Critic Reviews



Based on 13 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
A genuinely outrageous and occasionally brilliant coupling of American animation and classic early-Eighties heavy metal (does anybody even remember Riggs and Trust?).
That it is a cartoon that takes kids right out of the equation is the best recommendation of all.
For anyone who doesn't think an hour and a half is a long time to spend with a comic book, Heavy Metal is impressive. Though it owes some slight bit of its toughness and nihilism to Ralph Bakshi, this animated feature is off on its own track, combining science fiction, mysticism, sex, violence and rock music. Much of the time, these elements do what the film makers want them to, and make for a heady mix.
The film never transcends the racist, sexist, neofascist implications of its base material, but it works entertainingly within them, and even manages a bit of auto-analysis in John Candy's ironic, adolescent narration of the "Den" episode. Better than it had to be, for which some honor is due.
Courtesy of a vastly overlong, relatively unrousing 27-minute end-piece that may be the technical highpoint of the film, but lacks the punch and tightness of the earlier segments, the venture tends to run out of steam. Still, the net effect is an overridingly positive one.
It's a mixed bag, but successful in a mindless, adolescent way. The spirited, energetic music is contributed by a variety of rock performers, including Blue Oyster Cult, Black Sabbath and Nazareth.
Time Out
Fantasies that are gratuitously sexist and Fascist (macho whoring and warmongering), and whose roots reach all the way back to post-hippie paranoia, feed the tangled plot-lines of a movie that, given the orchestral overkill and surprisingly low profile of heavy metal music, should disappoint even the teenage wet-dreamers it's aimed at.
It's dismally bad, but not remotely connected to reality, so it can't be that dangerous. In short, it won't cause blindness or hairy palms. And if the soundtrack gets a proper amount of recognition, it shouldn't damage anybody's hearing, either.
Like "Rocky Horror Picture Show," Heavy Metal makes most sense as a midnight weekend feature, when many of its viewers are likely to be herbally and chemically addled. Without the help of intoxicants, Heavy Metal comes across as what it is - a wildly sophomoric and stupid cartoon celebrating gore, rape and bad music.
Washington Post
Heavy Metal is one of the worst ideas ever to be translated into a movie. [8 Aug 1981, p.C10]

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