Almost 20 years after the first film, Heavy Metal 2000 returns with more animated science fiction, as I continue to work my way through the Sci-Fi Chronicles book. While the animation may be stronger this time around, everything else seems to suffer.
Eschewing the anthology format that served the first film so well, not to mention the earnestness and sense of humour (the humour in this one is forced, and juvenile), this time around it’s a single story, and as such, if you don’t like the story, this one has no appeal at all.
Tying with the first film is what seems to be a piece of the Loc Nar. A miner, Tyler (the always awesome Michael Ironside) is exposed to something glowing and green, and very similar to the Loc Nar, and becomes power hungry and begins a search for a rumoured planet of youth.
En route to it, he claims a beautiful woman, Kerrie (Sonja Ball), kidnapping her for his private use, but he didn’t account for her warrior sister, Julie (Julie Strain) hunting him down to rescue her sister and exact revenge.
The rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack helped to define the first film, this one only uses clips of songs, briefly, and they are poor choices at that.
Combining standard and computer animation, the film looks solid, but it’s dead inside. There’s no soul to it, and lacks a real sense of fun that the film embodied, even in its darkest stories.
The film’s writer, and one of the creators of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Kevin Eastman, used it and the story as a platform for his wife at the time, Julie Strain, a former Penthouse Pet with aspirations of acting (aspirations that should have been left unrealised. I’m sorry, but her voice acting is terrible).
Sure there is some animated nudity, gore and violence, there is even a loose science fiction story, but it fails to recapture the spirit that turned the original into a cult classic, which they’ve obviously seen as they lift a sequence right from the last story, as an ‘homage.’.
Even the addition of rock legend Billy Idol to the cast, as Odin, a priest, of a sort, followed around by a strange little rock creature known as Zeek (Rick Jones), isn’t enough to elevate the film’s pedigree, and the film, itself, seems to have vanished over the years, better best forgotten.
There have been rumours of another film, even a television series, and I’m all for it, give us another anthology, use classic rock, and some modern tunes as well, to give it some life, and get the best voice talent and stories from the decades of Heavy Metal issues that are out there, and craft something amazing.
Hopefully, it’ll help me forget this excursion.
This one doesn’t do justice to its source material, or its predecessor, if Heavy Metal was rock and science fiction’s answer to Fantasia, then Heavy Metal 2000 is The Black Cauldron.