Daft Punk & Leiji Matsumoto Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem [Blu-Ray]

Daft Punk & Leiji Matsumoto Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem [Blu-Ray]
It's no secret Daft Punk have a thing for film. From classic music videos like the Spike Jonze-directed "Da Funk" and Michel Gondry's "Around the World" to the group's 2007 feature-length robot tragedy, Electroma, and Tron: Legacy to the production company run by Daft Punk's Thomas Bangalter, the helmeted duo have been involved in nearly as many film projects as actual albums. But it was the 2003 release of Interstella 5555 that found the pair first fully stretching their cinematic wings. Essentially a visual realization of Daft Punk's 2001 house masterpiece, Discovery, the film was done in collaboration with Japanese anime/manga artist Leiji Matsumoto. While the 73-year-old is hardly a household name in North America, he is in his native Japan. Along with creating the pioneering Captain Harlock and Galaxy Express 999 series, Matsumoto stands as a true cultural icon in Japan, his art gracing everything from commuter trains to city squares. For Daft Punk, Matsumoto was also a childhood hero, leading Bangalter and gold-topped partner Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo to seek out the artist early in the recording process of Discovery for what eventually became Interstella 5555. Despite featuring zero dialogue, with Discovery playing out in full, the 65-minute film is touching, telling the tale of intergalactic, blue-skinned pop band the Crescendolls and their ill-fated adventure with a malicious music mogul known as Earl de Darkwood. After being kidnapped by the malicious manager and delivering soon-to-be-hit "One More Time," we're introduced to our hero, Shep, who before long is crossing the galaxy in an effort to save his digital love, Crescendolls bassist Stella, and her bandmates from Darkwood's evil clutches. A great deal happens along the way (did you know all rock stars actually come from outer space?), but it's essentially a simple, romance-driven, search-and-rescue plot, with some slight commentary on music's plastic, mass-produced nature thrown in for good measure. But with no dialogue and Discovery's general lack of lyrics, it's a better story than you'd expect. Interstella 5555's real draw is how beautifully Matsumoto's imagery matches Discovery, with each track receiving a scene that perfectly captures the music's mood and direction. It's uncanny, really, how well the film and album go together, like Bangalter, de Homem-Christo and Matsumoto were hatching this audio-visual adventure from Discovery's very infancy. Sadly, the extras on this Blu-Ray don't add much. With only some text-based biographies, character files, the trailer and some animation editing, there aren't many worthwhile bonuses. It also doesn't help that the menu is frustratingly unclear and leaves you often shooting in the dark. That hardly matters though. Interstella 5555 is a film every Daft Punk fan should experience, if only to tackle the nearly decade-old Discovery from another angle and remind yourself how truly classic it is. (EMI)