A great soundtrack outshines a mediocre movie.Heavy Metal's a mishmash of sci-fi and fantasy cliches, based on stories that appeared in the magazine of the same name, complete with amazon goddesses with impossibly huge breasts, strange creatures and characters and weird sci-fi stuff like glowing orbs (not another reference to the impossibly huge breasts).
Oh, and it's animated.
It's a series of somewhat related vignettes, all tied together by a mystical force called the Loc-nar, an evil, green-glowing orb (aren't all green-glowing orbs evil?) that tells its story (yes, it talks) to a terrified little girl. The Loc-nar talks about the havok it's caused throughout the universe, and we get to see a handful of vignettes involving the orb, and a few that don't.
That's where the "somewhat related" portion of this review comes in.
Some of the vignettes are entertaining, and some are animated well. But they don't all flow together, and it's obvious that the story is nowhere near as cohesive as it could be. There are some good parts, and you can see the influence of some of the writers (notably Berni Wrightson on the "Captain Sternn" segment, and Dan O'Bannon on the "B-17" segment), but the entre film is hampered by the fact that multiple stories (with multiple directors) seemingly have little or nothing to do with each other. The plot, and therefore the movie, suffers. The voice work is unimpressive, as it reads more like a SCTV reunion (John Candy? Eugene Levy?).
The movie has a few good segments (the first one, "Harry Canyon" probably being the best), but the real star is the soundtrack, a blend of late 70's/early 80's rock that is probably one of the better soundtracks. Does it fit the film? Not entirely. But it's pretty good, nonetheless.
It's not animation for kids, obviously, unless you want your son to ogle animated breasts. Nostalgia buffs may get a kick from it (originally released in 1982, it enjoyed success as it was released to video for the first time in 1996), but most may find it a little light, entertainment-wise.Very hit and miss, but you might dig it.