The 10 Most Spinal Tap Moments From Metallica: Through the Never
Talk about a guy born ready for his close-up. Impish Metallica drummer/business manager/mascot Lars Ulrich has long been known for deploying some of the most hilarious rock and roll faces in the biz, but with 24 3D IMAX cameras pointed at him, Ulrich takes his grimaces to an entirely new level in Through the Never.
Bald, sweating and ferocious behind his kit, Ulrich mugs as hard as he possibly can through a carefully calibrated set of tunes that he must know better than his own reflection. If you've ever felt compelled to count your favorite drummer's fillings, buy a ticket to this film immediately. Despite the movie's bizarre attempt to shoehorn a psychedelic narrative into the concert footage, all of the tragedy and triumph inherent in Metallica's oeuvre is written far larger across Ulrich's rubbery face. Nigel Tufnel would be impressed.
6. The Titanic-scale Hollywood Set
In Through the Never, Metallica aren't just playing on what's been claimed to be the world's largest indoor stage. They're playing on a Hollywood set. Seemingly constructed entirely out of LED flat-screens, the set and its attendant props, pulleys and cameras is far too massive and impractical to ever be taken out on tour, even by Metallica's dedicated army of roadies and truck drivers. It makes the whole thing seem like an extended music video, not a live performance.
Lasers, lightning bolts, and movie stuntmen feel much more natural on this set than a heavy-metal band -- even the biggest heavy-metal band in the world. Doubt the band will get much more use out of it, but maybe Joss Whedon can put it to use in Avengers 2... as the villain.
5. The Tired Set List
Much like Spinal Tap, Metallica hasn't had a hit in quite some time now. While Through the Never includes performances of some cherished deep cuts from the band's lengthy catalogue -- "Ride the Lightning" and "Orion" chief among them -- tunes from their 21st-century output were few and far between.
In fact, "Cyanide" from 2008's Death Magnetic was about it. Mercifully, perhaps, no tunes from 2003's much-maligned St. Anger were showcased. "Creeping Death" and "One" still slay, but the lack of anything remotely new in their se tlist only served to emphasize that, though they're not likely to receive second billing to a puppet show anytime soon, Metallica's best days are long past.
4. The Fans as Props
The story of Metallica is and has always been the story of Metallica's fans. Through thick and thin, the band's dedicated disciples have supported the group through their remarkable ascent as well as their laughable missteps over the years. Typically, the unconditional love has gone both ways.
It's puzzling, then, that this cinematic monument reduces Metallica's fans to the faceless, shouting horde of black T-shirts that their detractors have always claimed them to be. While the massive arena crowd is certainly given plenty of camera time, the people in the seats serve as mere set dressing in a production already packed full of it. As in This Is Spinal Tap, the music fans in Through the Never are a complete abstract, unknown outsiders disconnected entirely from Metallica's show -- and success.
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