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Heavy Metal 4K UHD Review

The cult adult animated movie hits 4K.

Based on the magazine of the same name, 1981’s “Heavy Metal” is a sci-fi/fantasy adult animated anthology movie that revolves around stories involving a powerful evil green orb named The Loc Nar. The wrap around story concerns an astronaut’s daughter who is seeing stories about the orb throughout space and time. Plots involve a cab driver (Harry) in futuristic New York, a kid transforming into a muscular man named Den on another world, a space Captain (Sternn) on trial, zombies in WWII, alien pilots and a robot abducting a human woman, and a warrior woman (Taarna) seeking vengeance against the mutants who wiped out her people. 

Directed by Gerald Potterton, scripted by Dan Goldberg and Len Blum and produced by Ivan Reitman, “Heavy Metal” was a groundbreaking adult animated film for the time. It’s a wild, creative pulpy tale of violence, sex, drugs, wars, and futurism. The stories themselves aren’t exactly deep, but it’s the animation that takes the viewer on a colorful, imaginative journey. It’s what makes this movie stand out. Of course, the voice talent (featuring the likes of John Candy, Eugene Levy and Harold Ramis) and the hard rock fueled soundtrack featuring Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Journey, Devo among others doesn’t hurt either. 

Looking at “Heavy Metal” now though it’s easy to see the problematic elements. The whole thing plays like a sexist male fantasy and there’s certainly some not so PC content here that may turn some viewers’ stomachs (not to mention some graphic violence which may not be for everyone).

1999’s “Heavy Metal 2000” is a sequel that ditches the anthology format and suffers for it. The story (which is based on the graphic novel “The Melting Pot”) involves a space pirate (Tyler) who is driven mad by possessing a key to a secret chamber that allows immortality. He kidnaps the sister of the film’s hero (Julie) and Julie is hell bent on rescuing her sister and stopping the mad Tyler.

Despite boasting impressive 2D and 3D animation, “Heavy Metal 2000” is a lackluster sequel in every respect. Not only does it have nothing to do with the first film, but the whole story feels like a drawn out rip-off of the Taarna tale from “Heavy Metal.” Julie (who is voiced by and modeled after the late B-movie star Julie Strain) is a likable badass hero, but the plot feels like one long chase scene filled with action and sex (and plenty of sexist moments). The hard rock soundtrack does offer some gems from the likes of System Of A Down and Queens Of The Stone Age.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.85:1 2160p. How does it look? “Heavy Metal” gets nice new colorful 4K print that is well worth the upgrade. Note: “Heavy Metal 2000” is a Blu-ray disc only. 

Audio Track: Dolby Atmos maybe and 5.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? The 5.1 track is solid all around while the Atmos track offers up a clean rockin’ new audio experience.

Extras:
* Blu-ray copies of “Heavy Metal” and “Heavy Metal 2000.”
* Digital copies of both films
* “Heavy Metal: A Look Back”- Fans and those involved with the first film look back on the film on its 40th anniversary.
* Animation tests and animatic comparisons for “Heavy Metal 2000.”
* “Voice Talent”- A featurette on the voice cast for “Heavy Metal 2000.”
* “Julie Strain: Super Goddess”- A featurette on the actress.
* On the “Heavy Metal” Blu-ray the following archival extras- Feature length rough cut of the film, 3 deleted scenes and “Imagining Heavy Metal” featurette. 

April 20, 2022 - Posted by | 4K UHD Review | , , ,

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