Movie Review: Heavy Metal (1981)


A glowing green ball – which embodies ultimate evil – terrorizes a young girl with an anthology of bizarre and stunning stories of dark fantasy, eroticism and horror.


It goes without saying how amazing this film is. I had the privilege of seeing this movie in theaters in 1981 when it debuted, and I now have the same privilege of reviewing it in its 4K presentation mode. For those from that era, this film has never been in a state where it could handle today’s 4K resolution, so it’s great to see it re-mastered and in high definition, where we can be seen in all its splendor on big screen TV. According to obvious methodology, the original had to have some degree of noise added to its image in order to cope with the resurgent (since the original animation was never rendered in high resolution) nevertheless it is a pleasure now to enjoy it on larger screens.

Heavy metal was the first (and really only) true feature created from the heavy metal magazine franchise. It was animation in its most groundbreaking form with a rather edgy, furious story. It featured the styles of some of the magazine’s best artist stories. Heavy Metal had a later release under the same brand “Heavy Meal 2000”, but was far from the style and format that its original did. The Heavy Metal 1981 release was a unique one that has remained an iconic piece of film production that established a loyal cult following for many years after.

The animation styles (as discussed behind the scenes) were studied and duplicated from the magazine so that the magazine’s artist shorts were presented in the same way that these readers were used to. “Heavy Metal”, the film, was also considered a breakthrough for its animation styles, which did not yet have the luxury of computer animation techniques. Because of this, the techniques found in the film were often invented on the spot using a variety of approaches to give the film depth and originality and utilize the aspects of rotoscoping. The film was primarily created during a Canadian cast using the animation studios from that region.

To get to the story at hand, Heavy metal focused on the story of an evil bullet called Loc-nar (“the sum of all evils”). Loc-nar was a form of evil creature that had gone through the ages, encapsulated in a green sphere. Its purpose was to corrupt those who sought it and those who possessed it. According to the intro, it is brought to Earth by an astronaut whose spaceship is an old car. When it melts him by openness, it focuses on telling its story through the ages to a young girl (the astronaut daughter), who is revealed as a future threat to its existence.

This sets the tone for several short films that follow this range in timeline, animation style and sometimes even dimension. The stories are modern fantasy tales that focus on the genres of science fiction and horror. Each story is properly encapsulated with a mix of original rock numbers that go into the next.

Speaking of which, one can not talk about this movie without mentioning its equally amazing soundtrack featuring some of the best bands and acts from that era. Even more important is a collective of extremely appropriate releases that fit the narrative of the story (“Open Arms”, “The Mob Rules”, “Veteran of the Psychic Wars” and many others) with bands like Cheap Trick, Journey, Sammy Hagar, Riggs , Black Sabbath, to name a few that prove a solid experience.

Among the films are more notable stories “The”, “Harry Canyon” and “Captain Sternn”. Heavy metal is animated entertainment at its best. The film ends up on his Taarna card, which puts things in full circle.

It’s a blast of eye candy, color and narrative combined with voice overs from leading actors. While another film, its sequel “Heavy Metal 2000”, was created later, it failed to capture the original intention, often using newer computer animation styles to help it further. In addition, Heavy metal would also use furious segments that at times used animated nudity to match its printed magazine style, of which it was inspired. To increase its intensity, many of the shorts would also use some form of violence among their characters, rounding off this film with a solid sense of modern rock and roll entertainment at the adult level.

The critics did not favor the film at the time, but like many of this kind (especially these animated films from that era) they went on to a huge and lasting cult status in the years to come. Heavy metal also inspired soon-to-be-released animations such as “Rock & Rule,” which took a similar approach.

In short, Heavy Metal is a cult film worth seeing and experiencing. This latest release is coming out in 4K resolution UHD and also includes “Heavy Metal 2000” to round off this amazing release of!

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