Metallica's new film Through The Never makes up for every concert you've ever attended where you can't see a thing.
Shot in brilliant 3D in an arena setting, the viewer is treated to unparalleled access to the legendary Bay Area band in its natural habitat: The stage. This is no exaggeration. Cameras zoom right in on the finger work of lead singer and rhythm guitarist James Hetfield, lead guitarist Kirk Hammett, and bassist Robert Trujillo and right under the drumsticks and heels of Lars Ulrich. You get to feel their shared chemistry up close. You even see the sweat on their bodies.
If you're a megafan, it might be too much to handle in the best possible way as Metallica rips through a deep catalog of hits and anthems. The film provides a good look at the musical legacy in a way that makes it easy to fall in love with the band.
Though the concert was filmed in Canada, the rehearsals took place closer to home. Metallica practiced on Treasure Island and at the Oracle Arena in Oakland.
At last night's red carpet U.S. premiere at the Metreon in San Francisco, the band was full of Bay Area pride.
"To be here at home with our friends and family is so unbelievably cool," Ulrich told the audience. "We represent San Francisco on every shirt and every patch."
In a nod to Metallica's penchant for horror films (Hammett released an epic coffee table book dedicated to the genre last year), Through The Never also has a supernatural subplot with more than a few twists and turns.
"My parents wouldn't let me listen to Metallica growing up," admitted actor Dane DeHaan, 27, who plays the main character, whose name and adventures could both accurately be called Trip. Now, he's having the ultimate revenge: "They're here tonite and I have the opportunity to literally throw it in their face!"
"A regular 3D movie with concert footage — we've seen that before from other bands," said Hetfield. "We're adding something with another dimension, a story that maybe people can relate to, a story of struggle, a story of you don't know what's coming next. Dane DeHaan does an amazing job as Trip in this movie, we're super blessed to have him here as well."
"We're getting old, there's carpet in the mosh pit now," he later cracked, before marveling at how this project has exceeded their wildest early dreams. "Lars and I were in the garage back in the day thinking, '3D IMAX movie!' No!"
Hetfield explained that the film represents their life after 32 years together: "This is the culmination of all the tours put into one."
Through The Never opens in IMAX 3D at Bay Area theaters at midnight on September 26.