Heavy Metal remains one of my all time favourite animated films. It blows a loud raspberry at political correctness and takes the viewer on a completely uninhibited, devil may care ride. Sure it surfs adolescent fantasies but has a truly great sense of humour which is at its best in three particular episodes - Harry Canyon, Captain Stern and So Beautiful, So Dangerous.
Due to wrangles over the rights to the soundtrack, the film did not make an official appearance on dvd and video for many years. The only copies available were crass quality illegal ones. Its arrival on dvd is therefore, belated but the wait has been worthwhile.
The 5.1 soundtrack is good on the dvd and is actually at a lower level than that of the vhs which was very loud but tended to obscure the dialogue. The dvd restores the dialogue to its correct place with the soundtrack playing second fiddle. The soundtrack is still great in 5.1 though and gives the viewer a great experience when played on a full home cinema set up.
The plot revolves around a mysterious green jewel called the Loc Nar which corners a terrified young girl at the film's beginning. We learn that this Loc Nar is the sum of all evil as it recounts six tales to this girl.
The first tale is 'Harry Canyon' which is set in a futuristic but run down New York. A Chandleresque taxi driver by the name of Harry Canyon plies his trade amidst this decrepit city. There he encounters a girl and the Loc Nar. Sassy and full of humour, this is one of the best episodes.
The next tale is 'Den' which sees a geeky young lad transported by the Loc Nar to an alternate universe. There he is given a super hero's body and sets out to save the world (and the girl, naturally).
Following this is the 'Captain Stern' tale which is full of humour and wry morality. All about the trial and subsequent escape of an intergalactic rascal - Captain Stern.
After this tale we see the 4th segmment which is titled 'B17.' This is a grim tale of horror from Dan O'Bannon who was one of the writers of 'Alien.' Here the crew of a B17 on a bombing mission in WW2 have survive when the Loc Nar pays them a visit in mid air....
Leaving behind the grim horror of 'B17' we then move on to the fast moving and fast humoured segment called 'So Beautiful, So Dangerous.' Featuring drug snorting aliens, a randy robot and bags of humour which tends to hit the viewer thick and fast. This is one of the funniest segments in the film.
Lastly we come to 'Taarna' which sees an attack on a peaceful city by a mutated army of warriors and the Loc Nar reveals its true purpose to the young girl that it has been recounting these tales to.
The extras on the dvd include some documentaries re the making of the film. There is also a deleted sequence called Neverland which originally would have been between the 'Captain Stern' and 'B17' segments.
You also get to know that the makers ran out of money and time in completing the film and this explains the variations in the quality of the animation. These tend to be most noticeable in 'Taarna.' If you compare the flying sequences to the rich and detailed animation on scenes like the dinosaur skeleton then you will see what I mean. However, this is negligible and does not detract from the enjoyment factor in any real way.
The music really makes the film tick though and the soundtrack is simply stunning, with contributions from the likes of Don Fender, Donald Fagen, Blue oyster Cult, Black Sabbath, Stevie Nicks, Devo, Nazareth and others. I bought the LP in 1981 after seeing the film and soon added the cd to that.
It has been a long wait for the official dvd release of this film but oh so worth it. Get a group of friends around, bung it on the home cinema, put your feet up and enjoy. Simple.
This 1981 Canadian animated film is amongst the guiltiest of my guilty pleasures and even if I am aware that all the stories it contains are just a pretext to show graphic violence, sex and nudity, every time I see it I shamelessly adore it...))) Below, more of my impressions, with some very limited SPOILERS.
This film begins when a mysterious and very evil green orb named Loc Nar corners a little girl and forces her to listen to Six Stories. Considering that Loc Nar is, as all evil in the world, a totallly self centered megalomaniac, all those stories are of course about Loc Nar...
1. "Harry Canyon". In a quite horrible future New York a cynical taxi driver named Harry Canyon meets a damsel in distress... This story, inspired by "film noir" classics, became such a cult thing, that Luc Besson copied large parts of it into his "Fifth Element" film, with Bruce Willis character being a copy of Harry Canyon...
2. "Den". A nerdy frail teenager gets sucked into a wormhole and, transformed into a superhero, meets a damsel in distress, who was about to be sacrificed to evil god Uhluhtc (in fact Cthulhu, just spelled backwards). Extremely funny, absolutely not-politically correct and life-threatening for any feminist who would watch it...)))
3. "Captain Sternn". On a space station a sniggering space pirate, Captain Lincoln Sternn is on trial for crimes which are too many to be described here... An absolutely hilarious and also slightly insane story...)))
4. "B-17". The shortest but also the toughest of all the stories. No humour here - it is a WWII horror story...
5. "So Beautiful and So Dangerous". A scientist and a voluptuous blond secretary are abducted by aliens. The funniest, the merriest and the most out-there story in the whole film, greatly inspired by Woody Allen humour...)))
6. "Taarna". Here, nobody laughs anymore - this is a story about a terrible barbarian/alien invasion and a relentless quest for vengeance. Something in the precise middle point of the triangle made of "Conan the Barbarian", "Mad Max 2: Road Warrior" and "Body snatchers". Also the BEST story in the film.
After those six stories there is a short but intense and beautiful finale in which we discover what Loc Nar was after all this time - but I will say nothing more...
The trasures of this film are many: excellent old style animation, lots of violence, sex and nudity, humour, zombies, aliens, busty wenches galore, hard drugs use and especially the INCREDIBLE MUSIC - all of this with suprisingly little vulgarity (not even one F bomb!).
I loved this film when I was a teenager, I loved it when I was a young man and I love it now as a middle aged man, married with children. A thing to see ABSOLUTELY! ENJOY!
on 28 November 2015
Based on the fantastical illustrated magazine HEAVY METAL, producer IVAN REITMAN enlists the help of some of Hollywood's animation masters to create the otherworldly tale of a glowing green orb from outer space that spreads destruction, evil , malice throughout the galaxy. Only when encountered by its one true enemy, to whom it is inexplicably drawn, will goodness prevail throughout the universe. Richly and lavishly drawn, the vignettes of the orb's dark victories include the character voices of JOHN CANDY, HAROLD RAMIS, and a pounding soundtrack by BLACK SABBATH, BLUE OYSTER CULT, CHEAP TRICK, DEVO, DONALD FAGEN, DON FELDER, GRAND FUNK RAILROAD, SAMMY HAGAR, JOURNEY, NAZARETH, STEVIE NICKS, RIGGS, and TRUST. Highly imaginable and full of surprising special effects, HEAVY METAL set the standard for alternative contemporary animation. An intoxicating experience not to be missed!!! SEX AND CRIME AND ROCK'N' ROLL! This is a true pop culture animation classic.
on 2 May 2002
Well, where to start? I was introduced to this film about 5 years ago, and it is still the one film I can watch again and again.
The obvious male-fantasy aspects will probably put off women from watching this title. That said, it is ALWAYS worth hiding in the cupboard.
The short stories, tacked together with a very shallow segment involving a green orb that is 'the root of all evil', are glorious in their own right. Each and every one of these bizarre little tales is worth watching again and again, you'll notice things you didn't before on subsequent viewings.
DVD extras are superb, with a rough-cut, which isn't even fully animated, but shows some aspects that didn't appear in the final picture. There is even a massive selection of Heavy Metal Magazine covers in a photo gallery, bonus! Add to this a 'making of & staff interview' featurette, and we're onto one fantastic DVD package, wonderful.
This is a film which you will either love or hate. Some people would never even submit to watching animated films in the first place (it's their loss). If, like me, you like to watch things that are unusual, and not 'by-numbers', then you should give this a try.
100% recommended to the open minded male (and his understanding partner).
on 24 October 2007
Ahhh, I was so excited to relive the nostalgia, and watch some cool deleted scenes and a 'making of', but alas, what a let down.
Yes, this was a great film when I was 15, and maybe even in my 'partying' 20s, but Im afraid the animation feels so dated, the stories are just adolescent and plain now. Its nice to see Mobeius and Corbin again, and some funny huge breasted women but the wobbly animation looks drawn by artists not animators. Worse so, theres really only one deleted scene, which turned out to be what would of been one of the coolest stories/animations (what were they thinking!?)
The making of was hardly that, more like old farts trying to sell this movie again and reliving their stoner days.... where was any of the art design and actual 'making of'?!?
The cool points were hearing some good old music again, and checking out some old magazine covers....
Well for 5 quid, what can you expect... I suppose its worth it just to see again, but with todays manga/anime and cg, I doubt someone seeing this for the first time will enjoy it...
on 20 May 2014
This really is a visual and audio delight, was unsure weather this had lasted the test of time but let me assure you it has.The various animation styles and stories keep you transfixed almost in awe of its greatness only amplified by its use in an episode of South Park. This is a landmark piece of production in my eyes and would watch it over and over again not just because of its great variance of story lines and characters and soundtrack but because of its almost twisted and entertaining humour! BUY IT NOW!
on 6 February 2012
Heavy Metal consists of several different animated short films loosely strung together by a recurring green orb that appears in most of the shorts. This is a true product of the 80s, its fun, stylish and has a great soundtrack from some 80s metal legends.
The film is full of nudity and gorey violence but it is always done tounge in cheek and never appears as vulgar.
The film is cleraly aimed at teenage boys but it is still full of merit. Constantly entertaining and stylisticlly impressive,
thi is a must for anyone with an interest in animation as it's target audience is different from that of most animation.
The DVD has a very good, honest and frank making of and other good special features.
Some of the short stories are better than others but there were none that I disliked.
In short, this film is a time capsule of the 80s: filled with all the brightness and extravagence of the decade and the desire to try something new and different.
on 4 February 2013
I should say, right now, that this movie was made for men. But the greatness of Heavy Metal doesn't come from its copious violence/nudity/sexuality. Rather, it comes from the genuinely original set of storylines, and the way they are set up. Also, the movie scores points for the unique animation, and brilliant soundtrack. And before you say anything, it is anything other than campy.
on 8 August 2015
This Flick has developed a cult following and I have to say its difficult to see why.The Soundtrack is Decent but the animation leaves a lot to be desired considering it comes from a magazine known for its Wonderful Art.
on 30 December 2002
If you were hanging around the Science Fiction scene in the early eighties in your late adolescence or early twenties, then you may well have fallen deeply in love, like me, with this film.
And when I finally get to see a clean and bright recording of this, I am blown away once more by the exuberant originality of the cartoon film that became the yardstick by which everything else was to be measured.