Interstella 5555: The Story of the Secret Star System
|Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem|
Theatrical release poster
|Hepburn||Intāsutera Fō Faibu|
|Music by||Daft Punk|
Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem (インターステラ5555 Intāsutera Fō Faibu, “Four Five”) is a Japanese-French animeadventure fantasy science fiction musical film released on 28 May 2003. The film is the visual realization of Discovery, the second studio album by Daft Punk. Interstella 5555 tells the story of the abduction and rescue of an interstellar pop band. The film was produced by Daft Punk, Cédric Hervet and Emmanuel de Buretel with Toei Animation under the supervision of Leiji Matsumoto. The film has no dialogue[nb 1] and uses minimal sound effects.
The main points of the story coincide with the Daft Punk tracks on their Discovery album. On an alien planet, a band is playing to a packed audience; keyboardist Octave, guitarist Arpegius, drummer Baryl, and bass player Stella. (“One More Time“). A military force invades the planet and kidnaps the band (“Aerodynamic“). A space pilot called Shep is awoken from a dream about Stella by a distress call about the kidnapping and pursues the kidnappers through a wormhole, where he crashes on Earth (“Digital Love“).
The band is taken to an underground facility, where their memories are removed to disks and their blue skin changed to make them resemble humans. They are fitted with mind-control devices hidden in sunglasses (“Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger“). Their captor, Earl de Darkwood, poses as their manager and presents them as a new band called The Crescendolls, who take the world by storm (“Crescendolls”). The fame has its disadvantages as the exhausted members of the band are forced to sign large amounts of marketing material. Meanwhile, Shep finds his way to the city and discovers what has happened to the band (“Nightvision”).
During a stadium concert, Shep flies in with a jet pack and fires a beam at each band member, freeing all of them from the mind control except Stella. In the escape, Shep is mortally wounded, and Darkwood’s bodyguards are revealed to be androids (“Superheroes”).
Still under the Earl’s control, Stella finds a card with the address of the Earl’s home, Darkwood Manor, which she hides in her dress. She is taken to a “Gold Record Award” ceremony, where the Crescendolls win the Gold Record. Baryl is concealed in the audience and frees Stella with the beam, and they make their escape with Octave’s help (“High Life”). The band returns to Shep, who reveals their true identities before he dies (“Something About Us“). They bury Shep and his spirit rises into space. While driving away, they use the card Stella took earlier to find their way to Darkwood Manor, and decide to investigate (“Voyager”).
Whilst exploring Darkwood’s mansion, the band finds their way into a secret room, in which they find a journal revealing Darkwood’s plans. He has been kidnapping musicians from various worlds to acquire 5,555 gold records, with which he can rule the universe. Darkwood captures them and attempts to sacrifice Stella to complete the ritual, but Arpeguis manages to throw the final gold record into a chasm, and Darkwood follows it into the abyss. (“Veridis Quo”). The band travels back to the record company to retrieve the memory disks. Octave sneaks in to steal them, but while escaping from the building, he is tasered by a guard, and his skin reverts to its blue state (“Short Circuit”).
The authorities find Shep’s ship and mount an operation to return the Crescendolls to normal, and get back to their home planet (“Face to Face“). On the way back to the wormhole, Darkwood’s spirit appears and attacks the ship. Shep’s spirit also appears and fights Darkwood, which frees them. The band returns to their home planet to great acclaim, and a statue of Shep is erected (“Too Long”). At the end, it is implied that the whole thing was the dream of a young boy, inspired by the Discovery album.
During the end credits, a remix of “Aerodynamic” plays.
- Stella – The only female band member, she is the bassist of the Crescendolls, as well as the main protagonist of the film.
- Arpegius – The guitarist of the Crescendolls.
- Baryl – The drummer of the Crescendolls. He is noticeably shorter than most of the other characters.
- Octave – The keyboardist and vocalist of the Crescendolls.
- Shep – An alien astronaut on a mission to rescue the captured Crescendolls. He has a crush on Stella.
- The Earl de Darkwood – The human captor of the Crescendolls and the main antagonist of the film.
- Daft Punk – The masked musicians themselves make a cameo appearance in “High Life”.
As detailed in the insert included with the 2003 DVD, the idea for Interstella 5555 formed during the early Discovery recording sessions. Daft Punk‘s concept for the film involved the merging of science fiction with entertainment industry culture and was further developed with their collaborator Cédric Hervet. All three brought the album and the completed story to Tokyo in the hope of creating the film with their childhood hero, Leiji Matsumoto. After Matsumoto joined the team as visual supervisor, Shinji Shimizu had been contacted to produce the animation and Kazuhisa Takenouchi to direct the film. With the translation coordination of Tamiyuki “Spike” Sugiyama, production began in October 2000 and ended in April 2003. The cost of the film is said to have been $4 million.
The first four episodes from the film were shown on Cartoon Network on 17 November 2001 during the “Toonami Midnight Run: Special Edition”. Cartoon Network later hosted the episodes online as part of their short-lived Toonami Reactor project (later revived as Toonami Jetstream). In December 2003, Interstella 5555 was released along with the album Daft Club, which served to promote the film and provided previously unreleased remixes of tracks from the Discovery album. A Blu-ray edition of the film was released in September 2011 and contains similar artwork packaging.
Many elements common to Matsumoto’s stories, such as a romanticism of noble sacrifice and remembrance of fallen friends, appear in Interstella 5555. Daft Punk revealed in an interview that Captain Harlock was a great influence on them in their childhood. They also stated, “The music we have been making must have been influenced at some point by the shows we were watching when we were little kids.”
The BBC gave the film four stars out of five, saying that the film is a “visual and aural treat of intergalactic proportions”. MovieMartyr.com said that the film was “the best animated film made in 2003, and a true testament to the artistry possible in two very different mediums.” Mania.com concluded by stating that the film is “a unique feature that shows just how well music can be blended to animation to make a compelling story.”
- Although no dialogue is featured in the film, some characters are depicted to be talking or singing. Some examples with main characters: Shep sings “Digital Love”; Octave sings “One More Time” and appears to convey information in “Short Circuit”; Earl talks to Stella during “Crescendolls” and in “Veridis Quo”, he reads from the eponymous book as part of the ritual.
- “Amazon.com: Interstella 5555 – The 5tory Of The 5ecret 5tar 5ystem”. Amazon. Retrieved February 13, 2013.
- Eric Ducker, “The Creators” (2007). The Fader, issue 47, pp. 115. Retrieved on April 25, 2009.
- Interstella 5555 DVD insert, 2003.
- Toonami: Digital Arsenal toonamiarsenal.com Retrieved on April 14, 2007.
- Interstella 5555 at Discogs
- “Daft Punk Interview”. Cartoon Network. Archived from the original on June 27, 2004. Retrieved June 7, 2008.
- “Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem”. Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved January 25, 2009.
- Jamie Russell (October 13, 2003). “BBC – Films – review – Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5system”. BBC. Retrieved January 25, 2009.
- Jeremy Heilman (February 28, 2004). “MovieMartyr.com – Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem”. MovieMatyr.com. Retrieved January 25, 2009.
- Beveridge, Chris (October 19, 2009). “10 Great Anime That Are Not Miyazaki”. Mania. Demand Media. Archived from the original on February 14, 2015.
- Nick Dawson. “Empire Reviews Central – Review of Interstella 5555”. Empire Magazine. Retrieved January 25,2009.
- Archived September 2, 2003, at the Wayback Machine. (in French)
- Interstella 5555: The Story of the Secret Star System (anime) at Anime News Network‘s encyclopedia
- Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem on IMDb