Review: Heavy Metal 2000 (score)
3.5 / 5 Stars
Flash forward about 16 years, and another group of fans of the magazine and of the original film get in their minds to do a sort of sequel called Heavy Metal 2000. It differs slightly from the structure of the original and instead of several connected stories, we have one mega-story tied together by that same green ball from the first film. The story has echoes of the Tarna character from the first film, however it has been updated to incorporate the writers wife, Julie Strain in a central role, and has been given a tougher and more violent edge than the original. Also, sticking with the themes of the original film, the producers update their selections of music for more "modern" heavy metal rock and take to task to find a composer that can leave as memorable impression as Mr. Berstein did for the original orchestral score. This time the nod went to Frederic Talgorn, a French-born composer with credits such as Fortress, The Temp, and his seminal work, RobotJox. Mr. Talgorn follows in Elmer Bernsteins footsteps by writing one of the best follow up scores to any sequel of recent memory, animated or live-action. Not only does Talgorn seem to understand how to score the feel of the kind of action and story presented on screen, but he seems to know that you can provide adult music for an adult film such as this. Most animation today receives a typical soft treatment expecting that the music can add little to the drama playing on screen. Here Mr. Talgorn dives into some great referential material from Bernstein, but also from John Williamss Close Encounters of the Third Kind, some Bernard Herrmann-like string passages, and some of the more romantic and bolder elements of Jerry Goldsmith. This is not to say that any of this stuff here on this long awaited promotional CD is a knock off, but quite the contrary. Frederic Talgorn understands the effectiveness of passages from some of the great film scores of years past, and makes clear use of their elements throughout his score. He could have easily gone minimalist, dark and brooding, synthetic, or totally over-the-top, but he settled on a medium sized orchestral sound, giving the music a perfect depth of presence without sounding bombastic and obnoxious given the amount of musicians and instruments at his disposal.
There are some great passages, and a few take-away themes, not many of which I think will end up nestled on a mix-tape, but taken as an entire album, it fits in the film and well as a complete package on CD. The bold romantic space music, such as track 4, "Julie & Kerrie / Alternate Version" can be easily separated out as possible concert pieces, whereas some are shorter and more film cue like and can be jarring if just listened to outside of the CD. I bet I was one of about a dozen people that actually sat through this film from beginning to end, and probably one of two that immediately wondered why the score didnt make it to CD. Its truly one of the few scores this year that fit with the film rather than just added for style points or for simple name caché. Its an adult animated sci-fi epic... what else do you want? Im sure all the twenty- and thirty-somethings out there will admit that this is the first time they ever saw cartoon-animated naked women (okay, if you read some Crumb, you had an early start). Its definitely not your Saturday morning type of story or animation. Its for grown ups, and both the mix of the rock soundtrack and the score do justice for the film, and help keep its place as a worthy successor to the original. My only wish is to get the original Bernstein recordings released as a companion piece to this CD and to the films now on DVD. Even Alien and Blade Runner director, Ridley Scott, was heavily influenced by the stories and artwork in the magazine (reflected in his production designs, a.k.a. "Ridley-grams"), so it cant be all that bad.
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