Posted in Film Commentary

Review: Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem

Ah, another suggestion post! I can’t really say this was a request, but a couple of people have hinted that they wanted this post to exist. I will admit, I was a little hesitant due to the fact that this is essentially a music video for Daft Punk’s album Discovery. However, this movie did a very good job of portraying what was going on and how we should feel. In fact, the way the art and music work together to convey certain emotions is deceptively simple.

The most obvious way the film uses art to convey emotion is through the use of color. In the beginning, everything is bright and colorful (almost neon, in fact), making excellent use of blue, purple, green, and yellow. We know we should start to worry when a dark silhouette appears in the middle of all the lights.

We now have reason to be suspicious. During the song shift, a bottle drops and as its contents spill, the color scheme changes and the liquid becomes red. Foreboding much? This type of manipulation through color is rampant throughout the entire film, and it does an excellent job of conveying certain emotions at particular moments.

There are also plenty of visual cues unrelated to color throughout this film. For instance, rain is often used in literature, film, photography, and other art forms to depict troubling situations. Shep, the fan who comes to save the band, is often shown standing and wandering through the rain as he searches for them.

His search for the band is almost exclusively shown in the rain, allowing the viewer to sympathize with his miserable, difficult search for the band. Rain also appears once more when Stella escapes from the music awards ceremony. While this might seem like a happy moment, there is a very important but brief scene. The moon comes out from behind the clouds and we are reminded of ideas like hope and better things to come. However, because it is still raining, we know that the band is not out of trouble just yet.

Another great visual cue in this film is after Shep dies and he becomes a star. This motif is used in more places than I can name off the top of my head, but it works in this film because it portrays that the idea of our loved ones watching over us after they are gone is not a human invention, but rather a universal truth. While it is true that he comes back a couple of times as an angelic being to help the band, for the most part he remains a “star”, reminding the band that he is still there for them, no matter what.

What good would a review of a Daft Punk movie be if I didn’t mention the album? I love Discovery, and I think the art is synced with the music exceptionally well. However, I did feel occasionally that the songs didn’t fit the story and were simply there to break the awkwardness of silence.

Sorry, guys.

There are a few songs that fit well such as “Digital Love”, and I’m not sure anything have made the transformation sequence creepier than hearing “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”. There were other songs though that felt like they were shoved into place and put over montages for the sole purpose of making sure the whole album was in the movie.

While the music didn’t carry as much weight as far as the story goes, it was still entertaining to listen to. Speaking of the story, I honestly love how far-fetched and ridiculous the story is, because it is clear that everyone involved knew that this story was over the top. Seriously, how could a guy rule the world just because he’s got 5,555 gold records?

It is great that Daft Punk wanted to combine the music industry with science fiction, and while the story is silly it is not entirely unbelievable. However, the sign that this is a good story is how it ended. Had the movie cut off with the bands last concert, I’m sure more than a few people would have thought “Well, that was weird”. Instead, ending the film as the dream of a young child made it endearing and more than a bit d’aww worthy.

If you’re a fan of sci-fi, electronica, anime, or all of the above I recommend this movie. The music and the art may not be perfect for each other, but the visuals are great and the story is fresh and interesting.

Favorite Scene: