Heavy Metal (1981) Poster


User Reviews

Review this title
188 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Animation is not just for kids and male teens.
lambiepie-28 October 2002
I waited a bit before contributing a review for I wanted to read a few reviews to see if what I thought would be true...and it is. So let a lady step in and point out a few things for those who are interested in viewing this film.

This film was actually started in 1978, and finally released in 1981 and I was there to see it. It is based on the adult fantasy sci-fi America version magazine "Heavy Metal". The original origin of the magazine is French, very adult, very graphic, very sci-fi, lotsa nudity BUT excellent and compelling storytelling.

The key phrase is "Adult, Fantasy, Illustrated".

Just because its a 'cartoon', does not mean its for kids.

Looking at the Animation now in 2002, its dated. In the mid-80's Japanese Anime has set and kept raising the bar on this kind of adult anime genre. This early mainstream American attempt was good, for it had a good model, the magazine, Heavy Metal.

If Heavy Metal had waited to be produced until now, with all the advancements on technology, animation, graphics, art we have at our disposal, I only wish that the popular artists and storytellers of the magazine Heavy Metal were involved. It would be a different film indeed, and it would get an NC-17 rating. The only pieces that were trademarks of the Heavy Metal magazine were "Soft Landing"/"Grimaldi" "Den" and "Taarna".

More specifically, "Taarna" WAS exactly what the American Heavy Metal Magazine was all about and uncredited was Jean Giraud who has done a hell of a lot of work in the magazines history....both American and French versions is the cause for that. You may know his work by his other more famous name, "Moebius".

If you ask me, the film could have gone one of two ways: just like the magazine story by story without the silly connector of the green orb, or with just the one story of "Taarna". Back in 1978-1981, I would assume the Studio Executives could not venture into that manner without getting squeamish about box office so what we have is a tip-toe cross blend between the two. On one level it works, on another it does not. Its a viewers decision.

I like this 1981 version of the movie Heavy Metal, although a few stories didn't live up to the level of the magazine content..or were not presented as such. "Neverwhereland" should have NEVER been cut, I would have taken it over "Captain Stern" any day. "Neverwhereland" seemed to be along the lines of the magazines' content, too bad it wasn't included. "Harry Canyon" I could have taken or left, made no difference.

Additionally, I JUST loved "Den" and "B-17". I loved the soundtrack, for Metal is America. But just like the magazine, it was adult, it was fantasy, violent at points and contained nudity. It was early "R" Adult Animation American Style. (I know...Fritz the Cat was an "X" rated Animation that instead of using humans, used felines. Besides, Fritz was Ralph Bakshi's ticket outa Disney Animation and Robert Crumb is the 70's counter culture!)

This film, "Heavy Metal" was also marketed as the male dream: Metal Music, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Nudity.

But wait...why was I...a woman interested?!?!?

It was "Taarna". This was the first animated woman in an American made mainstream animated adult feature film that the world needed, that the world depended upon, that was tough, that was independent, not a size four but voluptous, and was still very sexy. Nowadays, it may not mean much, but in 1981 when I was a teen and saw this, it meant a lot. Snow White, she wasn't and was she the Wicked Witch of the West either and that is how women were portrayed up till the release of Heavy Metal.

When I read a few stories in the adult magazines Heavy Metal from the late 70's to the early 90's, both American and French versions, the women in the majority of the stories, although drawn by European men and set in uncertain futures, wear...and in many cases...don't wear at all... and involved in explicit sexual situations..the women WERE the heroes!!

All in all, keep in mind Heavy Metal was made for an adult audience, just like the magazine. It's not just for the teenaged guys, its not just for the stoned and metal heads, its not just for the trekies or x-filers. It's a good effort for its time but if you're expectting work like in late 80s/90's Japanese Anime like "Katsuhiro Ôtomo's Akira", etc., or 2001's "Taro Rin's Metropolis" remember its 1981, and American, and NOT quite like its name sake Magazines, but its still good.
164 out of 189 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
philanselmogirl6 August 2004
A lot of reviews of this film are negative, and I spotted one that said this film is merely for the older generation. Well, I just have to say that this comment is incorrect. I myself was not produced until after the film had been around for some years (*raises hand* 1986), and I highly enjoy this wonderful flick.

I got the chance to sit down and watch the movie with my mother when I was 13, and I instantly fell in love with it. I love the way the green orb links the stories together, the humor, the music, and yes - even the animation.

True, the animation is nothing compared to the stuff that's out there these days, but this film is a classic. If you don't understand the film's stories, then you clearly weren't paying attention.

Heavy Metal magazine is fantastic, and this movie is nothing short of the magazine's beautiful creativity.

Also? Comparing Heavy Metal to its sequel, Heavy Metal 2000, is simply wrong. Heavy Metal 2000 pales in comparison to the original. Sure, the soundtrack is amazing, but in my opinion, that's about it.
111 out of 136 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A true Cult Classic, and well worth seeing.
mushrom1 February 2001
I have to admit, I loved this movie from when I first saw it. A true cult classic, and second in Midnight Movie viewing only to Rocky Horror.

I think one reason that this movie was looked forward to for so long is that it was unavailable for so long. I remember around 1984 when a release was planned, and a dispute with the multiple musicians caused it to be pulled. But thankfully this was finally resolved, so we can own it again.

I bought a pirate copy when i was in Japan in 1988 (On Beta no less), and almost played it to death. And having been a fan of the comic when I could find it, I think it told the stories very well. I admit that the "green sphere" link was silly and did not work, and that the original "carousel" concept would have been much better (watch the DVD release for details on this). The simple fact that I have bought 3 copies of this time and still own all 3 of them says something about the movie.

Harry Canyon, Den, and Taarna are the be the most remembered pieces of this movie. Each in itself could even be fleshed out to hour long length, and still be enjoyable. So Beautiful, So Dangerous is enjoyable, and Harold Ramis and John Candy steal the show with their voices ("Hey man, you got any of that plutonium niborg left?"). And I admit, the film version of the story was MUCH more enjoyable then the original one from the comic.

PS: Watch for the cameo of a destroyed USS Enterprise. I love pointing that out to people that miss it.
67 out of 80 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
sick_boy420xxx26 April 2001
One of my all-time favorite flicks is this animated anthology of stories all bound together by this glowing green "Locnar," an orb of evil unmatched in all of time and space. The animations are terrific: "Harry Canyon" about a futuristic cabbie in NYC, "DEN" about a nerd who is transported to a far off land as a hulking muscleman, "Taarna" about mankinds last stand against the power of the "Locnar," and others. My personal favorite is the short "B-17" about a bomber in WWII and the horrible power of the "Locnar." As I mentioned previously, the animation is spectacular...reminding me of a day when not everything was computer-generated. Features Cheap Trick, Riggs, Nazareth, Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Devo and others on the kicking soundtrack. Overall, a classic of the 80's: one that shouldn't be missed at any cost. My Highest Recommendation.
64 out of 77 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Comic fantasy ... and nothing more
aharmon2 April 2001
Trying to con Harry Canyon in futuristic New York City ("big deal"), striking a deal with Den, having sex with a robot (or, as he puts it, using "mechanical assistance"), bribing Hanover Fiste to testify on your behalf in court, praying for Taarna to save you. None of these things have anything in common except for the Loch-nar, a green ball supposedly containing the essence and entirety of evil.

It doesn't matter if none of this makes complete sense or if it's even that good in terms of plot construction. This is Heavy Metal!

The concept of this 1981 animated experiment is two-fold: show good and evil in a constant state of flux, and bring to life the richness and erotic energy of the popular animated magazine. Add to that some science fiction, a slight reverence for history (in the beautiful ghoul scene in the WWII B-17) and a juvenile insight into drugs and sex, and you have the definition of my '80s youth culture.

I was one of those kids who'd sneak an issue of Heavy Metal, found on the magazine stands in the local drug store next to the grocery store where my father did his weekly shopping, inside another magazine and stare at the drawings, looking for some violence and humor ... and naked women with bi g breasts. I did the same thing whenever I got my hands on a National Lampoon and, if I was lucky, Hustler.

It's pre-pubescence at its hormonal best! And seeing it again as an adult brings all that excitement back to me. Every story, every piece of music ... God, every shot for that matter -- they all bring me back to being 10 years old and wrestling with my older cousin as she tried to block my eyes when the chick Harry Canyon picks up off the street strips and slides into bed with him to the tune of Journey's "Open Arms."

This movie wasn't meant to be cinematic greatness. It was meant to be a boy's fantasy and his coming of age. Sometimes we take these things too seriously. A good movie is a good movie, and a good memory is a good memory. Let's leave it at that ... and let me get a whiff of that stuff the spaceship pilots have lined along the floor...
41 out of 49 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Cult classic.
HumanoidOfFlesh30 August 2001
Gerald Potterton's "Heavy Metal" is definitely one of the best animation movies ever made.It has everything:violence,sex,nudity,humor and intelligent story.Great soundtrack by such hard rock/heavy metal groups like Black Sabbath,Nazareth,Devo,Blue Oyster Cult,Journey,Sammy Hagar,Trust,Grand Funk Railroad etc.My favourite segment from "Heavy Metal" is "B-17"-this one is dark,bloody and creepy!My highest recommendation.
81 out of 103 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Fine showcase of a great magazine.
grendelkhan25 February 2003
Heavy Metal, the movie, is great encapsulation of Heavy Metal, the magazine. Heavy Metal was and is an anthology of the best of American and European comic writers and artists. It has carried the work of such masters as Moebius, Druillet, Liberatore, Bernie Wrightson, Howard Chaykin, Walt Simonson, Arthur Sydam, Enki Bilal, Richard Corben and Simon Bisley. The movie adapts some of the great stories from the glory days of the magazine.

The movie is much like the magazine: a mixed bag of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, comedy, and erotica. Some of it is good, some not. My personal favorites are Harry Canyon, Den, Captain Sternn, B-17, and Tarna. Harry Canyon is a sci-fi tale of thugs, femme fatales, and cynics ala Dashell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, transported to the future. It has been cited as an inspiration for The Fifth Element, by some; but it bears some resemblance to the works of French artist, Moebius, who created designs for The Fifth Element. Moebius also factors into Tarna, as the entire look of this sequence is almost xeroxed from Moebius' Arzach stories.

Captain Sternn is the anti-hero/criminal from Bernie Wrightson, co-creator of Swamp Thing and illustrator of a beautiful edition of Frankenstein. This is a fun sequence, full of comedy and chaos, much like the Sternn stories. Sternn has more than a slight resemblance to a certain Kryptonian.

B-17 captures the flavor of the old EC horror comics, like Tales from the Crypt and the Vault of Horror. The sequence features design work from Mike Ploog, a horror comics master and artist of Marvel's Man-Thing. It has a nice creepy, decayed atmosphere and lets the visuals tell the story.

Den is adapted from Richard Corben's tales. The melon-breasted women that Corben is known for are on fine display here. We also get the humor that also permeates Corben's work. John Candy was quite good here, giving Den the perfect adolescent voice.

Tarna is the most lush sequence, with sweeping vistas and the use of rotoscoping for the character. It is also quite violent. Again, it owes a great deal to Moebius' Arzach.

So Beautiful, So Dangerous is pretty forgettable, with juvenile humor and boring animation. Soft Landing is fairly pointless, except to serve as a title sequence. The whole linking device is unnecessary, as the segments bear little relation to one another and are stronger as separate entities. The soundtrack is great, with most pieces capturing the flavor of the animation.

Ultimately, the uneven stories and lower budget animation holds this movie back. The movie is best viewed as an anthology, rather than a complete story, and with a forgiving eye to the budget. With that said, it's still entertaining and an important work of adult animation.
39 out of 49 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Take it for what it is
jdjnkns26 December 2003
Sure, it's not the best animation by today's standards. However, for when it was made the animation was top notch. It does have a great voice cast and the music is great. I graduated highschool in 1991 with long hair down my back. I went to my senior prom wearing a Motley Crue t-shirt--so nothing more to be said. I think anyone like me must appreciate Heavy Metal at least on some level. I also appreciate it for the art work and the small details. Watching a beatiful warrior godess slowly don her ridiculously sexy red outfit before wielding a sword to gut a bunch of mutants--it couldn't get any better. The movie as a whole, a conglomerate of strangley unrelated yet joined stories, makes this movie a cult classic--as true as they come. Perhaps that is what is lacking in Heavy Metal 2000--truely a sad attempt as a sequel, with no potential of ever being a worthy classic to sit on a shelf next to the original. The FAKK sword is the coolest thing about the movie, besides the Simon Beasley cover art. At least I think that's Simon's work and not Royo's--perhaps someone could confirm that. Okay, but not to stray from the topic of Heavy Metal (1981)---take it for what it is--don't over analyze it. Sit back, have a few laughs, poke fun at it, and at the end I think it's worth the watch.
38 out of 53 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Growing Up
GTDMAC11 March 2003
Warning: Spoilers
I'd imagine a lot of people commenting on this site are within a certain demographic and age group as am I. I notice quite a few comments from people who were in their teens when they saw this movie and identified with it and now who cannot fathom it. To them I say, it's not for you now. It was for you then. This is one of those movies that is aimed at people from the ages of 16 to 20 who are just starting to see what the world is about and what a difference they can make if they try. It's about having dreams and pursuing them and it's about making sure that you don't get carried away in the process. It gives you an idea of what awaits you in the wide world and yet it tells you that if you hold true to what you are and make things happen you will get what you want out of life in the end. Now, the animation isn't as good as even the old Batman/Tarzan Saturday morning cartoons of the 70's, but it has style for days. The soundtrack has become a top selling CD although released years afterwards. The voice characterizations are as good as any animated film ever made. And last but not least, it has John Candy, who, in my book, just has to show up to make a movie. Whether you stay to watch the rest of that particular movie is entirely up to you ... 9 out of 10.
46 out of 67 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A real funky blast from the 80's past
Woodyanders2 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Made right before the buzz-crushing ultra-conservative religious right backlash against the gloriously loose'n'libertine permissiveness of the 70's took hold, this wonderfully wild'n'raucous animated sci-fi/horror/fantasy anthology film gleefully wallows in excessive graphic violence, crass leering objectification of the amply proportioned female form (buxom ladies only, please), and a wickedly funny line in cheery low-brow humor. This movie sure ain't politically correct -- and that's exactly why it's such a hugely enjoyable blast from the funky early 80's past.

An evil glowing orb called the Loknar (the supremely sinister and velvet smooth voice of Percy Rodriguez) spreads its malign influence throughout the decades and galaxies. First tale, "Harry Canyon" - Cynical cabbie Harry (marvelously voiced to weary perfection by veteran character actor Richard Romanus of "Mean Streets") gets involved with a sexy young lass in a bleak and rundown futuristic New York. Second yarn, "Den" - A nerdy teenager (affably voiced by the late, great John Candy) winds up on another planet where he's transformed into a bald and brawny behemoth. Third romp, "Captain Sternn" - Sleazy scoundrel Captain Sternn stands on trail for his many heinous indiscretions. John Vernon scores strongly as the angry voice of the prosecuting attorney. Fourth opus, "B-17" - A very creepy and gruesome World War II zombie outing. Fifth vignette, "So Beautiful and So Dangerous" - A couple of wacky aliens and their goofy robot buddy abduct a sassy hot Jewish chick. Harold Ramis and Eugene Levy are hilarious as the Cheech and Chong-style stoner pilots of a giant smiley face spaceship. Candy once again is a delight as the voice of the charming and amorous robot. Sixth outing, "Taarna" - A lethal and lovely mute warrior woman mixes it up with a vicious horde of nasty marauders.

Boy, does this picture rate highly as the ideal guy flick: we've got a fantastic roaring rock soundtrack (Cheap Trick, Black Sabbath, Devo, Grand Funk Railroad, Nazareth, Blue Oyster Cult, Journey, Stevie Nicks and much more), plenty of sidesplitting sophomoric humor, stunningly voluptuous and often naked women, a handy helping of gore, a nice smattering of soft-core sex, a blithely breezy'n'carefree tone, and no pretense whatsoever to get in the way of the infectiously trashy fun. The strikingly stylized and varied animation is suitably vivid and garish throughout. Elmer Bernstein's lush majestic orchestral score likewise hits the spot. A real cool treat that's wholly deserving of its cult status.
17 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Took me 25 years to see it...
panquin19 December 2006
...and I'm damned glad I did.

I slapped on headphones and put the DVD in the Macbook and set sail for a better time's stony realms...I read comments saying "If only this movie were made now, it would be so much better, blah blah blah," and that's the biggest crock of horsesh*t I've ever heard. If it were made now, it would be slicker than slick, void of soul, with the wretched music of our age providing the soundtrack. Heavy Metal circa 1981 has the texture and imperfect beauty that sustaining, lasting art must possess; think Miles Davis' Bi*ches Brew or Sketches of Spain, or the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street - that's where Heavy Metal lives. It's not perfect, parts of it are quite flawed, but as a whole, even the flaws are beautiful gems to behold, and I tell you, for every voice barking on about Heavy Metal's flaws being too much to take, I say this: you take your Saw and remakes of Texas Chainsaw and The Omen and whatever else your fetid college brains latch onto as broken things that need fixing, and we'll take Heavy Metal and the original versions of the horror movies mentioned and be artistically far richer. But you're not after richness in art, are you? You're after eye-candy and digitally rendered starscapes, aren't you? Yes, you are. And you're beggars with moldy bread because of it.

Heavy Metal is a classic, and I'll be first to admit that it's got problems, but believe it or not, problems sometimes add to a classic's being considered a classic in the first place. Exhibit A: Heavy Metal. Watch, listen and learn, youngsters.
12 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Trippy little piece of art; waycool soundtrack to boot
george.schmidt4 April 2003
HEAVY METAL (1981) **1/2 (Voices of : John Candy, Eugene Levy, Joe Flaherty, Harold Ramis, John Vernon) {Featuring songs by : Devo, Sammy Hagar, Blue Oyster Cult, Donald Fagan, Stevie Nicks, Nazareth, Grand Funk Railroad, Journey, Cheap Trick, Black Sabbath, Don Felder, Riggs, Trust} Landmark animated adaptation of the cult magazine "Heavy Metal" is a dizzying soup of noir, science fiction, fantasy and sex vignettes all strung together by the shared element of a glowing green meteorite of pure evil called Loc-Mar {which by the way has parallels to the glowing suitcase in "Pulp Fiction" and the eerie car trunk of "Repo Man"; just food for thought} that threatens a little girl as it recalls the stories for her. Somewhat dated by today's standards but nonetheless a trippy little piece of art. It's recent release on video (1996) was held up primarily by music rights for all the songs being used; includes THX sound and an excised segment "Neverwhere Land" that was cut due to running time. Executive produced by Ivan Reitman ("Ghostbusters"). Directed by Gerald Potterton.
13 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
More peaks and valleys than the women in the movie
David N.14 May 2000
The women in this collection of animated short stories are very fond of taking off their clothes and/or hopping into bed with men they just met. Not a criticism, just an observation. When you add graphic violence, elements of sci-fi and fantasy, and relatively crude animation to the busty nymphos, you have a slapdash, strangely affecting film that is both irritating and fascinating.

As has been mentioned in several comments, the quality of the stories vary from dull to captivating. The taxi driver tale and the story about the young geek who becomes a muscular hulk are weird and fun to watch; others, like the final story about an avenging beauty clad in a skimpy system of straps, are tedious and revel too much in their unique brand of kinkiness. However, the story about the fighter plane which becomes infested with the living dead is an underappreciated gem.

The writing is average and the animation is pedestrian when compared with some of today's animated classics ("The Iron Giant," "Tarzan"), but "Heavy Metal" is an amusing enough exercise in rock and roll cartooning. (The selection of music is hit-and-miss as well, and the exclusion of Ted Nugent is inexcusable.) If you rent this not expecting much, you might be pleasantly surprised.
14 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A great memory from my youth;
jpm444419 October 2008
I was a teen watching this movie and at the time it was amazing. The soundtrack was very diverse with bands from across the board. The stories were also very cool and funny. This movie has tons of funny moments and if you are of this generation, you need to have this in your collection. Every once in a while during guy times we put this on in the background and it always ends the night with a smile on our faces. Before its time, and now its timeless. With the pathetic garbage out there now like high school musical, and the Britney Spears, Paris Hilton gang, I have no problem lauding about this movie of my youth. Long live Heavy Metal!
9 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
It's my LocNar!
Helldorado1316 October 2002
This movie was great in it's time. I used to see it in the theatre every weekend at the 'midnight movies' we had where I grew up. This movie is fantastic. I watched it last month and it still entertained me. The segment Harry Canyon is IMHO the inspiration for the movie The Fifth Element. The character Bruce Willis plays, the cab he drives and the time period the movie takes place it all scream of Harry. Heavy Metal is not for everyone, and neither is this movie. I loved it. =)
11 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Aging well
haildevilman4 January 2006
Animation as it should be.

Those who trashed it are too used to the Pixar style. They forget that at one time people had to actually draw this stuff. This animation style was last used in Pinochio. That's about 40 years.

I saw this as a midnight hit in New Jersey back in '82. Finally got the DVD in Japan this year. Bargain price too. Brilliant stuff. Reminds me of the early issues. Also seems like issues of CREEPY or EERIE at times.

I have the most fun trying to identify the SCTV stars' (John Candy, Joe Flaherty, Eugene Levy, Harold Ramis) voices.
8 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Heavy Metal
Scarecrow-8829 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Series of sci-fi animated tales revolving around a powerful evil green orb named Loc-Nar(who serves as narrator to a young female earthling it plans to possess). Set to a rock soundtrack with many(if not most)of the tales loaded with profanity, sex & graphic violence. Lots of animated boobage. There's even alien drug use(a cocaine type drug called Nyborg, we actually witness the hallucinations the aliens have while driving their ship to a space station)! Perfect entertainment for the Midnite Movie crowd, but could be offensive to women and of a moral authority. Quite lurid and grotesque at times..this is not for all tastes.

Tales include a New York City cabbie of the future, with a disintegrating beam loaded in his car for anyone who tries an attempt to harm or rob him, who gets mixed up with a mysterious dame holding the orb and gangsters desiring to possess it, a young boy transformed into a muscular warrior who must defend a blond dame against a seemingly unkillable king and evil witch both vying for the orb, a navy crew being turned into creepy skeleton monsters by the orb during WWII while the fighter captain must abort for a spot on Earth where other ships have wrecked not knowing what lies in wait for him, a crew of aliens responsible for human mutations thanks to the orb in their possession with a robotic captain who kidnaps a Jewish hottie hoping to marry her, and a battle between orb infected human monsters and a female warrior from an ancient race.

Some really great animation, especially in the final tale.
9 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Louder And Nastier Than Ever
Lady_Targaryen23 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
'Heavy Metal' is a very strange movie, full of sex scenes and surreal things. A glowing green alien orb(The Loc-Nar) was bring from an astronaut to his young daughter, but he kills the astronaut and terrorizes the little girl with a collection of stories of dark fantasy, eroticism and horror. Basically, he tells about the battles between good and evil with difference examples each time ,saying that the evil always win. (The Loc Nar is the sum of all evil).The segments are: "Soft Landing"; "Grimandi"; "Harry Canyan"; "Den"; "Capain Sternn"; "B-17"; "So Beautiful, So Dangerous"; "Taarna".

This movie is based on a Comic Book of the same name.
12 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Weird, but good
ericstevenson2 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
It's hard to even describe this movie seeing as how it's eight different segments only loosely related. I still enjoyed it, even though I have to admit it isn't for all tastes. It has more nudity than any other animated film I've ever seen. If you're turned off by that stuff, you should skip this. I actually still enjoyed the animation very much and liked how it was different animators contributing to one big movie. Anthology films can be fun, if only because we're probably more used to seeing short films and stories like episodes of a TV show. John Candy's voice really shined in this. If the first two parts counted as segments, wouldn't the last one?

My favorite is the last segment which is also the longest. Even though Taarna doesn't have any dialogue, she really does develop an interesting personality. Well, it also helps that she's freaking beautiful. She wears skimpy clothes, but we first see her naked, so that's actually an improvement. Another great part was "Captain Sternn" simply because it was the funniest and must have been made by someone who worked in Mad magazine. "Harry Canyon" is probably my least favorite part as there's nothing that unique about it. It's great to know the film gets better. Yes, it's sexual but artsy for me. I'm pretty sure the ending implies that Taarna has been reincarnated. ***
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
If you stop at the busts and gore, you missed it.
jugg-24 March 2000
This is a movie about characters. The movie takes about ten to fifteen radically different personalities and is able to fully depict each one in less than 5 minutes each.

Many people view the movie as choppy because there are 5 different scenes without any characters that continue from one to the next. This is where one of the movies greatest strengths lies. Its able to deliver a sense of closure in each story and you know more about the characters than you would from many lesser full length films.

Unfortunatly, for those of you who didn't get it the first time, it probably won't grow on you. If you're a die hard japanimation fan and are looking for that kind of experience go watch Ninja Scroll, but if you want something completly different see Heavy Metal.
9 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The Loc Nar demands you view this film!
Calibanhagseed21 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I love this film.

When the world awoke form it's boring funk, disco, brown-yellow-orange-colored slumber after Star Wars shook it awake and revived sci-fi, heavy metal appeared during the aftershocks and created albeit for a small public a visual feast.

Heavy metal is usually described as a void fest for stoners and granted with the proper intoxication the movie's charm is increased greatly. What makes heavy metal so appealing is what many people call it's principal flaws, the pubescent jokes, violence, plethora of nudity, the crude animation and often its bright explosive colors. But these are not flaws, in fact to anyone with a fun-loving nature and imagination these are virtues.

The script is wonderful, with lot's of crude jokes, that make excellent one-liners during parties. "Death, death to all who oppose us" has to be a classic introduction-line for a villain (who is menacingly one dimensional. And has anybody wondered where his helmet comes from?)At moment the script even becomes epic, like during the sequence where the council of elders summon Taarna.

Although the animation maybe dated and even downright ugly, it gives the movie it's charm, the same as Ralph Bakshi's animation gives it, it's cult-charm and those with imagination see what the animators tried to accomplish. The backgrounds are simply stunning. From epic landscapes with cycloptic animal skeleton's cradling entire cities to impressive space-vessels and space-stations(Mark the brick-motief of the space-station during the Sternn sequence,hahaha) The color schemes of these backgrounds are daring and vibrant.

And there are boobs, lot's of voluptuous big-breasted women! I think this needs no further clarification.

The music is excellent. The soundtrack features a lot of decent hard rock tracks(I'm not writing heavy metal, because of inane debates by metal-purists (mostly with ugly goatees) that these are not metal-songs. Thank god, No!)And there's the majestic score by the late Elmer Bernstein. That simply blows you away with it's beauty (Listen to the Den sequence when the queen flies on the dragonflies, how the trumpets and the lower brass are sequestered by two themes, one rising, on descending.)

So in a dull world where tedious monochromatic fantasy trilogies pass for a good time, Heavy Metal is the lost jewel, that fortunately is discovered every generation. So gather your friends, get some beers and pizza-bagels and watch this movie, you'll love it.
8 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
hokeybutt31 July 2004
HEAVY METAL (1 outta 5 stars)

I was very much into the "Heavy Metal/Metal Hurlant" magazines back in my late teens... and I think it was this movie that got me disinterested in the books for good. Yes, there was some good material in the early issues but there was a lot of crap, too. Too bad the crappy elements of HM are all that seemed to make it into this movie... a series of short sci-fi/fantasy cartoons linked by the lame device of some evil, sentient green jewel that sets out to kill the one person that can destroy it... but first, it's going to tell its victim several irrelevant stories. Most of the stories are based on some of the best cartoons from the early years of HM... but the transition to animation doesn't do them any justice. The best cartoon of the bunch, "Captain Stern" is but a pale, pale echo of Bernie Wrightson's original 7 page strip. Every other sequence is just an endless parade of juvenile sex/drug jokes and senseless bloody violence. I guess you could argue that that's all the magazine ever was anyway... but at least there was an artistic vision behind it all. There is no art in this movie whatsoever... just clumsy animation, bad writing, crummy voice work and lousy inappropriate heavy metal music (hey, the movie is called "Heavy Metal"... better cram some heavy metal music in it!) I just recently saw the movie again to see if it was as bad as I remembered. Guess what? It is!
18 out of 36 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Titillating, stylish and quite a lot of fun
Vartiainen5 December 2019
Heavy Metal is an anthology of short films loosely tied together by a framing story about a glowing green orb, which stars in all the stories and is also the sum of all evil. The film has as its inspiration a fantasy magazine of the same name that began publishing in the late 70s and is still ongoing. It focuses mostly on dark fantasy/science fiction and erotica. Which sums up the stories in this film rather nicely.

The short films vary in length. Some are just a couple of minutes long, almost like short music videos or brief mood setters, while some have their own full narratives and story arcs. Different studios were hired to film the segments, so the quality and animation style fluctuates quite a lot. Still, all have that grungy 80s vibe to them, and the imagery is amazing, if nothing else.

Couple of segments stand out, however. First of them is about a taxi driver working his trade in a dystopian cyberpunk city of the future. His name is Harry Canyon and one day he picks up a broad, who's fleeing from assassins, who want the very same orb featured in the framing story, and which in this particular story has fallen to the hands of her late father. It's a cool, almost noir-ish story, which sets the mood for the film perfectly.

This story is almost immediately followed by Den, which is about a boy of that name. A weedy, nerdy little kid, who happens to find a mysterious orb to add to his rock collection. But then he gets transported into a distant planet and transformed into a veritable He-Man. The animation in this segment is noticeably better and overall it harkens really nicely back to those Edgar Rice Burrough stories of the early 20th century.

And as the last story we have Taarna. Easily the longest segment and also the one that lends the film its cover and its outward identity. It's once again about that orb and about a female warrior, the last of her race, standing up to avenge those that have been taken from her. And once again it's filled with admittedly rather pointless female nudity, lots of cyberpunk paraphernalia and more cold glaring than is absolutely necessary. But one has to admire its style. There's a certain aesthetic to it that only really existed in the 80s, and which I find myself missing quite often these days.

Heavy Metal is not for the easily offended. It is sexist, but also empowering in a very roundabout way. It is brainless, but also has cool ideas. It looks very rough around the edges, but simply oozes style. Definitely worth a watch if you like the darker movies that came out of the 80s. This is all about that.

That being said, if you want to watch something like this, but with a hint more taste, better budget and even cooler ideas, check out Love, Death and Robots, which was heavily inspired by this one.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A film that hasn't stood the test of time.
JoeB1314 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I thought this was a fun movie when it came out in 1981, but it really doesn't hold up that well.

The first problem is that you have such an extreme mix in tone between the stories they don't fit well together. You have drama, comedy, horror, and swords and sorcery, and going from a story with humor (Captain Stern) to horror (B-17) back to humor again (So beautiful and so dangerous) just doesn't work.

A bigger problem is the animation itself. It's mostly of poor quality, and to be fair, by 1981, even Disney had lost it's touch in this artform.

A couple of the stories do work. The B-17 story is quite good, as is the final one. (which probably could and should have been expanded into a full length feature, which is what they tried to do in Heavy Metal 2000.) Should point out this movie with its excessive sex and gore, could never be made today with the current batch of prudes at the MPAA.
10 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed