Review: Metallica Through The Never @ BFI IMAX, 4/10/13

I’d never been to an IMAX (large-screen cinema) before, neither had I seen a movie in 3D. Until last night.

I’m a self-confessed ‘tallica nut – I estimate at around 20yrs now – and so I’ll often check out something new from them, even though they haven’t been a perfect band after the early 90s.

Through The Never (named after a Black album song, which funnily they don’t play here!) is essentially a 3D concert movie with the artistic quirk of 25mins worth of drama interspersed between songs. Though the premiere was last night, next week it will be nationwide in the UK, and you could see it in non-3D.

The drama aspect didn’t quite cut it for me. It involves a fictional character called Trip who works for Metallica and who is on a mission to collect and deliver something to the band. Cue zombies, kerosene oil, a creepy/cute little puppet…
Regardless, the drama stuff doesn’t interfere much with the 1hr of live music, which in 3D gives a very good perspective of depth; you’re as close to the band as you can ever be, in this film, without trying to find a way onstage.

To add to the 3D gimmick (let’s be honest, it kind of is a gimmick, but it’s interesting) certain songs feature imagery from the albums. For instance, during Ride The Lightning, a lightning-lit electric chair emerges from above; crosses pop up from the stage during Master of Puppets, and Lady Justice appears and tumbles during …And Justice For All.

The 90mins flew by, and for the most part I liked it. Some of it, as my friend was saying, reminded me of the Cunning Stunts DVD from the late 90s; it’s almost a sort of loose remake!

On an IMAX your eyes are filled (you need to tilt your head up, down, left or right if a certain focus is in that direction!), and the 3D glasses push everything closer to you. It’s 3D all the way and very enjoyable. It’s not a perfected technology, but it’s certainly very immersive still!

Drummer Lars Ulrich appeared for 40mins of Q&A near the end. You were lucky if you were able be to chosen to ask a question but I couldn’t even think of one. With respect to those who asked questions, I thought most of them were boring and off-topic (the film), but kudos to anyone who thought of one (even that guy who asked Lars his favourite cheese, which is Stilton.)

There’ll inevitably be a DVD of this release and that will probably feature songs that didn’t make the cut, and maybe an option to view just the concert or just the drama bits.

Would I recommend the film? If you’re a Metallinut you don’t need convincing, but for a general audience it’s average; but made above-average by being a full 3D concert, and near-mesmerising at an IMAX.

I think 7/10 is a fair rating.

I’m just waiting on a long-awaited new studio album now!

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