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HEAVY METAL 2000 screener review

Father Geek here, we got a screener for this Saturday, were very excited and put it on right away. Harry and I both loved the ART, thought the STORY was pretty good, could live with the dramatic sound track, but hated the selection of poorly mixed rock. On Sunday we gave our copy to a professional sound editor (one whose name you all would know) to put a better music selection on our copy for us, without it we agreed we would NEVER watch the film again. It was THAT painful!!!

Reno here, bearing greetings from the heatsoaked East Coast. That's whatI love about living in Pennsylvania, nice winters, one week of spring, than -BAM- hot fun in the summertime! And the fun of which I speak of today? Why none other than an advance peek at ``Heavy Metal 2000.''

First off, let's clear up some confusion on the title. My video tape screener that I received through various channels is labeled ``HM 2000'' but the film's on screen title is ``HM: FAKK 2,'' which is what the project had been developed as.

(Father Geek Note: Our screener's Pro-style box had HM 2000 on the front cover and "FAAK 2" on the spine, plus the different on screen title)

What Starz, the cable outlet where this thing premiers on July 14, is actually going to call is unknown to me. (I believe this film's release plan is to air on Starz first and then make the rounds of midnight movies. The opening credits on my copy were letterboxed but then went full screen when the story started. Some of the composition suggests that there is more going on off the sides of the screen. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong here Harry.)

Father Geek again... ours was letterboxed all the way through. This made the end titles impossible to read on our 32" screen, plus our copy was not recorded in stereo. Very Uncool!!!

Unlike the classic original ``Heavy Metal,'' ``HM2'' is one continuous story (based on a graphic novel from Kevin Eastman and Simon Bisley) and not an anthology.


It starts off with two asteroid miners discovering a strange, glowing green crystal. Before you can say ``That's my Loc-Nar you bitch,'' one of the miners kills the other and takes the crystal. (No points for guessing it's the miner voiced by the always really evil sounding Michael Ironside.) The miner, Tyler (A name that does nothing to inspire fear in me. Sorry.) has taken over the mining vessel and has begun a crystal inspired quest for some immortality elixer.

Tyler's crew attack the peaceful planet Eden, killing all but the plucky and busty Julie (voiced by and modeled after Eastman's wife Julie Strain) and, unbeknownest to her, her sister Jackie. Jackie is taken by Tyler's crew and Julie sets off after them with the help of one of the Tyler's crew who seems to have been kicked out for being a doofus.

What follows are bar shoot outs, space chases and crashlandings and subsequent treks across barren and acrid planet scapes before the confrontation between Tyler and his lizard army and Julie and a bunch of aliens who guard the scret chamber of the immortal elixer.

Being a fan of the original ``Heavy Metal,'' I really wanted to enjoy this film, but I couldn't quite. Numerous logic holes kept opening up for me as I watched: Did Tyler convert the other miners into his pirate crew or did he hire them off screen? Why would Tyler put what little of the immortality elixer he already had into such breakable containers? (He has at least three of the smash on him through the course of the story.) Why would the guardians of the elixer lock it away with a key that would send its possessor on an insane killing spree back to them? And why even go through all this rigamaroll to hide the key in the first place? Just destroy it. I guarentee noone will find it if its been broken down to it's base molecules in the heart of a nearby star.

And most claringly- Why is the movie called ``Heavy Metal'' when they call one planet BR-549? (That's the name of a country group and also a phone number from ``Hee Haw.'' I'm embarrassed that I know that.)

On the plus the animation is fairly good, with character designs being reminscent of the final sequence from the original ``Heavy Metal.'' (There's also a very obvious swipe from that sequence in the new movie, too.) There's some use of computer animation also, mainly with the outer space and ship shots. The only letdown is when a second villian reveals himself at the end and they switch from hand animation to bad computer animation. The thing looks worse than the stuff on that new Transformers series on Saturday morning. Fortunately, it's only on for a few minutes.

The story, with all its flaws, is reminscent of the science fantasy of ER Burroughs's Mars series and will probably appeal on that level. Still, it doesn't compare to the feast of future noir cab drivers (long before Bruce in 5th Element), zombies and World War 2 bombers, barbarian warriors and coke snorting aliens.

FAKK 2? FAKK you.

(By the way- FAKK stands for Federation Assigned Kitigenic (SP?) Killzone, adesignation for planets that should be devoid of life since weapon testing had been done there. Eden was mistakenly given that designation according to Tyler's navigator. It's a lousy and tenuous way to name a film. Starz should stick to Heavy Metal 2000.)

RENO out. . .

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