Metallica Through the Never (2013)
Experience Metallica like never before
A Metallica movie? Experience like never before? Action, craziness, and metal? How could this possibly go wrong? Could it go wrong? I tell you what, if you read on I'll tell you just what I thought about this thing and what you can expect. Listen well, and it might even help your enjoyment of it, or don't listen at all because the choice is yours. Does Metallica pull through the Never, or should they really have just stayed there?
The plot here is a bit trippy, and no doubt someone somewhere is going to get lost. We follow the story of Trip (Dane DeHaan) on one hand, and the band on the other. Trip is a roadie with mediocre skateboarding skills who is enjoying his nice angle of watching the concert when one of the staff comes up and explains to him that he has a quest to undergo. One of the band's trucks just ran out of gas and is carrying a very important package for the show (which is already going on), and he's to take a can of gas and go fill it up so it can make it before the end of the performance. He has a map thrown at him, a gas can thrust into his hands, and right before he rolls out in his van he takes a pill - a pill that very well could explain the rest of what is going to happen, although is never elaborated on or seen again.
As the band plays their concert and carries on through various malfunctioning set props (to which we are always treated a stream of stage-hands running on the stage to try and fix it before it gets out of hand), Trip is off on the road, passing green light after green light as he checks his map for where he's heading. Suddenly, a light ahead of him turns red and he slams on the breaks, the van drifting slightly into the intersection. All seems good for a moment, and then another car comes slamming through the intersection right into him. It's at this point things start getting weird. The man who hit him is staring off into the distance from which he came, and upon Trip approaching him freaks out and runs in the opposite direction (the direction the man's car was originally going). Not much to be done about it, Trip returns to his car and grabs the map, gas, and his hangman puppet and wanders off towards his destination.
Everytime we cut back to Trip, things are stranger and stranger. As he walks down the road, a bunch of people with bats, sticks, and other things runs down the road, followed by two cop cars, then a cop car thats on fire. Next time we see him, he's in the middle of a standoff between a bunch of hoodlum/rioters and riot police. During the ensuing fight, he makes an enemy of a gas mask clad man on horseback, whose first appearance involved hanging a man from a light pole. After that, he's at the truck (of which the driver seems to be spaced out entirely) where he finds the bag he was sent for (although the contents are never shown). Next we know he's being chased by a bunch of the rioters and the man on horseback, only to decide that after being cornered using the gas to light himself on fire before he tries to flail people to death is a good idea. If it stopped there, we might just think it odd, but then we again see our diligent roadie on the roof of a parking garage, his puppet now self-animated and in a final showdown with the man on horseback that causes most of the city-scape to look quite bombed-out and destroyed at it's conclusion.
If that didn't make sense, then you can probably join the line of folks who agree. As a music video, it's cool and provides quite a bit of cool costumes and action to that Metallica audio backdrop - but as an actual story it's maybe only about 10 percent of the actual film - if even. For the vast majority of the time you spend watching this movie, it's nothing more than a Metallica concert. Considering the track selection is of a lot of songs from Metallica that I do like, this isn't such a bad thing - and if you go in expecting to get that Metallica concert feel you'll be quite infatuated with the movie I'm sure. The sounds are crisp and over the surround sound it had a meat to it that made me wish I had a far better subwoofer than what I do. Of course, on the other hand, if you don't like Metallica for some reason (particularly older Metallica), then you aren't going to be having a good time with this soundtrack.
As mentioned, costumes during the brief Trip segments are pretty fancy, ranging from generic hoodies and bandanas to our over-the-top horse mounted executioner in his gasmask and seemingly custom made anti-riot horse armor. It's an interesting spin on modern attire, one that wouldn't be incredibly unthought of to imagine a bunch of metal-heads wearing, yet still much more entertaining then the average fair we see in movies. The stage props are all evocative of Metallica album covers past, such as the electric chair from Ride the Lightning, the graveyard of crosses from Master of Puppets, and the coffins from Death Magnetic. The elaborateness and scale of these changes from prop to prop, with tesla-style electricity for the electric chair or just some mood lighting for the crosses, and really does give you a feel for the atmosphere of the concert.
Helping with the feeling of being at a concert is the 3D available on some copies (I went with a blu ray 3D version, to build up my collection a bit). Although it's nothing more elaborate than adding a feel of depth to the film, this works excellently during panning shots of the concert where it feels as though you are a member of the foremost crowd section thanks to the added depth. Part of this might be a bit muted thanks to the movie's overall rather dark presentation, but after I figured out that it was essentially nothing more than a concert with a new music video in the background, it became a lot more focused on the enjoyment of the concert side where that extra depth of field really pops out and becomes enjoyable.
So it's obvious right off the bat that if you don't like Metallica, you should stay away from this movie, right? I mean, their name is right there in the title, so it's kind of implied that your going to be listening to a lot of Metallica. I will admit, I was pretty disappointed when I first watched this, as I had been under the assumption that this was going to be more of a rock opera-esque experience similar to Interstella 5555 or even Repo! The Genetic Opera where the action on screen is all Trip's adventure, and the music instead of large batches of dialogue are used to tell the story. It doesn't even come close to this in reality, with the duration of the Trip segments being incredibly small in relation to the amount of screen time the band playing the concert gets, and I guess I probably should have seen that coming. As far as recommendations go, if you like Metallica and you want to have a slightly more gnarly version of a concert DVD, then this is probably the disc your looking for. On the other hand, if you were looking for some mind-blowing new experience, then you can quite honestly probably just skip over it.