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