Heavy Metal (1981)

Taarna is wounded, but ready to ride her winged companion from "Heavy Metal" 1981

I could start an entire blog on the history of the American sci-fi/fantasy magazine Heavy Metal, with it’s rich artwork and elaborate stories, which is why I have taken a step back some twenty-eight years to revisit “Heavy Metal; The Movie“. This animation feature length movie was motivated by the outcry of audiences since the mid-seventies who felt the publication should take its work to the big screen. The problem was trying to decide which stories, among myriad choices, to adapt for screen, and how to make it into a plausible tale. Director Gerald Potterton managed to staff a group of writers and assign them to segments that would tie one story to another in noted fashion reminiscent of the publication. Each story is fashioned after the original artists’ works and each story takes on a feeling all its own through visual diversity of style. Fantastic soundtrack support from the likes of Don Felder ( the Eagles), Donald Fagan (Steely Dan), Blue Oyster Cult, Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac), Cheap Trick, Grand Funk Railroad, Nazareth, Sammy Hagar, Black Sabbath, and Devo (who actually get a guest animated appearance in the last segment). The cast of voices is just as nostalgic with SCTV members John Candy, Joe Flaherty, Eugene Levy and Harold Ramis.

The story revolves around an evil green orb which is brought back to Earth where it begins to wreak havoc through time and space on different places and characters. The stories blend together when they need to and then after a while, the importance of story tie-in is not as important to the viewer as you get sucked into the artwork and separate plots, just as if you were reading the magazine. Those unfamiliar with the magazine may not appreciate this movie as much as the true maven of Heavy Metal, but one thing I can say with certainty-do NOT waste time on the 2000 sequel.


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