I’ve just come back from the IMAX screening of the new Metallica movie, Through the Never.
What I expected was, rather foolishly I now know, a movie with a Metallica soundtrack. What you get is Metallica in concert, in 3D, in IMAX, and some kind of weird, mess of a very small movie intertwined.
The show that you see, Metallica in concert, shot in Canada, is stunning. The affects during the concert, particularly the helicopter fly-over, are jaw-droppingly good. It makes you want to go and see the band in concert, which is obviously a good thing.
The set designers use lasers and surround sound and flames and video to create a totally immersive experience that will leave you visually spellbound.
The 3D, you’ll be pleased to hear, is used surprisingly sparingly and looks best when focusing on drummer Lars Ulrich or panning around lead singer James Hetfield, guitarist Kirk Hammett or bassist Robert Trujillo.
In between pretty much every song (and sometimes mid-song), you get a short clip that attempts to string together some kind of short movie.
This movie is about a junior roadie called Trip, played by Dane DeHann, who is sent on a quest to receive something that the band can’t do without. Just before he sets off he drops a pill and experiences a surreal journey trying to conquer his quest.
Sometimes the songs match the movie, sometimes they don’t. The issue though is that the ‘movie’ – such that it is – doesn’t work…at all. And so you’re left just wanting to see more of Metallica in concert, which is the best part and, despite the usual close up shots of the wrong guitarist during solos, is fantastic to see.
The ‘movie’ just begins to get in the way. Perhaps that’s because there isn’t really a plot, or a point, or anything really.
This is obviously an attempt by director Nimrod Antal (Predators, Vacancy) to push the boundaries of the concert movie in a way you’re unlikely to see with the new One Direction showing! It’s a good attempt that misses the mark but is saved by the actual concert itself and, of course, the music of the legends that are Metallica.
Strangely the band members get writing and producing credits for the movie and previous bassist Cliff Burton gets a producing credit too…from beyond the grave, which fits with the amount of gravestones you see on the film I guess.