Got tired of the dysfunctional Flixter Facebook app. Grading movies A-F. Only movies that I find interesting, but not necessarily high quality. Some blockbusters, some interesting rarities and oddities, and occasionally some turkeys.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Heavy Metal: Dated but not without interest

Heavy Metal (Collector's Edition) (1981)

You must put this movie in perspective. This is film history. The sex, violence and drug references are tiring and the animation looks lousy, but back in 1981 this was high end. Keeping in mind that the movie is over 30 years old, the animation is fantastic. It is a pioneering animation landmark. The animation was unparalleled for its time by making uses of early 3D rendering, Rotoscoping, panoramic landscapes, multiple moving sprites, and amazing detailed cross- hatching. And it's got an excellent soundtrack.

The film production started already in 1978, but due to legal issues around the soundtrack it wasn't released until 1981. The brilliant science fiction magazine of the same name, which began in Europe as Metal Hurlant and continued as the not so bright US version Heavy Metal, inspired the movie. The movie has a bunch of short cartoon stories that are loosely tied together. It's based upon stories or characters featured in the magazine, like Richard Corben ("Den") and Moebius ("Taarna"). This was the first animated heroine in an American made mainstream animated adult feature film. And the Best. Music. Ever.

Heavy Metal is like the magazine: a mixed bag of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, comedy, and erotica. Some of it is still interesting, some is not. It’s the animated movie equivalent to the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

This movie was never meant to win any Academy awards. It's a juvenile insight into drugs and sex, with some cool animation. It's the definition of my youth culture. Us guys in Swedish "gymnasium" (corresponding to US college) loved it for the animation and music. No wonder it's become a cult flick. Sometimes we take these things too seriously.

It's been the inspiration for and referenced in a number of movies, like The Fifth Element, Terminator, Dune, Brazil, Mad Max, Highlander, Alien, Total Recall, Ghostbusters, and Matrix.

Did I say that it got the best soundtrack ever?

Grade: Dunno. It's not meant for us middle-aged people, it was made for us back then. This is one of those movies aimed at the ages of 16 to 20. I’m to bias to give a serious grade.

Music from Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Cheap Trick, Devo, Donald Fagen, Don Felder, Grand Funk Railroad, Sammy Hagar, Journey, Nazareth, Stevie Nicks, Riggs, and Trust.

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