Saturday, May 18, 2013

Daft Punk's Electroma

In 2006, following Interstella 5555, Daft Punk produced another movie, this time to compliment their Human After All album, titled Daft Punk's Electroma. While I did re-watch Interstella 5555 for purposes of a review as a tie-in to the duo's upcoming Random Access Memories album, I don't really want to watch this one again. When I watched it once, I found the movie to be really bizarre, most likely due to its nature as an experimental film. As such, I will be relying both on memory and a booklet inside the DVD case that contains nothing but screenshots detailing the entire plot.

The movie begins with two robots that look like Daft Punk (played by Peter Hurteau and Micheal Reich) driving through the landscape until they come to a small town populated by other robots that look like Daft Punk. The main Daft Punk-looking duo go to a facility where they go through a slow and lengthy process and are given the appearance of humans via a strange topically-applied goop. They soon find out that the robot denizens of the town are not amused.

The movie itself feels like an extended music video for the title track of Daft Punk's Human After All album which, if my research is correct, it actually is. The duo was going to make a music video for the song, but it somehow turned into this movie. The result is a story that is both easy and difficult to understand, in that you can get the main gist of it but at the same time wonder why certain scenes are in it that last so long. A few times during the movie there are extended shots of little to nothing happening, especially a rather lengthy hike through the desert that takes up the entire third act, which can get kind of boring rather quickly. That's not to say the cinematography was flawed, it just tends to show a lot of nothing.

When you know it's not the actual Daft Punk playing the main Daft Punk robots in the feature, it can feel like it's just a couple of guys in costumes rather than the real deal (who are, in fact, guys in costumes, so go figure). However, Peter Hurteau and Micheal Reich do a fairly decent job filling in Daft Punk's place in the feature, and using them as the main duo was probably a good move on Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo's part so they wouldn't be confused with any of the other actors wearing the robot costumes during filming.

Peter Hurteau and Michael Reich as Daft Punk. Don't ask me which is which.
In an odd sort of move for the feature, none of the music presented is actually by Daft Punk themselves, rather being performed by a host of other people. This isn't to say the music is bad, it actually seems to fit somewhat if my memory is correct, but it just seems weird that Daft Punk didn't do the music for their own feature. It should also be noted that, much like Interstella 5555, this movie also doesn't feature any sort of spoken dialogue. However, unlike Interstella 5555, the lack of dialogue here only adds to how uneasy and bizarre the atmosphere can get at times.

Overall, Daft Punk's Electroma is neither good nor bad, just...weird. The movie can get a little slow at times and certain sequences just seem to drag on a little longer than they need to. If you're someone who enjoys experimental or midnight features, this is probably a movie you would enjoy. As for Daft Punk fans, I would encourage you to watch the movie at least once, because only then can you form an actual opinion about it. As for me, it just isn't my kind of movie, but I will still hold on to it for the sake of completing my Daft Punk collection.

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