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262 of 276 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2003
I can't believe the number of negative reviews this movie has gotten! I bet these people don't like James Bond movies, either.
To fully appreciate Heavy Metal, one has to understand the era it came out in. At the time, most animation, at least what was seen in the US, was frequently of the "family entertainment" variety seen in Saturday morning cartoons and TV commercials. Apart from Ralph Bakshi, most animators were basically shackled by the need to present something that was "rated G". Heavy Metal took the exact opposite route. It was a liberating experience for the animators working on the film to be allowed to draw things they usually weren't allowed. And they got paid to do it, too!
After the opening Soft Landing sequence, we're introduced to the Loc-Nar, a glowing green orb responsible for all the evil that has plagued the universe (or at least, that which has plagued the human race). The various stories contained in the film are told by the Loc-Nar to a young girl, as examples of it's awesome power.
The stories include the film noir homage Harry Canyon, the male "wish fulfillment fantasy" of Den (which demonstrates the versatility of the late John Candy, who voices both Dan, the science nerd who gets transported into an alternate dimension by the Loc-Nar, as well as Den, the Conan/He-Man-esque beefcake that he is magically transformed into), the highly amusing Captain Sternn (trivia: the voice of the prosecutor is done by John Vernon, the actor who portrayed Dean Wormer in Animal House), the EC-esque B-17 (aka Gremlins, which went through so many script revisions, it's a miracle it got finished at all), the bizarrely hilarious So Beautiful And So Dangerous (ok, maybe there's some truth to the juvenilia charges during this segment, but only a corpse could keep from laughing at this piece), and revenge scenario of Taarna (imagine a tougher, sexier version of Xena, only about a decade and a half earlier).
While there IS some element of juvenilia here, it's no worse than any other movie that's been released by any major studio during the last 25 years. In fact, I bet it's a little more cerebral than most of those other movies. Harry Canyon is a rather crafted film noir homage, while some elements of Taarna are clearly patterned on Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns. And while there are a couple sex scenes and a certain amount of excessive violince in Heavy Metal, again, it's nothing compared to some of the garbage that's shown on cable TV these days. I'd certainly rather watch this than Basic Instinct or No Way Out.
This movie is a classic piece of animation. Yeah, some of it's rough around the edges, but that has a lot to do with Columbia's decision to move up the deadline so they could have the original movie out in time for the summer 81 season. One has to consider the scope of the undertaking, and the relatively short time that was at hand to create it.
Look at the "travelling sequence" during Taarna, where she's shown riding her mount (a sort of large bird creature) over a rolling landscape, and consider that it was done WITHOUT the use of any kind of computer generated work. It's explained in the audio commentary on the rough cut of the film, as well as during the documentary how it was done, and why it didn't quite turn out as planned). No one had ever done anything like that, and it had to all be done by hand.
Really, you can't take this movie too seriously. It's a movie that exists soley to entertain. There's no big message or point to the movie. Just put the DVD in the player, turn out the lights, turn up the volume LOUD, and just enjoy the trip.
It should be noted, that this disc also contains some of the best bonus features I've seen on any DVD. Besides the regular movie, you get a full length "rough cut" of the film, consisting of storyboards, pencil tests, and some completed animation. The only audio for this rough cut (besides the optional audio commentary, by Carl Macek, who also does a completely different commentary for the finished movie) is the dialog. There's long stretches of silence, but it's worth watching, as there's lots of bits of dialog that were cut from the final movie (we learn, for instance, that Katharine, like Den, was also transformed when she was transported to this mysterious alternate universe). It's also interesting to note that the stories weren't always in the order that they were in the final movie.
There's also a half hour documentary with interviews from many of the filmmakers involved in making the film. We finally find out why we see a model of a house blowing up at the end (because they didn't have time to finish the animation for that one bit), and also why Cornelius Cole's Neverwhere Land was cut from the movie (either for reasons of length/continuity, or because Cole didn't finish it in time, depending on exactly which version of the story you wish to believe.
You also get a few minutes of deleted scenes, most notably the above mentioned Neverwhere Land, which was originally supposed to link Captain Sternn and B-17. There's also a few minutes that surround an early version of the framing story (in whence the Loc-Nar was actually the power source of a magical merry-go-round, and the various objects on the merry-go-round related in one way to the, there's a taxicab, Taarna's mount, etc...each time the girl takes a ride in a different vehicle on the merry-go-round, she experiences a different story).
And finally, you get all Heavy Metal covers up through 1999, plus various bits of production drawings, cels, etc.
In short, this is a classic film that should be viewed by all fans of animation and/or heavy flicks. Prudes and conservatives who get cranky at the very thought of a movie being ruined by a little too much flesh or blood (and really, there isn't THAT much of either in this film) or a little warped humor (ok, there's PLENTY of that here) are advised to keep away. I just wish they had restored Neverwhere Land to it's original place between Captain Sternn and B-17.
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50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2000
This is one of those great DVDs with so many Special Features, you could spend days viewing them all. Most interesting is a feature-length 'rough cut' of the entire film with running commentary throughout. The rough-cut -- a combination of rough pencil animation and rare sketches -- even contains some deleted scenes. Best of all, there is a Heavy Metal Magazine cover (and back cover) gallery. In addition to being a nice showcase for some beautiful artwork, this section will really bring back memories for anyone who grew up with the magazine in the late 70s and 80s. Of course, the film itself never looked or sounded better than on DVD. The film itself was a nice attempt at capturing the spirit of the magazine -- it isn't a complete success, but a very noble effort in animation considering it was released in 1981!
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92 of 104 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 28, 2004
Some critics and film historians have labeled 1981's HEAVY METAL as the last film to genuinely reflect the mishmash sensibilities of the post-hippy 1970s counter-culture, and stylistically and thematically this appears to be true. Based on the adult counter-culture cult comic of the same name, HEAVY METAL definitely is a sort of spacey concatenation of disparate visual aesthetics and heterogeneous science-fiction/fantasy narratives. But despite being a hodgepodge as a whole, the film still manages to offer a very entertaining way to kill 90 minutes.
As with the magazine, the film is basically aimed at horny male adolescents, offering plenty of nude, amply bosomed women running around in the midst of stylized violence and gore; lots of rock music (though these ditties from popular metal bands of the late '70s may not appeal to the current generation of horny male adolescents); and references to the drug-oriented sub-culture (definitely not a cartoon for the pre-teen crowd). Each individual segment of HEAVY METAL was scripted and directed independently of the others, which likely accounts for the varying aesthetic and narrative styles. But many of these contributors were (and are now) some of the most talented people in the film industry, including writers Dan O'Bannon, Len Blum, and Daniel Goldberg, and directors John Bruno, John Halas, and Jimmy T. Murikami. (Gerald Potterton, listed in the credits as the film's director, was in reality the overseer for the project as a whole.)
Because the film does not contain a single cohesive plotline, it is best to evaluate each animated segment in its own right. Some of those individual stories are quite thought-provoking or humorous--or both--and even some of the more mediocre segments still offer some fantastic visuals. One of the most intellectually interesting is a story called DEN, in which a young bespectacled geek is transported into a parallel universe and transformed into a handsome, muscled barbarian hero. After falling in love with a curvaceous maiden, he helps her save her people from their draconian Caligula-like dictator. B-17 is probably the most earnest segment, though there seems to be no intrinsic logic to the sparse narrative. In it, the dead crewmembers of a WWII bomber plane are inexplicably resurrected as flesh-eating zombies, subsequently seeking to make a meal of the plane's still-living pilot. Visually, however, this segment is quite stunning, evoking the deliciously gruesome artistic style of the old E.C. comics of the '50s and early '60s. And in the funniest segment--entitled SO BEAUTIFUL, SO DANGEROUS--a gorgeous Pentagon secretary is inadvertently sucked into an alien spaceship that resembles a huge smiley face. After confronting the spaced-out druggie crewmembers, she ultimately becomes the lover of the ship's robot and decides to remain aboard.
After its initial release, HEAVY METAL attained a cult following of sorts and became a favorite of the midnight-movie crowd. Unfortunately, its release to the home-video market was delayed for years due to disputes over copyrights for some of the rock songs used in the soundtrack. Because of this, poorly produced bootlegged copies of the flick were illegally sold (usually at Sci-fi cons) and swapped among fans, and the inferior video quality contributed to the film's unfair reputation for being a mediocre film. But the music disputes were eventually resolved somehow, and the film became commercially available to the home market in the mid 1990s and regained its popularity as a cool cartoon. (Some statistics indicate that it is the most popular film in the Columbia/Tristar home-video catalog.)
Columbia/Tristar's Special-Edition DVD of HEAVY METAL offers a beautiful digital transfer of the film and soundtrack, along with some really cool bounus material. For animation fans, one of the best of the bonus features is a fascinating feature-length pencil-test version of the film (with optional commentary). Columbia/Tristar also offers a version of the HEAVY METAL in their SuperBit collection, but as with their other SuperBit films, the disc space required for the higher bit rate precludes the inclusion of any bonus material. Unless the buyer has a high-definition TV and can appreciate the increased picture quality of the SuperBit disc, the Special-Edition version is the way to go. Either way, HEAVY METAL offers enough entertainment value to make it a worthy addition to the DVD collection of any SF or animation fan.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon January 22, 2007
Back in the 70's a sci-fi/fantasy anthology comic book geared toward adults was published in the United States. This book was called Heavy Metal and it's still going strong today. Most of the stories are science fiction and delve into some pretty strange ideas. The movie was made to in a way showcase the talent that came from the most popular artists and writers of that magazine. There was some up and coming Canadian talent doing the voice work like John Candy and Eugene Levy. While the idea sounds cool enough I think the execution leaves a little bit to be desired. This movie feels like it was a rush job considering some inconsistent production values and even some of the story content. Since it is an anthology of multiple stories I will go down the line so you can get an idea where the quality lies and where it falls short.

Soft Landing - This is the opening sequence that comes with the opening credits and it's the only story that connects itself to another story in the movie. The animation is a rough rotoscope technique that has only a wash of paint over real footage. I like how they did it. Very artistic. I have to admit it is a perfect representation of the magazine with its off the wall content and nice design. The hard rock soundtrack feel appropriate in this segment too. It's short, but it sure does make quite a good impression.

Grimaldi - This is the story Soft Landing connects itself to and it sets the stage for the theme that supposedly connects the other stories together. It's a weak way to put the anthology together at best. Still it does give the movie something to put the wildly different stories together. The animation is not bad and it can get a little gruesome at times. Again this is a short story since all it does it introduce the Loc Nar. You will see this segment between girl and Loc Nar throughout the movie to help keep the plotline going in the right direction in your mind... if you want to call it a plot.

Harry Canyan - This is the story of a New York taxi driver in the year 2031. The script has a classic film noir sense to it that adds some charm to this piece. I hear this story inspired parts of The Fifth Element so that's kind of cool. This story is classic Heavy Metal. The look of the cityscape and stuff reminds me of the graphic novel Hard Boiled as well as work from the artist Moebius. The animation looks like it's at an atrocious 12 frames per second (or less), which kills the coolness of the artwork sometimes. This one probably has the worst soundtrack of all the stories. The rock music just doesn't fit at all. This one is not really bad, but there is plenty to keep it from being really good.

Den - This is another classic Heavy Metal type story and it is a funny one. It's a Richard Corben styled story and I guess you can call it every geek boy's fantasy since the star (John Candy) is an 18 yr old nerd who turns into a muscular barbarian hero that always gets the girl. They play that theme up to the hilt with some funny narration by Candy, who is great in this one. This adventure/comedy has a little more story depth than the previous stories but the animation is still choppy. The soundtrack it a good classic fantasy styled piece that works well with this one. Even though the animation (again not the art, which is nice) leaves a lot to be desired the enjoyable story and funny dialog make up for it and make this story one of the better ones.

Captain Sternn - This come straight from a character created by Bernie Wrightson that was quite popular in the Heavy Metal magazine. Sternn is an anti-hero in the magazine and in the movie he is now being brought up on charges for his evil deeds (fans of the mag back then must have loved the irony of this). The animation has a more cartoonish feel to it and does't try to make the characters all that realistic like the other short films in this movie. However the animation is LOT cleaner here and I wished the rest of the stories were this polished. The story itself is entertaining as well, but ultimately it's all just one big build up for a wacky yet funny punch line at the end. Amusing enough, but it won't carry the movie.

B-17 - This is the scariest of the bunch. A classic horror film created by renowned horror comic artist Mike Ploog. The story lends itself to being scary folklore to frighten WWII pilots or something like that and it pulls it off very well. Artistically it's eerie and has a classic 40's feel to the drawings and the animation seems to be a lot better. Some of the artwork does get limited by the fact it's an animated story, but that only lends more to the style. This is one of the definite shining gems of the movie.

So Beautiful and So Dangerous - This can be called Cheech and Chong in space. It's a mix of sophomoric drug humor, interpersonal relationships with robots, and universal perspective. The stoner aliens didn't do it for me at all. Then again that is a certain kind of humor not everybody gets into. The interaction between the Pentagon secretary and robot is pretty funny for adult humor. Again John Candy brings a lot of fun in his role as the robot. What I found interesting was the size comparisons they played with in this short. You have a ship many times larger than the Pentagon controlled by a robot and two half-baked aliens, which docks with an even more massive space station. The animation is on par with the better stuff in this movie, but the soundtrack is yet another hard rock throwaway that doesn't do anything to enhance the story. Ultimately this one is merely okay in my book. Nothing special.

Tarrna - This story is the best of the best in this anthology. Nothing compares to it in cinematic execution, which is probably why they saved it for last. The animation is still a relatively low frame rate (by Disney's standards) but there is a lot of rotoscoping done that makes those frames very effective and very beautiful. The soundtrack fits the short film better than any music did on the previous stories. The story is the best of the bunch too. The settings are cool with the futuristic wasteland. The designs are definitely a Moebius influence with some breathtaking landscapes and wild technology scattered about. Of course this story also resolves the plot devised that started the whole movie to begin with so everything is tied up nice and neat. If the other short films (aside from B-17) put this much attention in the execution of their perspective works then you would have a much better movie all around.

Heavy Metal did accomplish what it set out to do in that it showcased the magazine in a time when it was at its highest in popularity. For the non-Heavy Metal Magazine fan it's not as good. Keep in mind the content has lots of blatant animated nudity, sexual situations and graphic violence, Definitely not for the kids. The stories are interesting enough, but that might not be enough for some who expect quality production values all the way through. If you're a fan of the comic book then you probably already seen it and love it. If you are the type of person who jams to classic rock and have that biker rebel streak in you then you might find Heavy Metal refreshing. The rest of you will have to just make a judgment call. It has equal parts good and bad qualities so take that for whatever you see it.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2000
I found out about this movie through the THX re-release of American Pop (another awesome movie) that I rented from the video store (Hollywood Video rules!). What turned me on was that it was an adult's movie and animated -- something that is too rare in America (exculding Japanese features).
I loved this, and found it to be very interesting and weird; in other words, perfect, for me! ;) But, of course, there are those who'll put it down either because they are against adult animation or say that Heavy Metal is dumb and lacking of real substance. I think people these days take themselves too seriously, and movies the same way. People, just relax and enjoy the movie for what it is and don't always expect a Gone With The Wind or Color Purple standard of depth and truthfulness! Just enjoy! Geez!
Anyway, if you like animation and are looking for a feature that requires little thinking -- if any at all -- and want something adult, get this!
And don't forget to enjoy! :)
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2000
In looking through the reviews, it seems most (if not all) were written by men, so allow me to add my point of view. I thought the movie was great, regardless of the violence (which I don't think is that much compared to other movies I've seen) and how well-endowed the women were drawn (a rather irrelevant point for me). I agree that it is dated, but as that same person pointed out, there really wasn't much else available in the early 80's. If you keep that in mind as you watch it, the movie's really not that bad. I've always enjoyed animated films and still do and this was the first one - or one of the first - that wasn't made with only kids in mind. I still enjoy watching it from time to time and probably always will.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2006
Let me begin by quoting the tagline from "Heavy Metal": "Columbia Pictures takes you beyond the future to a universe you've never seen before." Rarely has a phrase been able to perfectly capture the essence of what it's describing. This movie does exactly that: through art, music, and sex, it takes you somewhere you've never been before. However, I can't say whether or not that's a good thing. To be completely honest, I have absolutely no idea what to make of this movie. But I suppose I have to make an attempt, and as I go about it, I find that the word "overwhelming" comes to mind. The various styles, themes, and characters of this traditional cel-animated fantasy clash to an incredible degree, almost to the point of maddening fascination. This is the type of movie that can easily be praised for it's incredible animation; the drawings ranging in appearance from realistic to stylized to overtly comical.

But there were so many aspects to this story that made my head spin, and frankly, it's not good to feel mentally exhausted at the end of a movie. What we have is a conglomeration of everything that comic book fans, science fiction buffs, and fantasy gurus have come to love, from distant planets to futuristic technologies to naked warrior women, all of which have unrealistic size D breasts. We also have the classic good vs. evil fable, which, as we all know, is an absolute must for anything related to comic books, science fiction, and fantasy. Yes, it all looked and sounded good, and yes, it was unique. But to what end? If anything, this has more in common with an overly energetic music video than with the magazine it was based on. I guess that's why it's loaded with pop songs from groups like Blue Oyster Cult, Devo, and Cheap Trick. This was released in 1981, after all, and back then music and music videos were incredibly popular. That certainly shows that the filmmakers were serious about attracting the right audience (even though it conflicted with Elmer Bernstein's orchestral score).

But it had to have been a limited audience; this is a film that emphasizes visual splendor instead of story, and only a select few can appreciate that (although it does help that this takes place in the future, specifically 2035). And what of the story? Structurally speaking, it bears a striking resemblance to horror anthologies like "Tales from the Crypt" and "Tales from the Darkside" in that it's a collection of stories that center on one key element. In this case, the wraparound story involves a glowing green orb called the Loc-Nar (voiced by Percy Rodriguez), supposedly the malevolent force of all malevolent forces: the very epitome of all that is evil. We don't really get to see that side of it: at least, not as much of it as we expect. Unless I'm mistaken, the only evil acts performed by this orb are melting those who dare to touch it. Still, it is a greatly feared object, and no one is more fearful of it than a young girl, one who was supposed to receive the orb as a gift from her father (who arrived back home by flying a vintage car through the atmosphere).

The girl is the one that the Loc-Nar tells the separate stories to, some of which are at best distantly related to the journey it has made. I won't mention them all, but I will say this much: we have the story (mildly reminiscent of "The Fifth Element") of a New York City cab driver (Richard Romanus) that gets involved with a frightened yet willful young woman (Jackie Burroughs). Apparently, she is in possession of the Loc-Nar, and because of that, she is being pursued by a group of alien mobsters. We also have the story of a teenager (John Candy) who is transported across the galaxy to a distant planet. His arrival brings on a complete physical transformation from thin and lanky to superhero-muscular. It also increases his strength and awakens his senses, all of which he'll need in order to save a young girl from being sacrificed at the hands of a tyrannical queen.

The most important story is probably the last one, in which a group of monk-like chanters pray for the return of a warrior who can protect them from the Loc-Nar. What makes the situation difficult is that this warrior is of a race of beings thought to be extinct. However, help is on the way; she's a mute, tough-as-nails beauty who files around on her trusty alien bird as a mode of transportation. She arrives at a temple, strips naked, and redresses in strips of leather and armor so revealing, it would give Xena a run for her money. She then arms herself with an Excalibur-esque sword and sets about her predetermined task. Whether or not she's successful is something you're just going to have to see for yourselves.

Actually, there's a lot about this movie you'll have to see for yourselves, such as regular jet planes flying through outer space or a pair of alien pilots that snort a ridiculous amount of interstellar cocaine and talk like stoned high schoolers (voiced by Harold Ramis and Martin Lavut). It was that scene in particular that showed the greatest amount of humor, something I was resisting throughout the movie. It just didn't seem appropriate for some reason. Maybe it's because I don't usually associate the science fiction/fantasy genre with comedy; that seems better suited for a silly parody. But I may be out of my league here: I know this has Cult Classic written all over it, and when that happens, any critical response will meet with intense resistance.

I seem to be dancing around how I feel about "Heavy Metal," but can you really blame me? I've never seen anything like it before; even Richard Elfman's "Forbidden Zone" wasn't this difficult to grasp (although it's a pretty close second on my list). I know I have to give it credit for being an incredibly original film, even if a lot of the ideas behind it were over the top, sometimes vague, and always intense. It was sort of like wandering aimlessly through a dream. I wonder what someone like Sigmund Freud would say about this film; according to him, dreams are a way of gaining access to the unconscious. I'll bet the writers were trying to gain access to the collective unconscious of the comic book/science fiction/fantasy fans. That would explain why such a melding of ideas was packed into something just ninety minutes long. It would also explain its limited appeal. I guess that's not a bad thing; when a small gathering enthusiastically responds to something, it makes it all the more special for them. In the end, no one can ask for more than that.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2006
Heavy Metal remains one of my all time favourite animated films. It blows a loud raspberry at political correctness and takes the viewer on a completely uninhibited, devil may care ride. Sure it surfs adolescent fantasies but has a truly great sense of humour which is at its best in three particular episodes - Harry Canyon, Captain Stern and So Beautiful, So Dangerous.
Due to wrangles over the rights to the soundtrack, the film did not make an official appearance on dvd and video for many years. The only copies available were crass quality illegal ones. Its arrival on dvd is therefore, belated but the wait has been worthwhile.
The 5.1 soundtrack is good on the dvd and is actually at a lower level than that of the vhs which was very loud but tended to obscure the dialogue. The dvd restores the dialogue to its correct place with the soundtrack playing second fiddle. The soundtrack is still great in 5.1 though and gives the viewer a great experience when played on a full home cinema set up.

The plot revolves around a mysterious green jewel called the Loc Nar which corners a terrified young girl at the film's beginning. We learn that this Loc Nar is the sum of all evil as it recounts six tales to this girl.
The first tale is 'Harry Canyon' which is set in a futuristic but run down New York. A Chandleresque taxi driver by the name of Harry Canyon plies his trade amidst this decrepit city. There he encounters a girl and the Loc Nar. Sassy and full of humour, this is one of the best episodes.
The next tale is 'Den' which sees a geeky young lad transported by the Loc Nar to an alternate universe. There he is given a super hero's body and sets out to save the world (and the girl, naturally).
Following this is the 'Captain Stern' tale which is full of humour and wry morality. All about the trial and subsequent escape of an intergalactic rascal - Captain Stern.
After this tale we see the 4th segmment which is titled 'B17.' This is a grim tale of horror from Dan O'Bannon who was one of the writers of 'Alien.' Here the crew of a B17 on a bombing mission in WW2 have survive when the Loc Nar pays them a visit in mid air....
Leaving behind the grim horror of 'B17' we then move on to the fast moving and fast humoured segment called 'So Beautiful, So Dangerous.' Featuring drug snorting aliens, a randy robot and bags of humour which tends to hit the viewer thick and fast. This is one of the funniest segments in the film.
Lastly we come to 'Taarna' which sees an attack on a peaceful city by a mutated army of warriors and the Loc Nar reveals its true purpose to the young girl that it has been recounting these tales to.

The extras on the dvd include some documentaries re the making of the film. There is also a deleted sequence called Neverland which originally would have been between the 'Captain Stern' and 'B17' segments.
You also get to know that the makers ran out of money and time in completing the film and this explains the variations in the quality of the animation. These tend to be most noticeable in 'Taarna.' If you compare the flying sequences to the rich and detailed animation on scenes like the dinosaur skeleton then you will see what I mean. However, this is negligible and does not detract from the enjoyment factor in any real way.

The music really makes the film tick though and the soundtrack is simply stunning, with contributions from the likes of Don Fender, Donald Fagen, Blue oyster Cult, Black Sabbath, Stevie Nicks, Devo, Nazareth and others. I bought the LP in 1981 after seeing the film and soon added the cd to that.
It has been a long wait for the official dvd release of this film but oh so worth it. Get a group of friends around, bung it on the home cinema, put your feet up and enjoy. Simple.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2000
A fine example of contemporary 80's animation, the DVD version of this movie is like a swiss-army knife of extras and added features.
Commentary, lost scenes, original animation cells, a Heavy Metal Magazine cover retrospective, interviews, and more make this a terrific bargain if you're a fan.
I'd forgotten just how much fun this movie was, and now have gained an added appreciation of the making of it.
Highly recommended.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Heavy Metal was released in 1981 and animation technology has left it far behind. Recent high-tech films like Toy Story 2, The Iron Giant or The Prince of Egypt make Heavy Metal look crude. On the other hand, this film still offers much to the 15 year old boy left in some of us. Namely: innocent adventure, gratuitious nudity and oodles of violence.
This DVD makes fine use of the format. The disk is packed with content. Hundreds of magazine covers demonstrate the breadth of fantasy art styles; I'm particularly fond of Elvis strumming on a woman as guitar. The rough cut with commentary gives insight into making old-style handmade animation. The making of documentary brings the pleasant sight of grown filmmakers blushing like naughty boys over their baby.
The print shows its age in being a bit dirty, and the sound is fair. We can't expect miracles of a 20 year old cult classic.
Final recommendation, if you were once a 15 year old boy, caugh up the dough and buy this guilty pleasure.
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