Interstella 5555: The 5tory of a 5ecret 5tar 5ystem

Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christ, better known as “Daft Punk,” enjoyed Captain Harlock in their youth. When their dance music achieved international success, they thought that it would be a neat idea to ask Leiji Matsumoto to animate their Discovery album. With the assistance of Cedric Hervet, they devised a story about a quartet of blue-skinned alien musicians kidnapped from their home planet and transported to Earth by the evil Earl de Darkwood, there to record hits for him and to be part of his plan to conquer the universe. To the bright, cheerful tune of “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger,” machinery transforms the unconscious musicians to look human, and their memories are altered. Their compatriot Shep, whose spaceship looks like a giant Flying V guitar, follows them to Earth to rescue them.
Matsumoto did indeed oversee the animation, and the final result, Interstella 5555, is an hour-long anime music video. It works pretty well. The story is simple enough that it’s comprehensible without dialogue, and complicated enough to sustain interest for an hour. The character designs are distinctive, and the animation and art (except for the dull opening number) look very good to my non-expert eyes. It’s not difficult to believe that the project took 28 months.
Whether Interstella 5555 is worth watching comes down to your tolerance for Daft Punk’s music. It’s not bad or offensive, but I found it mostly uninteresting. For me, the film’s visuals were good enough to redeem the music, but if you really can’t stand “house” music you might prefer Matsumoto’s earlier work (I haven’t yet explored the Leijiverse, so I can’t make recommendations). On the other hand, if Daft Punk is something you like, then buying this DVD is a no-brainer.
There is some violence, and yellow blood is shed. Otherwise, there’s nothing objectionable.