Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 11/18/99
Series - 1981 (1999) - Columbia TriStar
review by Todd Doogan,
special to The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A-/A/A+
Specs and Features
90 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced,
single-sided, dual-layered (no layer switch - movie on one layer,
special edition material on the other), Amaray keep case packaging,
audio commentary (with Carl Macek reading from his book Heavy
Metal: The Movie), feature-length rough cut (with
optional commentary track with Carl Macek), documentary:
Imagining Heavy Metal, deleted scenes including Neverwhere
Land and an alternate "framing story" (with
optional commentary by Macek), production photo gallery, pencil and
conceptual art, single and layered cel gallery, production notes,
Heavy Metal magazine cover
gallery, film-themed menu screens, scene access (24 chapters),
language: English (DD 5.1 & 2.0), subtitles: English, Spanish
and Portuguese, Close Captioned
This doesn't have to
be a very long review. If you're a fan of Heavy
Metal -- run out and get this disc. Now. Don't wait in
line, don't work for your allowance, don't even wait for the store
clerk to give you a bag. Just hand over whatever amount they're
asking, get your receipt, rip off the cellophane wrap, and get your
ass home to pop this disc in your DVD player. There is so much stuff
on this disc, it'll blow your mind. Wait, wait, wait. I'm getting
ahead of myself.
For those of you who don't know what Heavy
Metal is, let me break it down light and easy for you.
Heavy Metal is one of those
phenomena films. Sure, after you see it the first time, you'll no
doubt wonder what all the fuss is about. The animation is not very
good (or at least, not very consistent, although a few parts shine
like in the Harry Canyon part, or Captain Sternn). The writing isn't
of the type that'll win any awards. In fact, unless you're a guy who
hardly dated in high school (read: a geek, a freak or a nerd) you'll
simply not get it. Even the stories themselves are lacking
(especially when you hold them up to the originals in Heavy
Metal magazine). It's even a bit sexist. I mean how many
women really have 80-DDD breasts, walk around half-naked, and freak
out at the drop of a hat?
So why am I sending you all out for this disc in a rabid fury?
Well, even if you aren't impressed the first time, Heavy
Metal will grow on you. It gets stuck in your head and
digs in. You'll think about it and begin to wonder. You'll see
something in a movie and wonder where you first saw it, knowing it
must have been a comic, and find out later it was Heavy
Metal. In the end, you'll be curious as to whether what
you saw, was really what you saw. Heavy
Metal is so much a part of the pop culture universe, that
just for that very fact, Heavy Metal
is a DVD that everyone with a player should have in their
collection. And that's not hyperbole -- that's the God's honest
Storywise, Heavy Metal is a
group of short stories, presented inside a framing story that ties
it all together. The framing story is about a green orb (the
Loc-Nar), that is basically everything Evil can be. Each of the
stories has a reference to the green orb, and the orb is telling
each story to a young girl. I really could go on and on about each
story, but I feel that if you saw the film, you really don't need to
hear what I think. If you haven't seen it, then you really need to
experience the it on your own.
As a DVD, this thing rocks. Everything short of giving you the
original "making-of" book is included on this thing. And
in a way, that's included too. The extras are an art fan's dream.
There's a gallery of gorgeous cover art from Heavy
Metal magazine, a whopping pile of pencil art, cel art,
backgrounds and concepts, and deleted scenes. The major scene that
was deleted, Neverwhere Land,
is a pretty emotional telling of the history of the world (with a
focus on the violent acts of man), done in a swirl that is more
beautiful than anything left in the film. It's incredible really.
There's also an alternate-framing story about a carousel, that
echoes the stories in the film. It's a work print, and you have the
pleasure of viewing it with or without commentary by animation
authority Carl Macek. Macek also reads from his book Heavy
Metal: The Movie on a commentary for the film, but it
gets annoying (even if it is informative) because it's not sequenced
like the movie, so you're hearing stuff about the B-17 short while
The best thing on this disc, is the ability to watch the film in
its work print stage. It's primarily pencil sketches superimposed
over rough backgrounds, with different film elements (like the live
action model shots used to roto Taarna) edited in. There's some
rough dialogue as well, without any music score. It's incredibly
cool, and I am only hoping Disney does the same thing with their
Beauty And The Beast disc when
it comes out, using the early pencil print that came out on
laserdisc a few years back. Macek provides a good commentary here,
thankfully not reading from his book. He knows his animation, and
provides a lot of useful information for animation enthusiasts.
Included on top of everything else, is a documentary that will
inform as well as entertain. The guys behind this movie probably
never got laid in high school, and after hearing them talk about the
film (especially the bits on why the naked chicks are so prominent)
you won't wonder why.
The DVD's picture and sound quality are both stellar. There are a
few moments of artifacting, and some edge enhancement, but for the
most part it's a pristine picture. Keep in mind that the animation
isn't state-of-the-art, and the print itself isn't in perfect
condition, but the transfer is excellent - this is as good as you'll
ever see this film look. The hard rock soundtrack shines through, in
both Dolby Digital 5.1 and the original 2.0 tracks. The dialogue is
well centered, and the effects are strong. It's a good disc to run
your system on.
I'm serious when I say that you need this disc. I am not the
biggest Heavy Metal fan, but I
plan on getting a copy for several animation enthusiasts I know.
It's something you need to see, and is definitely fun to play with.
Go get it now.