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Home > Sci-Fi > My Favorite Martians: Diva Plavalaguna

My Favorite Martians: Diva Plavalaguna

August 27th, 2009

I know I’m likely to get a “really, Dave?” from certain quarters for admitting this, but I thoroughly enjoyed The Fifth Element. Luc Besson’s 1997 film starring Bruce Willis as a futuristic taxicab driver and Milla Jovovich as the perfect woman is pure comic-book fun. Specifically, it’s the French comics magazine Métal Hurlant (renamed Heavy Metal for U.S. distribution), whose frequent contributor Jean “Moebius” Girard was hired by Besson to help design his future world.

My previous entries in this series have been rather long-winded, so this time I’ll avoid a lengthy recap of the movie and skip right to the scene that inspired today’s post.

Midway through the film, Korben Dallas (Willis) has “won” a cruise to the planet Fhloston, actually a ruse to get him near the Diva Plavalaguna (whose name literally translates to “blue lagoon”). The singer is said to have a set of four stones that serve as the elements of a weapon that can destroy the ancient ball of evil (aka Dick Cheney) headed toward Earth.

In the orbiting cruise ship’s theater (actually London’s Royal Opera House), the curtain parts to reveal a tall, bright blue alien. She shambles slowly forward, trailing a set of long tendrils from her bulbous head. And then she breaks out into an aria from the opera Lucia Di Lammermoor. It’s a strange, serene moment: the weirdly beautiful creature performing in front of a row of enormous windows, through which can be seen the ocean-covered globe of Fhloston Paradise.

Below decks, Korben’s companion Leeloo (Jovovich) is facing down several brutish Mangalore mercenaries. As the fight begins, Plavalaguna launches into a bizarre, rockin’ song and dance. Her cascade of notes punctuates Leeloo’s martial arts moves, and just as Jovovich puts down the last of her attackers, the Diva’s show concludes to thunderous applause.

You can say what you want about the plot of The Fifth Element, but for my money this scene transcends its surroundings and reminds me of what I love about science-fiction: sights and sounds that couldn’t occur anywhere else.

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