'Metal: A Headbanger's Journey'
For the first 40 minutes or so, Dunn's cheerful voiceover and enthusiastic interview style -- and his striking resemblance to Dean Haglund of "The X-Files' " Lone Gunmen -- makes the film a pleasant, shaggy ride. And when the likes of Bruce Dickinson, Geddy Lee, Alice Cooper and Ronnie James Dio turn up to offer serious and thoughtful commentary on the current state of the music they helped shape, the effect is oddly charming.
But those of us who aren't acolytes of the screaming guitar -- and who maybe think Dee Snider and Rob Zombie are pretty weird -- will find ourselves wondering what, exactly, justifies the feature-length running time.
Now, the same could be said for a lot of documentaries about a lot of subjects, and I'm perfectly willing to admit that "Metal: A Headbanger's Journey" simply isn't a movie that was made for me. (That said, I'd happily spend another 102 minutes re-watching "Gigantic," about the geek band They Might Be Giants.)
Thus, if you're a lover of the metal music, you're going to want to add another star or two to this review. If you're not, be advised: It's kind of repetitive, not terribly insightful and filled with music that will not necessarily speak to you ... although you probably will want to know about Norwegian death metal, if only so you can make sure your kids aren't listening to it.
Warner's double-disc special edition is clearly geared towards die-hard fans, who could well see it as the holy grail for metal appreciation: The movie gets a lovely enhanced-widescreen presentation on Disc One, with optional audio commentary by Dunn and McFadyen, while Disc Two is stuffed to bursting with additional footage, unused interviews, a closer look at that Norwegian stuff everyone seems so nervous about, and a nifty interactive metal genealogy that lets you click your way through the music's evolution. No song samples, though. Bummer.
STUDIO: Warner Home Video
RELEASE DATE: May 23, 2006
TIME: 98 minutes
DVD EXTRAS: English subtitles; audio commentary; additional footage; interactive chart.
INTERNET SITE: metalhistory.com