UHD Release – 3/5
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
Tagline – “Louder and nastier than ever”
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. A few days later I received word that the film, along with the sequel, was getting an UHD release in a snazzy steelbook. When it arrived I decided it was time to check out both releases back to back.
**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.
Heavy Metal 2000
Director(s) – Michael Coldewey (The Fearless Four) and Michael Lemire (Spirou, The Little Flying Bears)
Starring – Billy Idol (The Doors, The Wedding Singer), Michael Ironside (Scanners, Top Gun), and Julie Strain (Grass Hook Massacre, HorrorTales.666)
Release Date – 2000
Rating – 2.5/5
Tagline – “Flakked, stacked, and action packed”
When I was in middle school I remember seeing copies of Heavy Metal 2000 pop up at my local video store. I had seen the original a few years prior but I had no idea a sequel was being released. Every time I visited Dewey’s Video I would look for a copy to rent until it was no longer in the New Releases section then it slipped from my mind. I never did get to see it and I honestly forgot about it until I received the press release for the steelbook double feature from Sony. I was quick to request a copy and when it arrived a week or so ago I had to quickly make time for it so I could finally see Heavy Metal 2000. Like always I want to thank Sony for sending this one my way!
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows a group of space miners who uncover a green shard. The shard is a piece of the evil orb from the first film. It possesses one of the miners turning him into an evil psychopath hellbent on ruling the galaxy and uncovering immortality. After destroying a planet and taking a female hostage, a female survivor begins her journey to stop him and rescue her sister. **Spoiler ALert**
Heavy Metal 2000 just doesn’t hit as hard as the first film but it’s decent for a first time watch. The metal soundtrack is kind of lame with the exception of a few songs and the animation reminded me a lot of films like Atlantis and Titan AE. It’s not bad but it’s not as memorable or enjoyable as the original.
The voice acting in this one is actually a little better than the original. The cast seems to be more in tune with the project and deliver a wide range of emotions that feels genuine at times and forced at others. The late Julie Strain is fantastic along with Michael Ironside and the rest of the cast. The supporting cast is solid as well. They are all inconsistent but leagues above the first film.
The story for this one is more straight forward after dropping the anthology approach. Honestly, I thought I was going to like this approach but the story doesn’t have enough substance to run the length that it does. I liked the set up and how direct it is but there is not enough meat on the bone so to speak. It could be trimmed down heavily to improve the pacing and flow.
Finally, I really did like the animation but’s not as unique and different as the original film. It does look like an animated film of the time and lacks any memorable characteristic that makes the original stand out. Overall, Heavy Metal 2000 is a forgettable sequel that fails to capture any of the magic the first film has. It has a mostly generic hard rock soundtrack with a few stellar tracks along with a story that doesn’t hold your attention. It’s alright for a first time watch but nothing that will stick with you.
Disc 1 UHD
Heavy Metal: A Look Back
Disc 2 Blu
Heavy Metal: Feature Length Rough Cut
Imagining Heavy Metal