Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Rodger Bumpass, Jackie Burroughs, John Candy, Joe Flaherty, Don Francks, Martin Lavut, Marilyn Lightstone, Eugene Levy, Alice Playten, Harold Ramis, Percy Rodriguez, Susan Roman, Richard Romanus, August Schellenberg, John Vernon, Zal Yanovsky (voices)
Written by: Daniel Goldberg, Len Blum, Dan O'Bannon, Richard Corben, Bernie Wrightson, Angus McKie, Jean 'Moebius' Giraud
Directed by: Gerald Potterton, John Bruno, John Halas, Julian Harris, Jimmy T. Murakami, Barrie Nelson, Paul Sabella, Jack Stokes, Pino Van Lamsweerde, Harold Whitaker
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 86
Date: 07/29/1981
IMDB

Heavy Metal (1981)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Takin' a Ride

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

In 1981, Heavy Metal may have been state-of-the-art animation, but now it looks rudimentary, clunky, and flat. The writing, likewise, is flat. These stories could have been little "Twilight Zone"-style zingers, but instead they just trail off. (One of the stories, "Captain Sternn," came from comics legend Bernie Wrightson, and it's the only one that even comes close to having a shape.)

An astronaut arrives home with a present for his little girl. Unfortunately, the present turns out to be a scary, glowing green ball. It melts dad and proceeds to tell the little girl several stories of sex, violence, greed, war, and revenge. A cabbie tries to protect a mysterious woman who has also found a glowing green ball. A boy finds the ball and is transported to a fantastic, distant world, occupying a warrior's body. A star witness at a trial turns into a monster and goes on a rampage. Aliens kidnap a sexy earth woman. And so on. In the last segment, a beautiful warrior princess has one final chance to stand up against the forces of evil.

What's even more peculiar is the fact that Heavy Metal, like the famous magazine it's based on, is designed to lure in pre-teens with the promise of gratuitous sex and nudity, as well as elements of fantasy, sci-fi, and violence. But the overall themes and content of the movie makes it more appropriate for adults, who will not be interested. On the plus side, the movie has a good soundtrack of 1970s and 1980s-era arena rock (not all heavy metal, by the way), and the songs are used interestingly as background, often giving scenes an effective and much-needed boost of adrenaline.

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