Review: Metallica: Through the Never


Director:Nimród Antel

Cast:James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, Robert Trujillo, Dane DeHaan

Running Time:94.00


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.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.

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