Monday, April 11, 2016

Metallica's Through the Never

A few years ago, Metallica created a movie, Through the Never. I heard about it at the time, but didn't pay a whole lot of attention. The opportunity to watch it came up recently, so I took a couple of hours to check it out.
Metallica Through the Never film.jpg
I had basically no pre-conceptions going in, since all I knew about Through the Never was that Metallica was involved. I wasn't sure if it was a documentary, or live concert, or what. Turns out, it's pretty much a 90-minute music video, with a large amount of concert footage included.

There's a storyline, kind of, where a roadie goes out to find a missing truck while the concert is going on. All sort of surreal stuff happens, from riots in the streets to the guy setting himself on fire. There's almost no dialog or explanation, which is one reason the movie feels like a music video. Seems to me that weirdness-on-screen while the music plays is a music video staple. The story bits weren't bad, but I didn't feel like they really added much to the experience.

The majority of the screen time isn't the roadie story, though, but rather concert footage. This was really well done, with lots of good close-ups of each band member and a goodly amount of wide-view shots around the stage and crowd. Some concert footage is pretty much static, showing the same few angles over and over, but Through the Never doesn't have that problem.

I've been to a good number of Metallica shows over the years, so I recognized several of the stage tricks. Either from my own experience, or videos I've seen. The giant coffins suspended around the stage from Death Magnetic, for instance. The giant blind justice statue from ...and Justice For All, and the cemetery crosses from Master of Puppets. And most notably, the "stage collapse accident" with the burning roadie running across the stage. I saw that one in person on an earlier tour - right after Load came out, if I remember right.

As a concert video, Through the Never is pretty good. I was a little disappointed that they didn't use Seek and Destroy, but otherwise the music selection was good. It was worth spending a couple of hours on the couch. I think I'd have been disappointed if I'd gone out of my way to see it in a theater, though. If you're going to make the effort to go out and see a band, better to go to a real concert, not just a movie about one.

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