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Interstella 5555 is certainly not the first attempt to turn an album into a full length movie (you’re got The Wall and Yellow Submarine to name two), nor is it the first time Japan and France have collaborated in animation (Uly-seeee-eeeeeeeeee-eeeee-es). You might not know this (I certainly didn’t), but manga is absolutely HUGE in France, making up around half of all comics published there.
That over and done with, the movie proper actually begins. So listen up, here’s the story, about a blue band who live in a blue world. And all day and night and everyone they know is blue, like them, inside and outside. I’m just going to go ahead and call the band the Crescendolls, even though they only get given that name later on in the movie. The Crescendolls are keyboardist/vocalist Octave, Arpegius on lead guitar, Baryl the drummer and Stella, who’s the bassist and possibly some kind of universal constant because I swear to God every last female character in this thing looks exactly like her.
Arpegius flees, managing to knock out a few of the attackers, while the aliens gather up the remaining unconscious band members.
Eh, we should be so lucky. Our intrepid space hero is actually named Shep (Shep? Really? Space Hero Shep? Shep of the Cosmos? Shep, the Doom of Worlds?) who we first see polishing his guitar shaped spaceship from the outside. As character introductions go, I’ve certainly seen worse. Shep sings “Digital Love” and inside his ship we see a load of Crescendolls merchandise and a big ass poster of Stella over his bed. Shep lies on his bed and daydreams about dancing with her and it’s pretty clear that he wants nothing more than to get Inter Stella I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry. He’s awoken by the distress call and one of the blue dudes gives him a very succint plot summary of the last two music videos. Horrified, Shep runs a few diagnostic checks to ensure that Shep’s ship’s ship-shape and blasts off after the alien ship. He follows it into a portal that takes him through a cosmic dimension so acid-trippy that Shep’s lucky he doesn’t turn into a Star Baby and emerges out the other side with his ship badly damaged. The alien ship arrives at earth and makes its re-entry, transforming into a jumbo jet in the process. Meanwhile, Shep crash lands in a forest and is knocked unconscious.
Meanwhile, the still-unconscious Crecendolls are put through a conveyor built system that spray paints their skin that weird utterly unnameable and undefinable colour that white people are. Except Octave, who gets to be black, presumably because he has an Afro.
I spent five goddamned hours trying to come up with a joke about this situation that wouldn’t get me blacklisted by the Southern Poverty Law Centre and I got nothing so let’s just move on.
This whole sequence is set to “Harder Better Faster Stronger” which is probably the best known song from Discovery, not least because it was memorably covered by ohhhhhhhhh crap here we go…
Okay so we finally see our villain for the first time, Earl de Darkwood, who is in the unique position of having a last name that’s too evil and a first name that’s not evil enough. Darkwood takes the brainwashed aliens to a recording studio where he introduces them to a young record exec. The exec extends his hand but the Crecendolls just stare blankly into space, clearly drugged out of their minds. Since this is nothing out of the ordinary in the music business, they get to work recording their first album. Their music is so awesome that they instantly become the most successful and beloved band on earth.
Meanwhile Shep has managed to make his way to the city from the crash site and stands on a hill, looking over this alien world.
Wandering through the darkened streets, Shep sees posters for the Crescendolls everywhere and realises that his people’s music has been appropriated by the music industry (take a number, pally). Darkwood plans a massive concert in an open air stadium and appears before the crowd to rapturous applause.
As the concert starts we get an absolutely kickass sequence where Shep jetpacks out of the sky and then crashes the stage, using a remote control device to break the mind control of Octave, Baryl and Arpegius. The crowd is aghast, presumably thinking that the Crecendolls have started beefing with the Blue Man Group.
Unfortunately, Darkwood gets to Stella before Shep can free and they have to escape without her.
Shep and the three male band-members escape in a van, pursued by two of Darkwood’s bodyguards. The goons’ car collides with an oncoming articulated truck and their car explodes, but not before one of them manages to shoot Shep in the back. Fatally wounded, Shep manages to drive the van to safety. Meanwhile, the two bodyguards limp from the wreckage of the car, metal showing beneath torn skin, their eyes flowing red.
Why no “You whores!” joke? Bored with it. Simple as.
Meanwhile, Darkwood puts all his energy into promoting Stella’s solo career now that her bandmates have been freed by an ally from their home planet.
Darkwood takes the still-brainwashed Stella to a fashion show where she can watch her own clones parading past wearing various different outfits.
Seriously, what is up with these character designs?
Later, at an awards ceremony, the Crescendolls win the award for best new band which everyone is super happy about, even Daft Punk who were competing against them.
Darkwood collects a golden record but Baryl is in the crowd and he manages to break Stella’s mental controls and she flees the stage. Octave has a taxi waiting for them outside and they head to an abandoned warehouse. Inside, they find Arpegius and Shep, who ain’t doing so good. Shep and Stella have a…mind meld? I think? They go dancing together in his mindscape and I think the idea is that she’s falling in love with him but her expression would have to change for me to be sure and clearly modern animation techniques just aren’t there yet. After this, Shep dies. Wow. I guess you really shouldn’t meet your heroes.
The band drive out into the countryside to bury Shep’s body and really fuck with the heads of future archaelogists. They bury him and then his bright blue glowing spirit appears overhead and then flies off into the stars
So. What’re four aliens trapped on Earth with nothing but a van to do?
While that would no doubt be awesome, they decide to get to the bottom of just who Darkwood is and why he abducted them from their home planet. They drive down many dark and windy country roads until finally they reach Darkwood manor.
They break in and uncover a secret passage when Baryl tries to turn on a lamp. Because that’s how you keep a secret passage secret. By making the trigger that opens it something that someone would do naturally without thinking. Deep in the bowls of the manor they find a book that explains everything. I’d say that’s kind of a cheat but this a movie that has no dialogue so I’ll give them a pass on the use of the Encyclopedia Expositiania. So here’s the deal: Darkwood is an immortal who’s been alive for thousands of years. He’s been abducting musicans from other planets and disguising them as humans, using their talent to win gold records.
Once Darwood has 5,555 gold records this will grant him the power to conquer the universe.
Okay, so the four get captured by Da Terminadas and brought before Darkwood who’s conducting the final ritual that involves a giant metal pillar with the golden discs encased in it and a big glowing space for a person and…and…I…I have no idea what the fuck I’m watching here.
So Darkwood puts Stella in the glowing person slot because apparently that’s needed for the ritual? So…why were you already conducting the ritual before Stella was even captured? Surely you should have been out looking for her to get her to complete the ritual instead of enacting the ritual that wouldn’t work without her? Unless you somehow knew the Crescendolls would find their way to Castle Duckula in the middle of the night just in time for the ritual and that your cyborgs would capture her at that exact moment…oh wait, let me guess.
All part of your plan. Yeah. Sure. Moving on. So Arpegius manages to to grab a gun and shoot the two cyborgs and rescue Stella. Darkwood gets knocked into a pit and falls to his doom. I like a villain who respects the classics, so points there. Darkwood’s death triggers a volcanic eruption sure, sure, seems legit and the Crescendolls have to make tracks out of there before their albums seriously increase in value. Now, here’s a big problem with this movie. Our villain is dead, our main conflict has been resolved and everything else should just be narrative tidying up. But there’s still three tracks, or around a quarter of the movie’s run-time, left to go. Not helping matters is the fact that the album front-loads the good stuff and leaves the filler to end which means that the final act of the movie is a bit of a slog.
The band then decide to break into the recording studio where Darkwood has stored their of their old lives on data disks which they need to get back…even though they seem to have gotten their memories back already so what even the hell?
Weirdly, they send in Octave alone and he gets tazered by the security guards so badly that he reverts to his natural blue skin colour. The security guys freak out because a) it’s a frickin’ alien and b) they tazered a guy who wasn’t actually black and now there might even be some kind of legal consequences.
So now the authorities get involved and, after studying the ruins of Darkwood’s manor, they piece together what happened. Unlike in a lot of sci-fi where the government tries to keep this kind of thing tightly under wraps, the nightly news actually informs the population that for centuries, mankind’s greatest musicians were actually brainwashed aliens in the service of an immortal warlock seeking to amass enough gold records to conquer the universe.
Shep’s ship is also found and repaired to allow it to take the Crescendolls back to their home planet, and the motion is voted on in the United Nations and passes.
Our heroes return to their home planet and resume to concept from where they left off. Their music gets broadcast back to Earth and both planets rock out in harmony.
Aaaaaaand then we zoom out until we see that the entire story took place in the mind of a small boy who was listening to a Daft Punk record.
To be honest, this movie held my interest more than Fantasia or any of the similar movies Disney did. Not to say Fantasia is a bad movie, but Interstella 5555 was better for me because it has one story that it tells throughout the whole movie, while Fantasia had multiple stories that weren’t all even actually stories. Also, I much preferred the Daft Punk music in Interstella over the classical music of Fantasia. I was tapping my foot throughout the whole movie.
Of course the Black-Eyed Peas are aliens! ‘Black-Eyed Peas’ is an anagram for ‘Ske Bleep Yadac’! All this time, their terrible music was just an adorable attempt to fit into our crazy Earth scene! How many others are there?
As a musician, all the the music jokes had me cracking up so much in this review. The two that were my favorites were the Black Eyed Peas and the pop musician ones, though XD Great review, as always Mouse!
Awww, I was kind of hoping this review would just be like 5000 words of Mouse gushing about how amazing Daft Punk is. Oh well, good stuff as usual.
I love Daft Punk. Love love love love love love love them. Discovery is my all time favorite album, “One More Time” and “Digital Love” are two of my all time favorite songs. This movie isn’t great but goddam is it a fun watch if you love Daft Punk. And I don’t know what you’re talking about, Mouse, saying the end of the album is filler, the last two tracks are “Face to Face” and “Too Long” and those are both great!
So I have to admit, I have no idea what the next review is going to be. Who are those two vikings?
It’s Asterix. I only vaguely know the comic myself, so I never knew there are movies, but it’s real big in Europe. Or so I’ve heard.
Oh, there are movies. A lot of movies. And you are missing out if you don’t read Asterix. (Though I guess for non-Europeans it might be difficult to get some of the cultural in-jokes).
Oh man the book’s are so God. The English translations are amazing.
The German translations, too. Which one is your favourite?
Don’t make me choose! I think it may be Asterix and the Laurel Wreath. Drunk Obelix is always a gift from heaven. Or Obelix and Company. Or Asterix and Cleopatra. Or…
Lol….I see. I always had a soft spot for “Asterix and the Banquet”, “The Chieftain’s Shield” and “Asterix the Legionary” among others. (Strangely I never really liked The Laurel Wreath…it’s not bad, but it also never really left an impression).
OK Lobo your homework is to read up on Asterix.
Mine is Astérix and the Cauldron !
Asterix the Legionary gets my vote. Ptennisnet for the win! Also, I remember enjoying The Great Divide with Codfix and his wily, slippery shenanigans.
ASTERIX!!!! ASTERIX!!!!! ASTERIX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Can’t you hear me yell-a? You put me through Hell-a! Stella, STELLA!
Oh…which Asterix movie will you do? The first one? Please tell me that it is not Asterix in Britain…that one is awful! Is it Victory over Cesar? Please let it be that one…it is easily the best of the bunch (though the last one was good, too)….
Yes, I am a giant Asterix fan. Hated the life action versions and the comics really have suffered in quality since the original writer died. But otherwise I dig everything Asterix. It is literally the only comic I read during my childhood other than Mickey Mouse. Because Asterix is awesome. On every level.
Asterix in Britain I’m afraid. No really. I’m afraid.
What???? Please, please tell me you are joking. I mean, this is the first encounter a lot of readers will have with Asterix and that’s what they get first? It is literally the only Asterix movie which is boring.
Ummm if you say so? I have yet to actually see a good Asterix movie (though that might just be poor English dubs). Regardless, that’s what the donor requested and I’m a Mouse of my word.
Have you seen “The twelve Tasks of Asterix” ? It’s the one I was talking about (I just looked up the proper English title). It is kind of special because it is not based on the comics, but an entirely original story. I especially love this part: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GI5kwSap9Ug
The last one was also pretty good, despite being CGI. But then, it was based on “The Mansions of the Gods”, which is one of my favourite Asterix comics.
Twelve Tasks was the first one I ever saw. It’s fun but hasn’t really aged well.
Looking at the English scene…you are right, it’s the dubbing. The German version is way better. The people talk more naturally and sound more realistic.
The voice work for English Asterix is always piss poor from what I can see.
Oh god, the voice acting in that clip is just awful.
Also is it just me or does anyone else get a weird Monty Python vibe from the animation style?
I know quite little of this Viking fellow. Why is he named after grammatical device? Does his mustache and pigtails have magic powers? I MUST KNOW.
The magical powers are in his green flask…..
As is to be expected.
They’re not vikings, they’re Gauls. As in, they are French rather than Scandinavian.
French, Scandinavian, either way the monks are doomed
They are actually Celts, not Vikings. If they use winged helmets is because both the Vikings and Celts were fused into the common imaginary of Europe, at least until the latter half of the 20th century.
Shep, you did not live up to the good name of Commander Shepard.
OMG YOU’RE REVIEWING ASTERIX NEXT ??
Which one which one I gotta know please let it not be the only bad animated one (aka the Vikings) ! Oh you better watch it in french ! And don’t you dare say aniything bad about it slqhkqlsdjkqlsdjkqs !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It’s Asterix in Britain and I don’t think I have a French dub on mine, sorry.
Astérix in Britain is the one I saw the most when I was little, so I can’t help to love it. Have you seen the recent CGI one “The Mansions of the Gods” ? For me it’s the best Astérix movie, all genres included.
It’s a shame you’ll have to miss on Roger Carel’s fantastic and iconic voice though. Did you know he did the voice for the french version of Disney’s Cheshire cat (the old one) and the Great Mouse Detective, among maaaaany other things ?
I had no idea!
Oh…right…I take back what I said above, if there is one Asterix animated movie which is worse than “in Britain” it’s “The Vikings”…shudder….
At least the Vikings has awesome animation.
Thanks a lot unshaved mouse!
Thank you generous benefactor!
Great Review, Mouse, funny and informative as usual. 😀 And OH MY GOD! I love Asterix and Obelix! I can’t wait for your next review! Btw, I hope you are doing fine after the surgery. 😉
Dude I am home with two weeks off work, painkillers and a working Internet. LIVE IS GOOD.
Live may be good, but studio-recordings can be edited and made even better!
You lucky bugger! xD Anyways, you deserve it, you are a great person… errr, Mouse. 😀
All right, so this is another one I don’t know a thing about (I have, like, one Daft Punk song on my iPod, that’s as far as my knowledge of them goes), so let’s just see what I’ve potentially missed out on. Though this Music fellah, I think I may have heard of him. Luísa Hanae Matsushita’s lover, if memory serves me right. I think I might even have heard of his mother. HarMonica, is it? Pretty good blues vocalist, that dame. And yes, seeing Music causes madness. My neighbours the percussive amphibians learned this the hard way, but luckily most everyone’s mad around here anyway, so they’re relatively at home. Might be why Music’s shown his face over here more than anywhere else in Walt’s domain. Would cause less trouble.
Also, yikes. That cartoon Eamonn. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him slyly utter “Long live the Mouse” before shoving you off the keyboard to the deadly floor below. Though hopefully he’s savvy enough to know that this would probably eventually lead to his getting into a duel with Mini Mouse that ends with his getting shoved in the midst of several angry, starving cats and won’t try it. Though apparently he isn’t Eamonn? Huh. I have a feeling Simba can be glad he only had one uncle.
…Wait, now I’m curious, what’s the general relationship between the Irish and the French? Do the Irish, as inhabitants of the British Isles, have similar disdain for them, or are they chummy with them as a take that to the bossy Englishfolk? I don’t think I’ve ever heard how those two nationalities tend to get along. Also, I wonder if France’s being big on Japanese media is why it was the second foreign area that got a Pokémon region modelled after it. That also might explain why it’s one of the few languages that makes up its own (pretty clever from what I’ve seen) Pokémon names.
Ok, I think you just got Blue playing in my head now. Guess it’s only fitting a French-based band’s movie review gets a reference to an Eiffel 65 song. Ha ha ha, don’t worry, I’ll let myself into the stocks. Actually, scratch that, I think after that Inter Stella bit this one was barely groan-worthy. Also, wait, aren’t white people peach? That’s what my pencil crayon I use to colour white people is called anyway. Also da-ang, burn to Beyoncé there. Though I guess you’re neutral in her books for not bugging her on her vacation, but still, I’d watch your back. Don’t want Sasha Fierce to get fierce on ya.
Hmm… Do I detect symptoms of drastic damage to your person from the recent surgery perhaps? I’m not sure if your neglecting to drop your old “you whore” line counts as out of character being serious business or not. And… You didn’t just make a Metric reference there, did you? I’d be really happy if you did, because I adore that band, but it’s quite possible they were quoting someone else with the “you shouldn’t meet your heroes” quote. Now I have to wonder from whom they (and I guess you) got that quote. As for Shep’s ghost… Why would any of the aliens be surprised? The ones in Star Wars weren’t. In any case, thanks for getting Blue out of my head by getting The A-Team theme stuck in there in its place. I think.
Ooh, Asterix! I loved reading those comics with my mum, this oughta be fun! Cool review, interesting choice for Seán to pick.
Is this a musical? It sounds like one. And you probably guessed I’m particularly partial to them. 😊😊
Actually it probably qualifies as an opera.
Then this definitely worth checking out. Musicals vs. Opera happens to be one of my favourite debates… especially as the musicals of the eighties brought the style of having musical numbers back-to-back which makes the dividing line even finer!
I used to like Daft Punk back in the day, and I remember those animé music videos. But I never knew that it was a whole movie.
What I love about this movie is the classical anime design. I wished there was more anime like this in the modern trend of moe that one sees in anime like Clannad and Sword Art Online (to quote Abridged Yugi “Don’t watch it!”). Also, how the hell is people not talking about Ulysses 31 more? It has one of the coolest plots I’ve ever read in an anime. Far better than the pseudo-psychological chaff and high school teenagers of current Japanese animation.
“ULYSSES! YOU DARE DEFY THE GODS?!?”
Isn’t Astrix supposed to be up today? You’re alright, aren’t you?
Oh bugger. Sorry, the update is actually due next Thursday (I gave the wrong date). Thanks for your concern!
Well, it’s good to know that you’re fine. Looking forwards to the Asterix review. 🙂
Any time, Mouse. Looking out for the next update! I love Astrix and frequently argue with my bro on how awesome it is (he’s a Tintinite.)😁
Ha! You’ll enjoy the intro then.
Aw, anime mon…marathon is over?!
And here I was thinking you were going to review Avatar’s last four episodes as a movie.
Even if it’s not anime.
Still hoping you do that.
You could at least nominate it for a Deathmatch.
Or is that still possible now?
Watch this space.