Heavy [1995]

Heavy MetalAs long as there is a need for adolescent male sexual fantasy, there will be an audience for Heavy Metal. Released in 1981 and based on stories from the graphic magazine of the same name (possibly the greatest publication to simultaneously provoke imagination and masturbation), the film has since become the most popular single title in Columbia/TriStar's entire film library. That's an amazing fact considering just how silly and senseless the movie really is--an aimless, juvenile amalgam of disjointed stories and clashing visual styles, employing hundreds of animators from around the world with a near-total absence of creative cohesion. It remains, for better and worse, a midnight-movie favorite for the stoner crowd--a movie best enjoyed by randy adolescents or near-adults in an altered state of consciousness. With a framing story about a glowing green orb claiming to be the embodiment of all evil, the film shuttles through eight episodic tales of sci-fi adventure, each fueled by some of the most wretched rock music to emerge from the 1980s. The most consistent trademark is an abundance of blood-splattering violence and wet-dream sex, the latter involving a succession of huge-breasted babes who shed their clothes at the drop of a G-string. It's all quite fun in its rampantly brainless desire to fuel the young male libido, and for all its incoherence Heavy Metal remains impressive for the ambitious artistry of its individual segments. Courtesy of producer Ivan Reitman (who'd just scored a hit with Stripes), voice talents include several Canadian veterans of Second City comedy, including John Candy, Harold Ramis, Eugene Levy, and Joe Flaherty. --Jeff Shannon Heavy Metal 2000Instead of cartoon vignettes that chronicle adolescent fantasies of sex and drugs in the near future, this sequel to 1981's Heavy Metal follows but one story. On a distant planet, a fountain of eternal life has been locked away by a race of supposedly wise people, who have buried the only key deep in space. If found, the key will give directions to the planet, but will also drive the finder crazy--which is exactly what happens. On his way to the planet of youth, Tyler (voice of venerable character actor Michael Ironside) wipes out most of a space colony and kidnaps a sexy woman. His big mistake is that he doesn't kill the woman's sister, Julie (voice of B-movie actress Julie Strain), who then sets out on a mission of rescue and revenge. Created with an uneasy blend of computer and traditional cel animation, Heavy Metal 2000 is utterly predictable. Even the sex scenes are bland and politically correct, eschewing the joy of dirty sex in favor of glimpses of T&A and lots of violence and gore. Of course, one big reason for this movie is to supplement its heavy metal soundtrack, which includes Pantera, Monster Magnet, MDFMK, Insane Clown Posse, Billy Idol, and others. It's probably better to think of it more as a string of music videos than as a story. --Andy Spletzer

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