A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Heavy Metal is an animated film aimed at teens, but its sexual and violent content makes it inappropriate for most. There are horrifying images of young characters dying, plus fighting, shooting with guns, and slicing with swords. A terrified young girl is a central, disturbing image. Several big-breasted women remove their clothes to sleep with men. There's strong innuendo, toplessness, and full-frontal nudity (mostly women, but men too). Language is strong (including "f--k," "s--t," and "a--hole"). Two aliens snort huge lines of a white powder that makes them spacey.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
In this collection of related stories: An astronaut arrives home with a present for his little girl. Unfortunately, the present turns out to be a scary, glowing green ball. It melts dad and proceeds to tell the little girl several stories of sex, violence, greed, war, and revenge. A cabbie tries to protect a mysterious woman who has also found a glowing green ball. A boy finds the ball and is transported to a fantastic, distant world, occupying a warrior's body. A star witness at a trial turns into a monster and goes on a rampage. Aliens kidnap a sexy Earth woman. And so on. In the last segment, a beautiful warrior princess has one final chance to stand up against the forces of evil.
Is it any good?
In 1981, this may have been state-of-the-art animation, but now it looks rudimentary, clunky, and flat. The writing, likewise, is flat. These stories could have been little Twilight Zone-style zingers, but instead they just trail off. One of the stories, "Captain Sternn," came from comics legend Berni Wrightson, and it's the only one that even comes close to having a shape.
What's even more peculiar is the fact that the movie, like the famous magazine it's based on, is designed to lure in teens with the promise of gratuitous sex and nudity, as well as elements of fantasy, sci-fi, and violence. But the movie's overall content and themes make it more appropriate for adults, who will not be as interested. On the plus side, the movie has a good soundtrack of 1970s and 1980s-era arena rock (not all heavy metal, by the way), and the songs are used interestingly as background, often giving scenes an effective and much-needed boost of adrenaline. Ivan Reitman was a producer.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's rampant violence. Is this kind of violence thrilling or appealing? Is it over-the-top? What effect does it have?
Is the strong sex and nudity in the movie appealing? What messages does this movie send about women's roles? Why are male and female bodies so exaggerated in comics and cartoons?
Do you think this movie is designed for teens?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.