In The Fifth Element, the four main supporting characters around Leeloo each represent one of the four elements.
In the first scene of the film, the professor translates the hieroglyphs on the temple wall, “Water...fire...earth...air...four elements around the fifth.” I believe this not only refers to the four Element Stones, but also the people that helped support Leeloo in her journey to the temple. Now, I don’t think this theory actually impacts the plot, but I do think it is a fun lens to view the characters through.
- Father Vito Cornelius – Earth
A Priest of an ancient order whose sole purpose is to protect the Earth and all life on it.
- The Diva Plavalaguna – Water
“Plava laguna” means literally “blue lagoon,” and we find her performing on the planet of Fhloston, which is almost 100% water.
A radio star constantly broadcasting live “on air.” His non-stop flowing speech pattern makes him quite literally a windbag.
We are first introduced to Korben on a smash cut immediately after a giant ball of fire fills up the screen. However, Korben has a lot of character development to go through before he can become the “fire” needed to help Leeloo. Though right from the start, we can see the imagery and potential for fire all around him. He starts his day by literally looking for fire (a match)... to light a cigarette. He finds two empty matchboxes along the way before finally finding one with a few inside. Then later in the film, after he hits rock bottom, he tries to light two more matches, both burn out on him, leaving one match behind (we’ll come back to this match later).
Then we get to Ruby Rhod, who uses fire imagery constantly in reference to Korben:
“This boy is fueled like fire, so start melting ladies cause the boy is hotter than hot, he’s hot Hot HOT.”
“Quiver ladies, quiver he’s gonna set the world on fire”
However, once he’s off air, what happens?
“Korby my man, what was that? It was BAD it had nothing no fire no energy no nothing!”
Ruby is calling out Korben for his lack of energy and drive. (Things Korben gains throughout his character arc in the film.) Now in the temple at the end of the film, Korben is given his final opportunity to prove himself. Nobody else has that “fire” that is required to open the stone. Ruby, who earlier dismissed Korben as having “no fire,” now looks to Korben.
“Korby my man I have no fire I have no matches”...”We need some FIRE.”
And Korben has that last match, to bring the fire. I think it’s a nice framing device for his character and a nice full circle use of matches as a metaphor for his development.
Also he wears bright orange. I mean come on.