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This review originally appeared in issue 14 of THE CINEMA LASER.


HEAVY METAL ($40) is one of the most eagerly awaited home video releases of all time. HEAVY METAL has been in home video limbo for years while the complicated musical rights to the film have been painstakingly cleared. The film is a cult classic from 1981, a combination of sex, drugs and rock and roll in animated form. Based upon the adult comic of the same name, HEAVY METAL-the movie is a series of vignettes that uses a glowing, evil, mystical orb as its unifying element. The plot of the film has the glowing green orb reveal tales about how it is has either corrupted or destroyed all the beings who have encountered it. The various sequences are uneven in tone, with various animation styles, and the types of stories that run the gamut from serious sci-fi to throwaway. HEAVY METAL succeeds because the film carries forth the aggressive style of the magazine, but it never takes itself too seriously. Then again, it could be the number of animated naked females which populate HEAVY METAL that have lead to the film’s cult success. HEAVY METAL features the vocal talents of John Candy, John Vernon and Harold Ramis as well as the musical talents of Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, Cheap Trick, Devo, Journey, Stevie Nicks and Sammy Hagar.

Columbia TriStar has done a phenomenal job transferring HEAVY METAL to Laserdisc. The disc is THX certified and has been Letterboxed to the proper 1.85:1 theatrical aspect ratio. The film element used for the transfer appears nearly pristine, and the transfer colorful and richly detailed.

The digitally encoded Dolby Surround soundtrack has a good solid mix which must be amplified for the rock music, as well as Elmer Bernstein’s terrific score. The Sony DADC pressing was free from serious flaws. HEAVY METAL is a minor animated masterpiece which most Laserdisc collectors will want to add to their collections.


Laserdisc reviews are Copyright 1997 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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