MetallicA: Through The Never
I've never seen a concert movie in a theatre before but I'm so glad I went out and saw this one. The whole production was top notch, everything looked and more importantly, sounded great. The sound was good enough to make you feel like you are at a MetallicA show, I was pleasantly surprised when the opening song started and I immediately felt like, "Yes, this is what I remember!" The whole IMAX 3D thing was well done. I don't usually pay the extra for the IMAX or even the 3D for most movies but I did for this one. I would see it again in IMAX but probably not pay the extra for the 3D again. I think the sound and scale of the IMAX screen help make this movie going experience better.
This is not just a straight forward concert film. The main draw will be MetallicA and the music, as it should be, but there is a story line running through this film that uses the music as sort of a back drop. Everyone probably knows the story by now so I'll make it short. A roadie, or gofer, named Trip arrives at the arena the night of the show. As he makes his was inside sees the members of the band arriving or getting ready. The band members have just brief cameos here in the beginning, everything else we see of them is on stage. Hetfield arrives in an old school hot rod that shoots flames out the exhaust as he glares at our "hero" from behind dark sunglasses. Hammett is talking with a crew member and holding a broken guitar that appears to be bleeding. Further backstage, Trujillo is seen rocking out on his bass with a room full of speakers that is shaking the room and the hallway. He continues further into the arena and passes Lars, who is walking by and talking with other crew members. Lars slows down and looks at Trip as if he knows him or is trying to recognize him. Trip continues walking until he is standing in an isle of the arena. Quick shots of the band as they make their way together back stage. The arena is full now and the lights go down. The band members take the stage and start playing. Trip stands there and takes in the show just like the rest of the audience. Standing, cheering and singing along with the crowd.
As the first song ends, another crew member grabs Trip and has a task for him. Here is the start of Trips journey. He is given an crucial task: A truck carrying an important item that the band needs has run out of gas somewhere in the city. Trip needs to find the truck, retrieve the item and return it to the band. The story scenes are all very well done. They are woven into the concert at key moments of songs, not just started and stopped between them. This helps in keeping the movie moving along at a quick pace as we don't see much banter between James and the crowd or setting up for the next song.
Trip hits the city looking for the truck and finds the streets are eerily deserted. He is passed on the road by a crowd of people being chased by cops. Things only get weirder for Trip. He soon finds himself literally in the middle of a street fight between rioters and cops in full battle gear. The scenes are cut together with the concert footage, like the riot cops beating their batons on their shields to the opening beats of Wherever I May Roam. Here, Trip first encounters the mysterious horseman. This masked man is riding around on horseback, throwing a noose around rioters and hanging them from street lights. He soon sets his sights on Trip.
Meanwhile the band is going full throttle on stage. The stage is massive. The entire floor is covered in video screens which show lighting effects, video clips and cool effects like blood slowly covering the stage. Stage props are brought in to pay homage to classic album covers and songs. They built an electric chair and 4 Tesla Coils to create a lightning storm during Ride The Lightning, a huge statue of Doris (Lady Justice) that is assembled then demolished at the climax of the ...And Justice For All. Several eliminated crosses arose from the stage during Master Of Puppets, along with some smoke produced some of the cooler images of the band playing. There is almost a stage prop from every major tour making an appearance. Coffin shaped lighting rigs are brought down during a few songs, used during the Death Magnetic tour, huge hydraulic arms with lights are used like from the Load tour.
The concert continues as Trip finally reaches the truck. He opens the back and finds a bag. He opens the bag and what he sees shocks him. I would say he is speechless but Trip does not have any lines in this movie. Aside from yelling "HEY" to the guy that almost killed him in the car crash, Trip does not speak. He doesn't really need to. The actor, Dane DeHaan, conveys every emotion with just his eyes and his actions. Just as he grabs the bag he spots a man standing in the street, waving at him. A moment later a crowd of rioters and the horseman arrive. Trip makes a run for it. They chase him through the streets and back alleys until he is trapped by a fence. Here he dons his bandanna and hood as seen in the movie posters and fights back. Let's just say there are flames involved. Back at the arena, the band utilizes one of the great stage gags of their career, destroying part of the stage (as on the Load tour) during Enter Sandman, complete with "Guy Running While On Fire", while Trip has a final showdown with the horseman on a rooftop.
Trip finally makes his way back to the arena to find the concert finished. The arena is all but empty, except for the band members onstage. Trip takes a seat as the band starts playing one last song - Orion. The song ends and Trip leaves the bag on stage. The final scene is a slow camera zoom up to the bag. The End.
As a whole, this movie was great. The story parts were cool but the concert was the best part. They really took advantage of the IMAX screen and sound system, it was loud but a good loud. It sounded like being at a concert. The band really sounded strong. Lars' drumming came through loud and clear. James' voice was strong and clear. MetallicA is known for putting on a killer live performance and this was just that, but kicked up a few notches. The 3D was cool but not necessary to enjoy the movie. I will admit, it was pretty awesome to see some of the close ups of the guys playing in 3D, especially the guitar parts. I felt the song selection was good for what they were trying to show us. There are a couple of songs that I really missed but I know the band wanted to make this movie more interesting and entertaining so the idea of a two and a half hour movie of just songs wasn't on their agenda. I wonder if there will be a longer cut of the movie released when the DVD comes out. Either way, I would be happy to own this one.
And by the way, the band made this movie on their own. They paid for it all themselves. I heard rumors of a budget of around 18$ Million. MetallicA is not known for doing things half assed and this is no exception. As a fan, I can really appreciate how they go about things, putting in hard work to put out a good product for us. I hope this movie does good business for them. If it doesn't, oh well, but I would like them to succeed.
Any thoughts as to what was in the bag? I have a few.....