‘Metallica: Through the Never’ is only pretty darn insane

Lars Ulrich does a good job pretending he's not 50 years old in "Metallica: Through the Never." Credit: Picturehorse
Lars Ulrich does a good job pretending he’s not almost 50 years old in “Metallica: Through the Never.”
Credit: Picturehorse

‘Metallica: Through the Never’
Director: Nimrod Antal
Stars: Metallica, Dane DeHaan
Rating: R
3 (out of 5) Globes

As any self-respecting metalhead will tell you, one big reason “This is Spinal Tap” is so brilliant is because it’s so accurate. The pomp, the pretense, the rabid band of idolizing angry male fans — it’s all there, just as it’s all in “Metallica: Through the Never,” which, in case you hadn’t noticed, is actually subtitled “Through the Never.” The difference is popularity. Metallica have always have had it, and have only gotten bigger as, of course, their new material has gotten worse. It’s been 22 years since their last truly major work. (Though some OG Metallica heads stop at Cliff Burton’s death in 1986.) But they’re an established arena band now — rock gods, two of them in AARP age.

They still essentially got it, though. James Hetfield no longer looks like a screaming lion, and Lars Ulrich is beginning to resemble a manic troll. But in this IMAX 3-D concert picture, they tear through their biggest hits with respectable faithfulness. They don’t have the slack, sometimes phoned-in weariness of the Stones as they started reaching up in years. When they scale things down towards the end, trying to summon the raw power of their debut “Kill ‘Em All,” it’s creepily accurate.

Of course, it’s not just a concert movie. The main influence is “The Song Remains the Same,” the Led Zeppelin movie that peppers a concert with ridiculous fantasy sequences for each member: Robert Plant as a knight, Jimmy Page scaling a mountain and meeting a wizard, etc. Here, “The Place Beyond the Pines”’s Dane DeHaan (born: 1986) plays a young stagehand who stops fist-pumping with the crowd to crash a van, run into Occupy Wall Street-style protesters, battle demons (or something) and the like.

The scenes, littered throughout, were written by the band and the film’s director, Nimrod Antal, a genre director (“Vacancy,” “Armored”). They’re both too undefined — even Matthew Barney would find some of the symbolism too inscrutable — and not nearly insane enough, especially compared to “The Song Remains the Same.” But they have a certain personalized charm that’s purely retro, and purely metal. The ludicrously outsized performances are much more Spinal Tap-y. Lasers, hologram gravestones, a statue of Lady Justice painstakingly erected then clumsily knocked apart — this is exactly what you’d expect from a Metallica concert movie…in 1991. That they’re still doing it in 2013, and capably, is impressively not depressing, but just impressive.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Parenting

How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.