R-rated animated movie that's basically an extended music video for some of the biggest names in heavy metal, while the other is a bright, colorful sci-fi adventure that features Bruce Willis in a tank top. But when you look a little closer, you start to see the similarities.

First of all, both movies feature a powerful, otherworldly artifact that could spell doom for the entire universe. In "Heavy Metal", it's the Loc-Nar, a glowing green sphere that corrupts anyone who comes into contact with it. In "The Fifth Element", it's the four elemental stones that are needed to stop a giant ball of pure evil from destroying the Earth. I mean, come on, it's practically the same thing!

Both movies also feature a ragtag group of misfits who are tasked with saving the universe from said artifact. In "Heavy Metal", it's a bunch of stoned-out space pilots and warrior babes. In "The Fifth Element", it's Bruce Willis, a flamboyant alien opera singer, and a robot with a Brooklyn accent. But hey, different strokes for different folks, right?

And let's not forget the most obvious similarity between the two movies: they're both absolutely bonkers. "Heavy Metal" is a fever dream of sex, violence, and heavy metal music, while "The Fifth Element" is a non-stop barrage of insane action scenes, bizarre aliens, and Gary Oldman chewing the scenery like it's made of taffy.

But there's one more connection that ties these two movies together, and that's the work of legendary French artist Jean Giraud, better known as Moebius. He was the inspiration for two stories in "Heavy Metal" ("Harry Canyon" based on The Long Tomorrow and "Taarna" based on Arzach) and also contributed to the design of "The Fifth Element". In both films, you can see his signature blend of sleek, futuristic design and organic, almost hallucinogenic imagery. It's a testament to his unique vision that his work can unite two movies that seem so different on the surface.

I was surprised to discover the similarities between "Heavy Metal" and "The Fifth Element", and it's even more surprising to realize that these similarities go beyond just the plot and characters. They're united by the work of one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. So if you're a fan of either movie, take a moment to appreciate the genius of Moebius, and the legacy he left behind.

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