Monday, January 3, 2011

Heavy Metal - 1981

"Heavy Metal" - 1981
Dir. by Gerald Potterton - 1 hr. 26 min.

Official Trailer

by Clayton Hollifield

I'm in the odd position of having seen the brilliant South Park episode that borrows heavily from this movie before having seen the movie itself.  Fortunately, it didn't really distract from my enjoyment of this movie.  Based on several characters from the comics magazine of the same name, this is sort of an anthology of a movie.  There's a macguffin that allows us to bounce from world to world with little explanation, which is fine, since the movie itself isn't exactly about coherence in the first place.

I'm always fascinated with relatively low-budget animated features.  It's one thing to blow $100 million and get beautiful results (for that price, you damned well ought to have beautiful results), but that also usually keeps animated features from presenting individual personalities.  HM reportedly cost a shade under $10 million to make, which is pretty reasonable in the realm of animation.  At this point, HM looks like the product of not just another time, but of another world as well.  In stark contrast to the computer (over-) rendered animation of today, Heavy Metal is clearly the result of ink and paint - real world materials.  The characters are rendered with extensive linework - also rare for animation.  Compare the smoothed-out Disney features, or the angular, modernist UPA animation against the almost itchy texture of Heavy Metal.

There's a lot I could say about the animation (it's a little clunky - the rotoscoping wasn't particularly smoothed out), but there are two bigger things to mention.  I respect the effort to do something different than other animated features, and this is a movie better seen through hazy eyes.  It's short-attention span theatre with tits and aliens, and on that basis exactly meets what it aims to do.  It's a late night movie, and I should have had a couple of drinks before starting it.  But it's still a fun romp, and I'll probably watch it again.

3.5 / 5 - NF Streaming

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