Metallica Through The Never Review: What They Do Best

Metallica Through The Never Review: What They Do BestSay what you will about Metallica, the heavy metal band that has been thrashing the music industry since the early 1980s, they put on a hell of a live show.

In the new concert/concept film, Metallica Through The Never, we get to see what this band does best–which is rock out live–while being treated to a nonsensical side-story starring Dane Dehaan (Chronicle, the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man 2). There is no courtroom drama involving Sean Parker and Napster. There isn’t any of the band drama that was revealed in the 2004 documentary, Some Kind Of Monster. And there is zero Bob Rock, the producer who steered the band from their heavy metal roots to more radio friendly fare, and in so doing castrated one of the greatest metal acts ever, and thankfully Lou Reed is nowhere in sight.

Metallica Through The Never is an IMAX-exclusive, 3D affair that puts the superior audio system and the IMAX screen to a helluva good use. The sound is loud, crisp and in your face, and after my recent screening, my ears even rang a little, much like they do at live rock concerts. The 3D works to bring the audience closer to the band, though some would say too close in many aspects. Lead singer James Hetfield now looks like he wants to sell me tires, and drummer Lars Ulrich resembles Bob Newhart a little too much; lead guitarist Kirk Hammett refuses to age and bassist Robert Trujillo is simply frightening in the way he looks and moves on stage. Trujillo’s younger age actually fuels the older band, forcing them to keep up with his pounding bass lines.

Metallica Through The Never Review: What They Do Best

The stage setup is “in the round,” which puts the band at the center of the sold-out arena, and director Nimrod Antal refrains from shooting crowd reactions too much, instead focusing on each member of the band as they play an incredible set list made up mostly of early hits and only a few songs from the Bob Rock era. Here, the 3D creates depth of field that puts the movie audience on stage with the band, and it looks good.

During the show, there is a side story where band “gopher,” Trip (Dehaan) is sent on a mission to secure a truck that has ran out of gas. The truck contains something special that the band apparently needs, so Trip has to leave the concert and go after it.

While out in the streets of the unnamed Canadian city, something happens and society crumbles and Trip finds himself caught between first revolutionaries and police, and later being chased by a band of armored warlords (think Mad Max) as he finds the truck and the bag inside and then tries to return to the concert arena. This story concludes with an incredible rooftop showdown between Trip and the “Masked Rider,” a gasmask-wearing, horse-riding villain who likes to hit people with a huge hammer (work with me here) and string up their bodies on streetlights all over the city.

Metallica Through The Never Review: What They Do Best

The story is as nonsensical as can be expected from a long-form music video, but works to create some interesting visuals that coincide with the music that the band is playing all throughout. The final battle, in particular, is a sight to behold as director Antal goes all out and literally destroys the city during the fight.

All in all, Metallica Through The Never is one of the great rock ‘n roll concert films. Using IMAX’s huge screen and high-end 3D technology, the film works to show off the legendary band in new and exciting ways, while also dabbling in the alienation of youth and in society, story beats that are timeless for the rock ‘n roll set. In fact, I will go so far as to say that Metallica and IMAX were made for one another. The incredible sound system is perfect for this type of film and the set list is outstanding for any fans of the band and the story, while ludicrous, works to create a much bigger tapestry.

Metallica Through the Never opens in a limited engagement on Friday, September 27, which is also the anniversary of bassist Cliff Burton’s 1986 death in a bus accident. The film opens nationwide a week later.

TheHDRoom may be paid a small commission for any services or products ordered through select links on this page.