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Metallica: Some Kind of Monster
DVD disk
02.01.2005 By: JaneBlo
Metallica: Some Kind of Monster order
Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky

James Hetfield
Lars Ulrich
Kirk Hammett
Robert Trujillo
Jason Newsted
Cliff Burton
Dave Mustaine


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Top-selling heavy metal band Metallica documents their ups and downs around the time of the recording of their latest (Grammy-winning) album “St. Anger”. Almost two and a half hours of footage includes everything from their therapist sessions and lead singer’s stint in rehab to the newest bass player auditions and much more surrounding their twenty year history in music. Winner of many awards at different movie festivals around the world, including the official selection at the Sundance Film Festival.

I am proud to say that not only am a Metallica fan, but our infamous JoBlo is the one who got me into them, as he got into his heavy metal phase before me, and I used to borrow his old metal tapes. Recently I even had the chance to meet our beloved Dave Mustaine of Megadeth fame after a Montreal concert. Their concert was affordable, about half the cost of a Metallica ticket which is the reason why I didn’t see Metallica when they played Montreal last year. The last time I saw them play was at the infamous Montreal Olympic Stadium riot in 1992, where Guns N' Roses left the stage in a huff and a riot ensued. That said, I was very curious to see what this documentary had to say about one of the biggest metal bands that ever existed. I was pleasantly surprised and also sadly let down. I was disappointed because the documentary seems pretentious at times (what’s with the therapist, c’mon guys!) and Lars really gets on your nerves, (can you say “whiny” anyone?). I also wasn’t impressed by how the members of the band shot down their last bassist, the ultra cool Jason Newsted and sometimes even, former guitarist Dave Mustaine, now lead singer/guitarist for the amazing band Megadeth. The coolest member of the band remains for me, as always, Kirk Hammet, the lead guitarist. He is mellow, very cool and not a sulking baby like the other two, Hetfield and Ulrich. I liked the film because it’s an extensive view into the private lives of the band, almost voyeuristic at times, so revealing and intimate is it. One would not expect these rock stars to show so much of their hidden emotions and vulnerability, but that is why they hired a therapist, Phil (not Dr. Phil), to help them resolve their differences, and he really helps them work out some of their problems. Phil gets to you after a while, and he got on the band’s nerves too, at times, and they eventually let him go.

What interested me the most was the situations between Metallica and their former band members, what led to the splits and how they are dealing with it. Here, Cliff Burton and his untimely death, Dave Mustaine’s and Jason Newsted’s departures are discussed openly. I am very fond of all the above, particularly Jason Newsted, and did not appreciate how they dissed him. Was he not with the band for years and does he not deserve credit for his part in those amazing songs? Maybe even more than Mustaine, who was only with the band for about a year, although that said, Mustaine collaborated on some of Metallica’s best songs ever during that time. He also is the reason Megadeth is so respected and loved today. Mustaine should be proud of himself that he did not become annoying like Lars did, he stayed true to himself through and through. Second chances are important in life. Both former members are interviewed briefly on the DVD.

The whole Napster thing was not good for Metallica’s image and although mentioned, the documentary does not go much into details, however they do discuss it more in the special features. Lars was not good for their image either. The most pretentious scene is when we see Lars getting drunk at his art auction, where by the way, he manages to make a cool 5 mil selling his old paintings at Christie’s. Additional stuff I enjoyed was the bassist auditions and the hiring of Robert Trujillo, formerly of Suicidal and Ozzy’s band. He has a wicked sense of humor, and is a very likeable guy. All in all, a well-crafted documentary that will be well appreciated by the millions of Metallica fans all over the world.

Additional Footage: This is about forty scenes, separated in two sections, that didn’t make it into the film. There’s an alternate cut of the Mustaine/Ulrich meeting that we see in the film, as well as more scenes where Lars and James are yelling at each other.  Dee Dee Ramone’s Legacy is featured, which made me happy. The Oslo Interviews are great as each band member, including the latest, Trujillo, voices their opinions on the making of the film.  Many scenes have the commentary of the filmmakers as an option.  Very lengthy but cool feature.

Festivals and Premieres: The best feature as it shows us two different press conferences at film festivals, including Sundance, that show Metallica answering many important questions that I myself was always interested in, such as the whole Napster issue and the whole Dave Mustaine saga. A detailed and very insightful feature, about 40 minutes long with a total of five different venues.

Two audio commentaries by the filmmakers, Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky: In a film like this, I find the commentary irrelevant as the film speaks for itself.  But for those who must know it all,  I recommend listening to these two talented filmmakers discuss their film.

Trailers & Filmmakers Bios: A theatrical trailer and a concert trailer.

Music Video:  “Some Kind of Monster”.

I doubt this film would interest non-Metallica fans, as I certainly would never watch a full-length documentary on a band I did not like, for example, the Barenaked Ladies. You couldn’t pay me to watch that. For documentary fans, rock fans and especially Metallica fans, this double disc DVD is a must-see. It gives the fan a private, inside look into a Metallica we have never seen before, and let’s us understand their inner workings better and in the end, let’s us feel compassion for what they have gone through, even if I did feel more compassion for Dave and Jason than for James and Lars. The special features on this DVD are broad and touch on a lot of cool stuff, but I found them a bit too long and every single additional scene that did not make it in the film, ends up on the special features section. Featuring a live concert as a bonus would not have been a bad idea either. Usually we don’t dedicate a DVD review on the site, but we made an exception this time and dedicate this one to one of the biggest Metallica fans ever, my little cousin Nanar who sadly left us four years ago. This one’s for you little girl.
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