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review added: 10/20/00



Heavy Metal 2000
Special Edition - 2000 (2000) - Columbia TriStar

review by Todd Doogan of The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

Heavy Metal 2000: Special Edition Film Rating: C

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B+/A-/B

Specs and Features

88 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced, single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch at 1:03:14, at the start of chapter 22), Amaray keep case packaging, Julie Strain: Super Goddess featurette, voice talent featurette, isolated score (DD 5.1), background art gallery, publicity photo gallery, theatrical trailers (for Heavy Metal 2000, Dogma, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Black and White and Time Code), animation tests with commentary from co-creator Kevin Eastman, 5 animatic comparisons, film-themed menu screens, scene access (28 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1 and 2.0), French (DD 5.1), Spanish and Portuguese (DD 2.0), subtitles: English, French, Spanish and Portuguese, Close Captioned

Mmm... Julie Strain. There's just something about that towering woman - something that makes her bigger than life. Something that makes her the perfect candidate for being a cartoon character. Well, guess what? It's not an original idea and apparently her husband is the one who made her a 'toon. Good for him.

When not acting in Z-grade films, modeling for Oliva or standing in for the likes of Betty Page and Vampirella, Julie Strain's animated alter ego is fighting evil in the farthest reaches of outer space as F.A.K.K. 2 in Kevin Eastman's (her hubby) Heavy Metal publication. You remember Eastman, don't you? He co-created Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Well, I guess he took some of the money from that franchise and pursued every Sci-fi lovin' kid's dream to buy his favorite magazine. Foul-speaking aliens, well-endowed women and infinitely detailed art are the standard in Heavy Metal, and, for those who grew up loving it, it's a bible.

Heavy Metal was also a cult classic film sent from the heavy metal gods and kissed by king-like artisans. Well... all right, Heavy Metal was pretty much a half-baked cartoon. But thar be naked chicks, ultra-violence and hot music in it, laddies, so it's not a total wash. To put it another way, Heavy Metal the movie was the perfect film to represent Heavy Metal the magazine. But how does this sequel fare? I'll put it this way: Heavy Metal 2000 is the perfect sequel to the original film.

With this sequel, you can tell that the makers didn't have everything straight in their minds, there wasn't a boat-load of money and the talent behind the art was workman at best. Still, it has heart. If the film were able to halfway capture the artistry of Simon Bisley's work (he co-created F.A.K.K. 2 and did the art of Julie on the cover) it would have been 5,000 times better. But they didn't, and that's okay - it's only a cartoon, right?

The story is thus: on the planet Eden, a race of people lives in harmony with their environment. A long time ago, their planet was category F.A.K.K. 2, which basically means that it was a dead planet. But today, it's a thriving world, on the verge of greatness. But the category was never changed - keeping people away. That is, until the evil Tyler (Michael Ironside) gets there. Tyler has gone mad because he has touched the Key to a device that will grant him eternal life. He's willing to kill for it, and does quite often actually. He follows the Key to Eden, where, for reasons explained later, he captures the people there and heads on to his destination. During the battle, Julie (Julie Strain), daughter of the leader of Eden, gets away and pledges to bring Tyler down, no matter what. With the help of one of Tyler's castoffs and a talking rock, Julie (who renames herself F.A.K.K. 2) heads across the universe for revenge.

Are there naked chicks in it? Yup. Ultra-violence? Sure - not as much as I expected, but sure. What about the music? It's here and pretty much kicks ass. So everything is here to make Heavy Metal 2000 a worthy follow-up. If you're a fan, then I would imagine you'd like this. If you like animation, you might also dig it. If you don't care, then stay away, 'cause you'll probably think it's a piece of shite.

This disc is pretty darn good. The video quality is top-notch. The anamorphic widescreen video is crisp and free of defects. There's very little edge enhancement and the blacks are solid. There are a few distracting moments of dirty print syndrome, which are fleeting but noticeable. I'm surprised there's any based on the age of the film. On the other hand, the sound is hardcore. It's very loud, bordering on too loud, but never falling into that. Sometimes the Dolby Digital 5.1 is over-charged, but compared to the 2.0, I'll take it. It's pretty much front and center based, but there's some play in the surround channels. There's not much in the way of bass, but it works. It's not the best DVD sound I've heard, but it'll do.

In terms of extras, this isn't the most bulked up-special edition, and it pales in comparison to the original DVD. But I think it supports the film just fine. We don't get a commentary, which sucks, but we do get an interesting look at Strain. Behind her posturing, there's the soul of a woman who wants to be appreciated for what she does, and she should be. At times it's touching, and at other times it's over-the-top silly... but it's all part of the act. I like Strain. I think she's a pretty cool chick. The people that I know who have hung out with her all say the same things - she's down to earth and just one of the coolest people on the planet. This doc gives us a glimpse of that. Also on the disc is a short featurette on the voice work and how it was done, which is neat, but not terribly thrilling. We also have an isolated soundtrack in Dolby Digital 5.1, which sounds pretty great. There are some pounding acts on the soundtrack, as well as a surprisingly sweeping traditional score. Thrown in for good measure are background plates in gallery form, some animation tests with commentary by Mr. Strain (er... Kevin Eastman), trailers for assorted other Columbia titles and 5 animatic comparisons (essentially storyboards running at full speed with a window box of the film playing as well to show the before and after effects). See... it's all pretty sweet. Not a blow-you-out-of-the-water SE, but certainly nothing to pooh-pooh at either. Check it out.

If my world was destroyed and I wanted revenge, I think I'd turn to Julie Strain for help. I mean, even if she couldn't get revenge for me, I'd have some interesting conversation and something nice to look at. As sequels go, Heavy Metal 2000 is okay. It's nothing to write home about, but it's certainly something worth checking out at least once. It doesn't suck, and that's what matters.

Todd Doogan
todddoogan@thedigitalbits.com




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