Ever since I heard “Nothing Else Matters” when I was in 7th grade, Metallica has coursed through my veins. Over 20 years later, Metallica: Through The Never, made those juices flow once again.
Metallica: Through The Never, was my first IMAX 3D experience. I never really felt like spending nearly $20 to see a movie. But since I haven’t seen Metallica in concert since high school, I figured for the fraction of a concert ticket I’d give it a shot. There has been a lot of internet pub for this movie and to be honest, I was really fired up to see what a concert/movie experience would be like.
So here’s the setup for the movie. This kid named Trip, played by Dane DeHaan, is a Metallica roadie. He obviously worships the band like the rock gods that they are. In the opening scene, he rides his skateboard into the bowels of an arena and is delivering what appears to be dinner, to his boss. As he enters the arena underbelly, lead singer James Hetfield drives past him in a sick old custom car. Drummer Lars Ulrich and lead guitarist Kirk Hammett pass him in the hallway, and Trip even catches a glimpse of bassist Robert Trujillo warming up in a room full of amps.
The concert starts off like any other concert, and after a few songs, Trip’s boss tells him that he’s gonna go meet a broken down truck that is carrying something of significance to the band, that has run out of gas across town. So he grabs a gas can, jumps in his van, and naturally pops a pill before getting behind the wheel.
Metallica conducts this insane concert for about an hour and fifteen minutes that intertwines the songs that they are playing and the adventure of Trip and getting to the broken down truck. Without getting into every single detail of his journey, Trip comes across the city in a complete state of anarchy. The whole city is essentially in ruins and set ablaze. Trip meanders his way into the beginning of a battle between cops and the vigilantes as “Fuel” starts to play.
After escaping this extremely intense scene, Trip is then followed by an ax wielding horseman and his crew as he tries to recover and deliver Metallica’s precious cargo. Trip finally comes across the truck carrying the goods and finds that what is so important is inside a canvas bag in the back of the box truck. Trip is amazed to see what it is and is mystified by the contents inside.
Just as a guess, I would say that the Through The Never experience is about 70% concert and 30% movie. Which did not seem to bother the other 150 people in the theater with me. Nearly everyone was singing, fist pumping, and head banging throughout the entire show. It’s amazing how terribly some rock bands age, and how flawlessly Metallica has. For many years they were accused of “selling out”, by cleaning themselves up a bit and not always doing the speed metal thing of the 80′s. But, the boys in black are still monsters on the stage. This concert that they put on in the movie was incredible. Everything on this huge stage that was probably the entire size of an NHL sheet of ice, was incredible. The whole thing was made up of video boards so that the crowd could see a video story on the stage as well. Then when they played “…And Justice For All”, they erected this huge statue of Lady Justice. And then when they played “Master of Puppets”, a bunch of crosses, like on their album cover for Master of Puppets, came up out of the stage. Just fantastic.
Metallica: Through The Never is definitely a niche movie. If you are a big Metallica fan and your girlfriend isn’t, take her out to a nice dinner and then go see it with one of your friends who is. It was incredibly loud and by ears are still ringing two hours after seeing it. That’s not what a non-Metallica fan wants to spend their evening dealing with.
On a scale of St. Anger (the worst Metallica album) to Master of Puppets (widely considered their best), I’m gonna give it a rating of The Black Album. It was a great experience that can be watched over and over again, just like the Black Album. It was very creative, but left fans wondering what was in store next…
But what was in that fucking bag?