Metallica – Through the Never (2013)

Posted: February 2, 2014 in Movies, Music

metallica-posterYou know the history of California-based thrash rockers Metallica, and with good cause. In a storied career of thirty five fast, furious years and nine studio albums, the band has pretty much built the Taj Mahal of heavy metal, and has been living comfortably in it for decades. Conquering adversity has also been one of the band’s strength’s over the years – from the death of bassist Cliff Burton in 1986, through the fight against file-sharing pirates Napster at the turn of the century, to the inexplicable musical direction taken with the head-scratching releases of St. Anger and Lulu (which the band collaborated with the late Lou Reed). Metallica still takes the stage proudly, middle-fingers in the air, and struts their stuff with an attitude and perseverance unmatched by almost any other band.

So it was no surprise when the band took on a few new challenges in 2013. The first was starting their own independent label – Blackened Records – and acquiring all of their intellectual rights to their back catalog and properties. The second? Creating a “ground-breaking” movie/concert film mash-up titled “Through The Never” that hit IMax and theaters late last year. That film is now available on DVD and BluRay, but before rushing out to buy/rent what sounds like the most amazing thing a metal fan could ask for, take warning.

It’s not.

Unless, of course, your idea of a good time is watching a band slam through nothing but their pre-2000 hits while throwing in a ridiculously fictional story that never should have been their in the first place. There are really two things at play here: the “story” and the “concert” – so let’s address these separately before we get to far down the rabbit’s hole.

metallicaThe story: Dane DeHaan plays a roadie named “Trip” who is sent out on a mysterious, important mission at the beginning of the film just as the band is taking the stage in front of  sold out crowd in Canada. While driving his far-too-ironic, beat-to-shit van, Trip wrecks his vehicle and comes across director Nimrod Antal’s vision of post-apocalyptic something-or-another in pursuit of a duffel bag, whos contents are as much of a mystery as the rest of this head-scratcher. The “story” breaks contain some good visuals despite the narrative, but are too few and far between, as most of the film is devoted to the band and their performance – so much so, that tying any of it together was an exercise in futility. I even tried to correlate the story line with the lyrics to the Metallica songs they coincided with, but to no avail. The “story” just didn’t make sense, and all I really wanted to see was more of the “concert”. Or so I thought.

The concert: Huge stage, amazing lighting, massive pyrotechnics, and million-dollar effects. All of this was pretty cool for the first 45 minutes or so, until I realized the unfortunate truth that Metallica hasn’t had a song worth its weight in pastrami since around 1995. They performed with machine-gun precision, but considering they have played these tracks about a hundred million times, it wasn’t nearly as impressive as I had hoped. Add to that some obviously rehearsed and somewhat corny “accidents” on stage (Were they supposed to tie in with the story? Did they really set that guy on fire?), and what started with a lot of promise quickly fizzled out in to something lost, disjointed, and completely average.

You can’t blame Metallica for trying, though. The concept was there, and the premise looks good on paper – but the end result is something that mirrors the last ten years of the legendary bands career…

Completely forgettable.

3.5/10

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