Heavy Metal

Year: 1981
Studio: Columbia Pictures
Director: Gerald Potterton
Producer: Ivan Reitman
Cast: John Candy, Harold Ramis, Eugene Levy, Joe Flaherty
This is a bizarre film, perhaps 25 years too early. If it came out now in our anime, comic book and graphic novel-obsessed times it'd be a hit, provided it had a few more script polishes.

But in 1981, for Ivan ( Ghostbusters ) Reitman to usher to the screen an animated film based on the short stories from a comic book with a mostly heavy metal soundtrack was just an oddity.

A trippy opening sequence sees an astronaut returning from space by plunging out of his space shuttle in a 1960s convertible, which drifts to Earth and which he drives up the hill to his house.

His young daughter runs downstairs excitedly to see what he's bought from his trip, and he unwraps the glowing green orb. It promptly vaporises him and spends the rest of the film terrorising the young girl, telling stories about its evil, related only by the presence of the orb itself.

From a noir tale about a future New York cabbie to a pair of stoned aliens, a beleaguered World War II bomber crew to a struggle for power on a faraway world, the orb seeds discontent, rebellion and unrest throughout history.

The film's notable also for its sexual content. You get several gleeful scenes of disproportionately pneumatic women, all of them young and gorgeous, all of them with a penchant for running around either naked or wearing pieces of string.

Narratively none of it's very interesting, and except for the several flashes of full frontal animated nudity it wouldn't be worth sitting through. One strictly for comic book fanboys (albeit ones who'd now be about 50 years old), and followed up by a widely reviled 2000 sequel.

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