Weekend Review – Heavy Metal 2000

I’ve come to realize that I haven’t deliberatly reviewed anything that was widly considered to be a “bad” film after a while. As someone who has seen most of the first movie, and listened to the soundtrack (and heard good things about the magazine), I have decided to give Heavy Metal 2000 a try. Is it your one-way ticket to midnight, or does it take you someplace worse?

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Michael Ironside as Tyler
Julie Strain-Eastman as Julie
Billy Idol as Odin
Pier Paquette as Germain St-Germain
Sonja Ball as Kerrie
Brandy Moffatt as Lambert
Rick Jones as Zeek
Arthur Holden as Dr. Schecter
Alan Fawcett as Jefferson

Written by Kevin Eastman, Carl Maecek, R. Payne Cabeen
Based on “The Melting Pot” by Kevin Eastman, Eric Talbot, Simon Bisley (as serialized in Heavy Metal Magazine)
Animated by
CinéGroupe and Imagine Asia Studio.
Directed by Michael Coldewey & Michel Lemire

Premise

After her home settlement is destroyed by a lunatic seeking a source for immortality, Julie chases after him on a quest for revenge.

High Point

The score is excellent. The first film became a cult-classic for the rock portions of the soundtrack. If this film should become a cult-classic for anything (aside from being bad), the score would do it. There actually is a score CD, but you have to hunt for it, and the one copy I found was used through Amazon.com and runs $60 because it’s out of print.

To give credit where credit is due, Michael Ironside (and the animators) keep Tyler on a somewhat slow burn, as far as his crazy villany is concerned, for most of the movie. Billy Idol isn’t half bad either.

Oh, and “Buried Alive” by Billy Idol (the song for the ending credits) is pretty good.

Low Point

The script is really trite. Every time it starts to go someplace interesting, it goes back to being kind of lame, whether it’s through poor animation, lame one-liners (spouted particularly from either Strain or by Ironside), or even product placement for the sequel video game. The rock music (which made the first film famous) doesn’t fit in as well here, with a few exceptions (Insane Clown Posse’s contribution works fairly well as background music on the New Calcutta station, as well as portions of the end of the movie, where the visual style gets more, well, metal).

Germain is more annoying than Jar-Jar, and does not get shot at any point in the film. Beaten, abused verbally, bound and gagged, but never killed.

How the hell does using a table as cover work with ray guns! It doesn’t even work with the kind that fire bullets. Not to mention we get an explosion in a space station (that clearly breaches the hull) and there’s no explosive decompression (something that even most of the more space-operatic films gets right) *Head Explodes*

Nudity and Violence

Loads of graphic violence, profanity, and female nudity.

The Scores

Originality: It’s an adaptation of a comic book storyline, one that’s not entirely original, though it manages to distinguish itself from the original film by dropping both the anthology style and the Lok-Narr. 3 out of 6

Animation: The animation is really it and miss. The CGI stuff is pretty good – and some of the stuff even starts to approach the detail of some of Möbius’ stuff from Heavy Metal Magazine, but others just isn’t as good. In particular, with some of the shots on Julie’s home planet, they just appear incapable of pulling off a wide shot, like they’re afraid of letting us see too much of the world because they’re afraid that they can’t animated it well enough to hold up (and they kind of can’t). 2 out of 6

Story: It’s an incredibly cliched revenge story with essentially no elements to make it more interesting than better stories. 1 out of 6

Voice Acting: The acting is fairly hit-and miss, and the script doesn’t help. Ironside does what he can with what he’s given, but what he’s given isn’t very good. Strain does the same, but, well, serious acting isn’t what she’s known for – she’s known for being a porn star and being in B-Movies (not that that dooms her to being a bad actor) – but again, with a bad script and a mediocre director you can only get so much. 2 out of 6

Emotional Response: I really didn’t care about any of the characters in this film. This movie provoked less emotional response in an hour and a half than any of the stories in the first film could provoke in a few minutes. 1 out of 6

Production: The score is surprisingly good, and most of the sound design is good – except for the weapons. 3 out of 6

Overall: The film’s score (what we get of it) is great, but that’s it. I wouldn’t pay money specifically to see this (in fact, I didn’t, I streamed it from Netflix – rather than using one of my 3-disks-at-at-time on it). That said, Heavy Metal Magazine became (in)famous because it provided artists and writers a venue to tell science fiction and fantasy stories they wanted, with good (to great) art and decent (to great) stories, without any restrictions regarding content (leading to the gratuitious nudity and gore that the comic was also famous for). The first film took that base, and also got some suprisingly good actors on the cast, as well as some excellent choices in rock music (used appropriately). Well, 2-out-of-5 is bad. 1 out of 6

In total, Heavy Metal 2000 receives a 13 out of 42.

7 replies on “Weekend Review – Heavy Metal 2000”

  1. Chad Cloman says:

    I appreciate the nudity and violence warning. Is this something you can include in every review?

  2. AceCaseOR says:

    Well, I mainly started doing it with animated films, basically because of all the horror stories I’d heard about video stores shelving Legend of the Overfiend in the children’s section because it’s animated (it’s also very disturbing porn), or the mother who took her kid to see Grave of the Fireflies, or Akira. So, I started including the content warnings basically as a quick evaluation guide for parents, without making hard-and-fast age judgements.

    But, yeah, I can continue with the nudity and violence warning in my live-action reviews as well.

  3. octa says:

    I was an HM subscriber when this movie came out. I remember many issues filled with preview stills and interviews prior to release and it really got me pumped up. Needless to say the end product disappointed greatly and was an obvious vanity project for Kevin Eastman(he casted his own wife!).

    I don’t know why they moved away from the anthology feel. There were many HM stories since ’81 I would have loved to have seen animated. Opportunity lost.

    Its one saving grace was the release of the F.A.K.K.2 video game tie in, a unique and surprisingly excellent action RPG at a time when the genre was sorely lacking on the PC. I’d rather see a sequel of it than the movie :)

  4. fiziko says:

    ceCaseOR wrote:

    How the hell does using a table as cover work with ray guns! It doesn’t even work with the kind that fire bullets.

    That depends on where you bought the table.

    • AceCaseOR says:

      By the way, I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but the line of my review that you quoted, is (thus far) my favorite line I’ve ever written for a review, anywhere.

  5. octa says:

    I went looking to see what Heavy Metal has been up to and was surprised to see that not only is another movie in the works but it’s been confirmed to be an anthology like the first one. The whole thing is being headed by David Fincher. Even James Cameron is involved… this seems epic. Someone pinch me.

    http://www.heavymetalmagazinefanpage.com/movieshm2.html

    Then I read it’s going to be all 3D animation :(

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