Years ago, I was up late watching TV and during the course of my channel surfing, landed on an anime movie. Now we will get into that movie at a later date because today’s focus is on the movie that aired afterwards. Now when I first saw today’s movie, the first thing that hit me was that the soundtrack was really good. The second was that I needed to get a copy of this on VHS (yes, this was before DVD’s) because I felt like some stuff had been cut out in order to show it on TV. So I bought it and watched it many times over the years and have enjoyed it every time. So kick back, relax, and enjoy today’s movie, Heavy Metal.
The plot: A space shuttle orbiting the Earth opens it’s bay doors and an astronaut driving a convertible corvette is released and descends to the planet below. Once the car lands, the astronaut drives off to his house where he greets his daughter with a gift, the Loc-Nar. However, the Loc-Nar disintegrates the astronaut and speaks to the young girl, claiming to be the sum of all evils that has influenced societies throughout time and space. Instructing the girl to look at it, the Loc-Nar proceeds to show her several examples of what he has done. First is a futuristic New York City where a cab driver, Harry Canyon, must help a young woman escape from some gangsters that are after the Loc-Nar. But when she sells it to the gangster and agrees to split the money with Harry, the Loc-Nar’s influence causes her to turn on Harry, forcing him to kill her. It then shows her the story of Dan, a young boy who has been transported to the land of Neverwhere and transformed into the warrior Den and finds himself caught in the middle of a revolution with the two leaders fighting over the Loc-Nar while Den tries to save another Earth girl named Katherine. It then shows the trial of Captain Sternn, where key witness Hanover Fiste has picked up the Loc-Nar and it transforms him into a rampaging brute who is going after Sternn until Sternn pays Hanover the bribe money he promised him befor ejecting him from the space station. The Loc-Nar then shows the fate of the crew of a WWII B-17 bomber that has finished a bombing run but the only survivors of the attack are the pilot and co-pilot. The Loc-Nar rams into the plane and reanimates the dead crewmen as zombies, which kill the co-pilot but the pilot manages to bail out only to land on an island filled with downed airplanes and even more reanimated corpses. Next, an alien ship accidentally abducts a young woman from the Pentagon and while the ship’s robot manages to convince the girl to have sex with him, the alien pilots get high on “plutonium nyborg” and wind up crash landing into a space station. Finally, the girl is shown the Loc-Nar transforming a tribe of outcasts into mutated barbarians who ravage a nearby village. Before their death, the village elders summon Taarna, the last member of a warrior race known as the Taarakians. Taarna searches for the barbarians so she can avenge the villager’s deaths but winds up being captured. She is able to escape but when her mount is wounded, she is forced into a one on one duel with the barbarian leader. She manages to kill him and then flies to the volcano where the Loc-Nar has landed and then sacrifices herself to destroy the Loc-Nar. Back on Earth, the Loc-Nar is destroyed, demolishing the house in the process. As the girl watches, a young Taarakian mount lands near her and she climbs on it’s back and flies away, with her hair changing color and a Taarakian mark appearing on her neck, revealing her to be the next Taarakian and destined defender of the universe.
Heavy Metal was met with mixed reviews from the critics, earning a 56% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The general consensus among the critics was that “it’s sexist, juvenile, and dated, but Heavy Metal makes up for its flaws with eye-popping animation and a classic, smartly-used soundtrack.” The audiences seemed keen to see it as it would make over $20 million in box office sales. Unfortunately, legal problems with the copyrights for some of the songs in the film would cause an almost 15 year delay before the movie was able to be released for sale. The soundtrack had a similar problem, being released on LP in 1981 but then not released on CD until 1995.
Teenage me thought this movie was awesome. Adult me still likes the movie, but has to admit that he likes the soundtrack a little more than the movie. For a movie based on a magazine, this is a good movie to watch. Yes, there are a lot of animated boobs in this movie, but there were a lot of cartoon boobs in the magazine so it is merely the animators imitating the source material. The plot revolving on one central story being broken up by several short stories was interesting although I will admit that I have no idea what the “So Beautiful And So Dangerous” had to do with the main plot except for the fact that the Lo-Nar was in the girl’s necklace. The soundtrack was awesome and the songs really fit with the scenes they were used in, making for a great blend of music and animation. The animation wasn’t the best around but again, it really seemed to fit with the original drawings from the magazine so I will give it a pass. A good movie that should be watched at least once.
Rating: 4 out of 5