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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Ostensibly there's something here about resisting temptation and evil, but the real point of the movie is to experience generous helpings of animated sex and violence.
Positive Role Models
The characters here are violent, greedy, sex-crazed drug-users, and their actions mostly occur with little or no consequences.
Violence & Scariness
Very strong fantasy violence here; the movie is animated, so the violence loses a bit of oomph compared to a live-action movie. The most disturbing include a green glowing ball terrifying a young girl (her expression sends chills down the spine), and a boy dying after being run through with several spikes. (His eyes roll up in his head as the life drains out of them.) Otherwise, there is lots of hand-to-hand fighting, guns and shooting, fighting with swords, and beheadings. Some characters are melted away, turning into skeletons before they disappear. There's also general rampaging and chaos.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Several big-breasted, cartoon fantasy women remove their clothes and have sex with men. Some women are topless, and some are seen full-frontal. There's some full-frontal male nudity as well. Prostitutes are shown, as well as images of a "red light district." There is strong innuendo throughout.
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Two uses of "f--k" and one use of "s--t," plus several uses of "a--hole." Additionally, "ass," "Goddamn," "dork," "bitch," "hell" are heard, plus a middle finger gesture.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Two aliens snort huge lines of a fictitious white powdered drug. It affects them like pot. They seem spacey and stoned, as they try to dock a spaceship. A human character mentions "beer in the fridge," but he doesn't drink any.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.