This week I sat through something called METALLICA: THROUGH THE NEVER. A concert film of the famous heavy metal band (James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo) with some weird, post-apocalyptic stuff involving a silent, zoned-out roadie thrown in for visual interest or whatever.
Since I’m no fan of the band (I like NORMAL, God-fearing American music, thank you!), that stupid Pascale guy who draws me (poorly) wants to weigh in with lame musical/artistic garbage that I don’t care about, so we’ll put those in brackets to keep him away from us reg-lar folks. [Gee, thanks, Bru.] No prob, Bozo. So here we go:
The band’s stage floor is made up of dozens of video screens, so there’s a lot of cool visual stuff going on while they play. Probably to take your mind off the horrible racket they try to call “music.”
Similarly, there are a bunch of stage props and effects going on throughout: flame flashes, giant statues, people trapped in coffins, skeleton soldiers marching, simulated bombs and rockets, dripping blood, swirling water and stuff like that. With ear plugs, it looked pretty good.
A few decent chase scenes with the roadie. Car crash. Cool looking horseman-Steampunk-Road Warrior-type dude that follows him.
Several people catch on fire. Always entertaining! (Though funnier when it happens to the Three Stooges.)
Stuffed doll comes to life. Should have done more with him as he had more personality than the roadie character who got top billing!
Things went wrong on stage. Made it look more realistic. Some think it was tied into what was happening outside the concert venue, but I think it was just all the incompetent, drugged-out, drunken idiots who put on the stupid show.
[From Mike: No, you moron, the band do not take drugs! You cannot play that fast and that tight or have all that kind of hazardous and potentially dangerous things happening on stage if you’re blitzed. Granted, they were heavy drinkers in their youth–even wanted to call the band “Alcohollica” originally–but they’re now middle-aged family guys (the three original members are on either side of 50) so they’ve moved past that stage.]
[From Mike: The music is fantastic. Playing is dead-on. A pretty full range from the first song on the first album, “Hit The Lights,” to the more recent “Fuel” and “Cyanide”. Of course, the Grammy-winning “One” and the wedding ballad “Nothing Else Matters” are included. Great closeups of each guy playing. James thrashes, Kirk shreds, Lars pounds relentlessly, and Robert thunders away. If you’re a fellow fan, you’ll love it.
Few things to note [MORE from Mike – geesh, who’s column is this anyway?]:
[Kirk, a major pop culture collector and author of Too Much Horror Business, plays a Boris Karloff “The Mummy” guitar and a Bela Lugosi “White Zombie” guitar. I want one of each!]
[Robert plays bass with his fingers, the way a real bassist plays. Even during the fastest and loudest songs–no picks to be seen. Take note, Gene Simmons!]
[Lars has no issue about going bald. Certainly has the dough to afford hair plugs, but he’s never given a damn what people say, so he just cut his hair short and rocks like someone half his age.]
[James got a lot more tattoos since I saw them live. Freeze-framing the DVD will be needed to read them all. He managed to hit all the high notes okay, too.]
[Visually, things are kept flowing and interesting. The stage design is amazing and smart. Totally surrounded by the crowd, it allows everyone to see the whole band as they move from side to side and back to front, thanks to multiple mic placement. (Curiously, Lars’s drum kit doesn’t rotate, which would’ve made more sense. Maybe he got vertigo.) The band move constantly, and the scenery, backdrops and lighting change throughout so non-fans will always have something to look at.]
[Also, sit through the entire credits to be treated to the band sitting on an empty stage rehearsing the instrumental “Orion” from the MASTER OF PUPPETS album. Great version.]
You done, music boy? Let’s get to the negatives now:
I had to stuff popcorn in my ears to drown out the noise, but had a tough time getting it all out. (Oooh, another piece just fell out. Hey, I can still taste the butter!)
I counted a total of TWO cleavage shots in the crowd. That’s it! WTF?? I thought these metal chicks were loose and took their tops off!! The only topless shot was one of four pasty-white chubby dudes in the front row. Ugh.
A shot of the roadie taking a pill from a prescription bottle. No reason for it, no story, and wrong message.
One of the stage hands catches fire and the band doesn’t seem too concerned. Takes the singer a while to go over to him, and where’s the rest of the band? I hope their crew are treated better and have workmen’s comp!
Not for kids! Some pretty strong “don’t try this at home” moments. Then again, if you’re the type of parent who takes a little kid to a Metallica concert or movie, you shouldn’t be a parent.
The 3D effect wasn’t really special. Especially after seeing GRAVITY (see my review here).
The ending SUCKED!! I mean, I wuz glad the “music” ended, but there’s a major item left unexplained–I can’t spoil it because we’re never told the spoiler! Major “WTF” moment.
[There, I agree. There’s no encore for the concert, no “thanks, everyone!” or ending. Feels like there’s footage missing. Hopefully there’s more on the DVD.]
[Also, considering the movie’s title, the band don’t play the titular song, “Through The Never.” Of course, with 30 years of material, there’s no way to please everyone, but hopefully one or more of your favorites are included.]
I say CATCH IT if you’re out of coffee or Red Bull and need something to keep you awake for a couple hours. Or if you have a noisy neighbor and want to teach him a lesson, record this on your DVR and crank it up. Or if you want to drive cats crazy.
[Mike says: Don’t listen to him. If you’re a fan of “The Mighty Met” or metal music in general, SEE IT! It’s much cheaper than the cost of a concert ticket, and you don’t have to deal with the parking, pot/cigarette smoke, nasty bathrooms and security issues. Assuming there are decent extras, I’ll definitely BUY IT on DVD. And the soundtrack on CD!)
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed by Bru-Hed are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale, or anyone else, sober or otherwise. Please sing him to sleep so we can get a break!