Director(s) – Gerald Potterton (Cool McCool, Ghost Ship), John Bruno (Star Trek: Voyager, Virus), and John Halas (Midsummer Nightmare, Tales from Hoffnung)
Starring – Richard Romanus (Wizards, The Sopranos), John Candy (Blues Brothers, Uncle Buck), and Joe Flaherty (Back to the Future Part II, Happy Gilmore)
Release Date – 1981
Rating – 3/5
Blu Release – 3/5
I was born several years after 1981’s Heavy Metal was released. I was born in 86 and grew up through the 90s. Heavy Metal was before my time but for some reason I remember it becoming a topic of conversation among some of my friends in elementary school. I think it was because someone had seen it on HBO or Cinemax one day and seeing animated tits made them want to tell their friends. I can’t remember how we were watching it but I remember telling my uncle, who was only a few years older than me, about the film and he showed it to me for the first time.
It was a fun watch but I struggle to see why it would have the following that it does. Anyway, it has been several decades since my last viewing and when I saw that Umbrella Entertainment was releasing it on blu I decided now was the perfect time to revisit this one. I reached out to them and they were kind enough to send a copy my way. Thanks guys.
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows an extraterrestrial orb that is brought to Earth by an astronaut. However, the orb kills him and then terrorizes his daughter with tales of it’s evil exploits and the death and devastation it has left in it’s wake. **Spoiler Alert**
Heavy Metal is a fun animate sci-fi bases anthology but it’s one of those films that I just don ‘t see how someone could be obsessed with it. It has a large following and the dedicated fanbase will protect the film at all costs. I enjoyed it just fine but it’s a movie that I can’t re-watch without many years between each viewing.
The voice acting in this one features one hell of a cast with some names you would not expect to find in a sci-fi based anthology series with an early 80s metal soundtrack but we have some seriously heavy hitters like John Candy in this one. Sadly, the voice acting lacks emotion for the most part and just feels like a quick table read was recorded and laid over the animation. There is no real acting with the voice acting which makes most of the scenes feel a little awkward and cheap.
The stories for this one are so much fun. They blend sci-fi with fantasy, adventure, horror, and so many other genres. Most of the stories work and fit the theme of the film but the later segments do feel a bit rushed and uneven. I don’t know if they were missing their deadline or tossed in at the last minutes but they do lack the charm that the earlier segments have.
Finally, the film blends several different types of animation to create something visually beautiful. There is some instances where I didn’t care for the animation but most of the film does a fantastic job blending the different styles together. Also, there is some animated gore and nudity for those of you in the mood for that. Overall, Heavy Metal is enjoyable for a first time watch or if you are in the mood for something you haven’t seen in awhile. The Umbrella release, which is part of their Beyond Genres line, is great for collectors looking for something new to add to their shelves. Check it out.
Feature-Length Rough Cut
Rough Cut audio commentary by writer Carl Macek
Carl Macek reading his book “Heavy Metal: The Movie”
“Imagining Heavy Metal” Making-of documentary
Deleted scene – Neverwhere Land Sequence
Deleted scene: Alternative Framing Story (with optional audio commentary)