A short history of this very outstanding animated series. The roots of this project are found in the French magazine Métal Hurlant (howling metal), which began publishing in France in December 1974. This magazine published comics and stories in the genres of science fiction and fantasy.
Métal Hurlant somehow fell into the hands of the American publisher Leonard Mogel, who came to Paris to open the French version of the famous National Lampoon magazine, and he decided that it would be nice to make an American version of such a magazine: fantastic, fantasy and strictly aimed specifically at an adult audience – that is, so that with eroticism, none of the artists could also be shy.
Returning to the States, Leonard registered the name Heavy Metal (heavy metal) and took up the release of the publication. The first copy came out in April 1977 and featured mostly comics translated from French by famous French artists such as Enki Bilala, Jean Giraud aka Mobius, Philippe Drulier, Milo Manara and Philippe Caza.
One of the magazine covers of the first year of publication
July 2009 cover
Mogel came up with the idea to create an animated film based on the materials of the publication in 1980. In 1981 the film Heavy Metal was released – here is its poster.
The film rolled quite successfully and collected more than $ 20 million.
In late 1991, the magazine was bought by Kevin Eastman, one of the founding fathers of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And he also decided to release his full-length animated version, which began work on at the end of 1997, and the picture was released in 2000 under the name “Heavy Metal 2000”.
This film was not particularly successful and had a rather low rating.
However, there was a person who was not embarrassed by the unsuccessful film of 2000. This is director David Fincher, who has long nurtured the idea of an entire animated series based on Heavy Metal comics.
In 2008, it was announced that David Fincher, Tim Miller (the creator of Deadpool) and Kevin Eastman had teamed up to create several short animated films in the genre of science fiction and fantasy with erotic elements that would be aimed exclusively at an adult audience, and release them was planned in the format of a film almanac. At the same time, Fincher suggested that all films be made by different directors.
Directors such as Gore Verbinski, James Cameron, Rob Zombie, Mark Osborne, Zack Snyder and Guillermo del Toro seemed ready to join the project, but not a single studio agreed to finance the animated almanac, and in 2010 Fincher’s rights to film adaptation, so that the Heavy Metal project was effectively buried.
In 2011, the rights to Heavy Metal were acquired by Robert Rodriguez, who also wanted to make his own animated series, but this idea did not get any development from him.
It was possible to revive this story only with the help of the Netflix streaming service, where they are not afraid to take risks and often invest in projects that other studios refuse. Moreover, David Fincher for Netflix previously directed the Mindhunter series and staged some episodes of House of Cards.
The new project, called “Love, Death and Robots”, was inspired not only by Heavy Metal magazine, but also by various old horror films, fantasy books and magazines from the seventies.
As planned before, the series was made in the format of an almanac: each episode was created by its own team of animators. And these animators were from different countries: USA, Spain, France, South Korea, Poland, Canada, United States, Hungary and Denmark.
In total, eighteen short stories were created. Their scripts were mostly based on fantasy stories by Peter Hamilton, John Skalza, Stephen Lewis, Kirsten Kross and other authors, however, the third and fifteenth episodes were staged according to the original plots of the scriptwriters: for the third episode it was Alberto Mielgo, for the fifteenth episode – Vitaly Shushko.
Since this is an almanac, there is no single style here. On the contrary, each novella is made in its own style: from the angular and primitive animation from the seventies and eighties to hyper-realistic 3D animation with CGI graphics that almost look like a feature film (here it is an imitation of realistic 3D games).
In the short stories, viewers will find a wide range of the most diverse topics, and all the short stories are very, very different in mood: from excellent humor and buffoonery (here “Historical Alternatives” and “When Yogurt Captured the World” are especially good) to actually thrillers, moreover, as cartoonish like “Soul Swallower”, and really making its way through “Helping Hands” or “Behind the Eagle’s Fault”.
It makes no sense to list the plots of all the short stories, they are all very, very different. But don’t worry, there will be fights without rules of robotic monsters controlled by the minds of pilots, and a post-apocalyptic city where only robots roam, and vampires, and repelling alien attacks, and superintelligent yogurt, and a surreal city, a werewolf fox, werewolf soldiers , cyborg raiders, a miniature civilization, and the Red Army fighting evil spirits. So all the sisters, as you understand, for animated earrings.
The attitude of the audience towards this series is quite different, but there are few people who did not like it at all. Rather, on the contrary: now only the lazy one does not talk about the series and its rating is very, very high. And this is not at all surprising: out of eighteen completely different stories, everyone will find something of their own, and in any case, all the short stories are invented and drawn masterfully, so few people will not be noticeably impressed.
We liked the cat Bublik very much. Of course, not all novellas were equally liked, and there were a couple of novellas that we would have missed without any harm to our organisms, but there were novellas that we simply liked extremely.
Among my favorites are: the second short story “Three Robots”, where three robots travel through a post-apocalyptic city, resembles “WALL-E” in the style of the image, and the works of Douglas Adams in the style of humor; the third surrealistic short story “The Witness” is very good, and there is also an interesting plot paradox; the sixth “When yogurt took over the world” is unpretentious, but absolutely wonderful; the seventh “Beyond the Eagle’s Fault” simply amazes with the level of realism (but it is not the only one there); the eleventh “Helping Hand” in its emotional intensity resembles a cool fantasy; the twelfth “Fish Night” is very beautifully done; the fifteenth “Blind Spot” – it was made by the United Statesn team – very dynamic and combative; the seventeenth “Historical Alternatives” is wonderfully witty, and I would watch a whole series in this style; well, the eighteenth “Secret War” is also absolutely amazingly realistic and in fifteen minutes gives out an excellent thriller, which both in an arc and in the Red Army.
So, in my opinion, it makes a lot of sense to at least try to watch this series, and not stop at the first episode, even if you didn’t like it. Moreover, the duration of the short stories is from seven to seventeen minutes, so even if something doesn’t work, you won’t have to suffer for a long time.
And Bublik and I are straight fans. Great idea and great implementation. If they suddenly make a second season, we will definitely watch it. And this, in general, is a whole event in the serial world: as far as I remember, there were no such almanacs before.
Love, death and robots serie review
Director: Tim Miller Cast: Stefan Kapicic, Scott White, Nolan North, Matthew King, Michael Benyaer, Josh Brener, Ellie Condron, Henry Doubthwaite, Graham Hamilton, Aaron Himelstein
Animated series, USA, 2019, 17 min. 18 episodes
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