If you've ever wondered what a Metallica-themed video game would be like, look no further. Metallica: Through the Never is a terrific concert film that's often hampered by interludes with Dane DeHaan that rob us of more concert footage, replacing it with visually impressive but ultimately pointless scenes.
DeHaan, easily the best part of this year's The Place Beyond the Pines, plays a nameless and voiceless roadie who has to help a stranded drive during Metallica's show. It should be a simple errand, but of course, a five-minute trip turns into an all-night survival campaign.
At their best, these vignettes completely rip off The Warriors and V for Vendetta. At their worst, it feels like you're watching someone else play a video game and a derivative one at that. I would presume these scenes "” they mostly involve riots and a mysterious hangman in a gas mask "” are meant to act as visual enhancements for Metallica's songs, particularly "Fuel" and "Enter Sandman." But the concert's set designers already did a great job of that, adding in pyrotechnics and animation that play around the thunderbolt-shaped set.
Still, if you like Metallica's music at all, you'll be thrilled to hear these songs in theater-quality sound and see the band play on the large IMAX screen. Even if you're not a fan, there's no denying the technical craft that's gone into every frame of the concert footage.
Unfortunately, the film takes itself a little too seriously. At one point, an earthquake rages caused by DeHaan's battle with a giant and knocks out the main power supply for the band. After the injured crew members are taken off stage, lead singer James Hetfield looks out in the crowd and declares the show will go on because "We don't need all this fancy stuff." I'm sorry, James, but that's not a statement you get to make in a 3-D concert film with a special effects budget.
Even as someone who's far outside the target audience"”I consider myself neither a Metallica fan nor a gamer"”I was constantly entertained. And that's more than I can say for a lot of products in any medium.