Hoshikuzu Kyôdai No Densetsu (The Legend of the Stardust Brothers)

So, Osamu Tezuka is basically the godfather of modern manga, and arguably the greatest manga artists in history. I mean, his comics- from Astroboy to Buddha– are brilliant and influential. His storytelling techniques have been copied a million times over by pretty much everyone else, and he could pretty much do anything he wanted and it would always come out perfect.

Now, imagine you’re his son. Imagine the pressure you carry trying to figure out your own path. Let’s say you’re more into movies than comic books, and it’s the 80’s, and you’re trying to distinguish yourself from dad, carve your own career, do your own thing. But what? You’ve made a bunch of weird, experimental student films, but so has everyone else. And then you meet this guy, Haruo Chicada- a local tv personality who recorded a whole album of pop songs as a soundtrack to a movie that doesn’t exist.

Well, this is that movie. Macoto Tezuka’s directorial debut, Stardust Brothers is the crazy, goofy, zany, nutty musical story of Japan’s favorite fictional 80’s pop band- a movie that fleshes out the album of the same name. The film deftly zips from one musical number to another- basically, a string of music videos- as the Stardust Brothers relate their story, from humble beginnings to their current success.

That story is butkus, as Mel Brooks says. You’re not watching this for the story, though the music itself is surprisingly catchy and legit, which is part of the reason this is such a watchable, fun romp. The other part is its good-natured imagination; it bears a strong resemblance to Brian De Palma’s Phantom of the Paradise, which is an equally nonsensical musical comedy about the quest for rock stardom, though De Palma is no match for the inspired goofiness that the Tezuka family is so good at creating. And while Tezuka (the son) is clearly not the master of his medium that his father was, The Legend of the Stardust Brothers proves he did inherit some of dad’s creative chops, delivering a sweet, oddball gem that deserves a second look.

3 thoughts on “Hoshikuzu Kyôdai No Densetsu (The Legend of the Stardust Brothers)

  1. this is pretty amazing, thank you so much for posting this!

    I’m a lifelong fan of Tezuka Osamu’s comics, but I had no idea that his son Makoto has made such a multidimensional film. maybe clunky by today’s standards, but some amazing camera work and compositing for 1985.

    for bilingual viewers, there’s much amusing dissonance between the spoken japanese and the english subtitles. I know comedy doesn’t translate well, but the japanese is way funny….

    this would be a good double feature with the Sparks Brothers documentary


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