VOICES OF: Richard Romanus, John Candy, Joe Flaherty, Don Francks, Eugene Levy, Harold Ramis, John Vernon

1981, 90 Minutes, Directed by: Gerald Potterton

Released in 1981 and based on stories from the graphic magazine of the same name, this film has since become the most popular single title in Columbia/TriStar's entire film library. It is an amalgam of disjointed stories and clashing visual styles, employing hundreds of animators from around the world. With a framing story about a glowing green orb claiming to be the embodiment of all evil, the film shuttles through eight episodic tales of sci-fi adventure, each fueled by rock music from the 1980s.

This animated movie based on the comics of the same title is fun once you accept it on its own terms, i.e., brainless and adolescent.

The movie mostly resembles the magazine in that it consists of several disparate story segments, each made by a different creative team of animators, writers and so forth. (The comics also usually have several such storylines in each issue, most of them liberally sprinkled with violence and sex.)

Heavy Metal should obviously be seen on the big screen with a great sound system since it is basically a series of animated graphic fantasies set to hard rock music. No doubt much gets lost in the translation to video, but the film is worthwhile seeing even if it is only for the sequences featuring the New York cabby (later on pilfered by The Fifth Element) and the boy whose macho fantasies comes true. (The movie is actually the product of many writers and animation studios across the world, which accounts for its episodic look and feel.)

However, be warned that the film tends to drag in some bits and isn't everybody's cup of tea. Chances are your granny wouldn't like it.  

Heavy Metal was followed by a largely pointless and inferior sequel 19 years later which eschewed the fragmentary approach of telling several stories and settled for only one instead. Ironically the sequel was mostly inspired by this movie's final story of a scantily clad female warrior atop a flying creature (most often seen in the posters). Ironic because while this sequence is technically competent, it is probably the weakest.

The sequel is titled Heavy Metal 2000 (also known as Heavy Metal: F.A.K.K. 2 for some reason).


Sci-Fi Movie Page Pick: Animated movie inspired by the French Metal Hurlant comic series consists of four fantasy/sci-fi story segments all propelled by late-1970s heavy rock riffs. Cool fun - even though it is of varying quality . . .



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