The Sword Appears

Positive commentary:

. . . about The Legend of Taarna:

- Taarna showed me as a young male that women weren't to be taken lightly, or objectified. She spoke with her actions, which to me were exceptionally honorable. - gatorbite, 5 February 2007

- How I worship this goddess. Had her and her beastie on a poster in my apartment years ago. . .those were the days. - Sandi, 29 December 2005

- In the cult film "Heavy Metal," Taarna was the Defender of her world, the last of a line of warriors. In a film with easy, comical women, she was an untouchable, noble being. - SaxonAngel, 30 August 2005

- "The female warrior in the 'Taarna' scene is by far the most powerful and sensual depiction of a woman in animation." - Al,

- "The thing I'll never forget about [Heavy Metal] is that the hero was a WOMAN and she was the baddest and beautiful. If anyone doesn't appreciate this film's contribution to cinema then it's just too bad. . . . Maybe it's time for a new Taarna." - lunavictory69 , 28 September 2005

- "The most visually attractive of all the sequences is one toward the end that has its main character flying through a city (or factory; it isn't clear) that appears to be made up of a series of pipes and ducts. It is beautiful, fanciful, three dimensional, and often breathtaking." - John J. Puccio,

- "I may be a little biased, especially given I have three animation cells from the sequence, but the Taarna sequence is one of the best animated stories ever . . . ." - Longwatcher, Virginia

- "[T]he flight sequence in the climactic story, the Legend of Taarna . . . is an INCREDIBLE achievement given the time period." - star sheep, 15 June 2005

- "I would have thought by now I would have outgrown my boyhood crush on Taarna, . . . but now I know it's still there." - The Video Department

- "If Taarna spoke, you could actually imagine her reciting Jules' credo, Ezekiel 25:17: ['I will execute great acts of vengeance on them, punishing them furiously. Thus they shall know that I am the LORD, when I wreak my vengeance on them.']" - Lizard King, 1 February 2005, BaloolaPalooza Forums

- "Saved for the end of the film, it is [Taarna's] story that restores our opinion of the filmmakers' portrayal of women." - Dan Ramer,, 12 March 2003

- "At nearly 30 minutes long, 'Taarna' is the most involving vignette. Its sword and sorcery meets spaghetti western plot offers more eye-opening animation and a central female character who is even tougher than she is terrific to look at." - Brian McTavish, The Kansas City Star, 8 March 1996

- "Not all the women are bimbettes. Taarna, the last of the Taarakian warriors and the last hope for saving the world from evil, shows she can hang when she gets hassled by some barbarian thugs in a rotgut dive reminiscent of the bar scene in Star Wars (with the band jamming on Devo's `Through Being Cool'). Without a word--she's the strong, silent type--and with one sweep of her sword, she decapitates two of them, green Loch-narian blood oozing as the corpses crumple to the floor. And remember, she's on the side of good." - Ken Marantz, The Daily Yomiuri, 1 February 1996

- "The highlight is the last sequence, Taarna, which features scenes which remain to this day among the most ambitious animated experiments ever filmed. There's a fly-by sequence in which the artists basically rotoscoped (sketched from live film) a one minute pseudo-helicopter shot of a blasted landscape which has to be seen to be believed. The brutal death of a young boy due to multiple crossbow rounds is also stunning. This sequence also highlights Elmer Bernstein's incredible score. In one instance--where Taarna strips down, swims naked across a pool, then gets dressed on the other side in a highly stylized fashion--the music manages to raise something fairly smutty to an awe-filled level of high art."

- "I found 'The Legend of Taarna' (the last one) to be a true original. Sure, it seems sexist and Taarna is a complete male fantasy, but I found it to be strikingly original in its visual imagination. She comes out of the sky riding a giant condor and carrying a sword. She walks into the bar, is hit on by three slobbering goons and you can fill in the rest. This well animated scene owes more than a little to the Clint Eastwood westerns (Did I say a little? She even squints her eyes). I caught myself smiling at this scene, that's why I liked it." - Jerry Roberts, Birmingham, Alabama

- "'Taarna'--It's Xena meets Mad Max meets Conan meets a Clint Eastwood Western (watch and see). Sci-fi and fantasy collide in this violent story of one woman standing up against an army of evil. To hell with Xena . . .Taarna rules." - MovieRat-2, 10 June 2002

- "Classic tale of good and evil. I think everyone will come away from this movie with a different impression, but ultimately will be generally the same. Even to this day I see this movie as a standard for equality. Among gender, race, religion, and age, I insist you watch this movie seriously, not as a cartoon, for then you will see what lies below the youth oriented suface. A movie that defies any standard and tells a story that is told in many ways, but is still the same. Fight against a greater evil despite the petty differences of a mortal world, and we will all find below the surface a common goal of greatness in a divine way." - Neodread, Boulder, Colorado

- "Most movies nowadays contain so much that you actually lose interest. And while . . . this movie seems to jump from point to point, it all contains one message. Chaos is prevalent no matter where you go, but there will ALWAYS be someone there to stand up and be our guardian." - Mana Montague, 29 May 2005

- "The final installment, Taarna, is the most mind-bending in terms of fluid animation, spectacular color schemes, imagination, and graphics, which appears 3-D. The green ball crashes into a mountain and the lava it produces turns the civilization around it into a merciless warring faction. They prey upon neighboring villages who then summon The Defender . . . . The sequence in which Taarna, the Defender, slowly and enticingly dons her bondage-like battle gear and hip boots remains one of the hottest scenes ever in a movie, animated or not. All clothes aside, this tale is the centerpiece of the movie's artistic accomplishments." - Noctem, USA

- Re: film star guaranteed to make your heart beat a little faster: "Taarna, the Taarakian from Heavy Metal. So she's just an animation, so what. She's strong, sexy, beautiful, and can take care of business. What else could a guy want?" - Brian Voth, 23 March 1998

- "This film was marketed as the male dream: Metal Music, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Nudity. But wait . . . why was I . . . a woman--interested?! It was 'Taarna.' This was the first animated woman in an American-made mainstream, animated, adult feature film who the world needed, who the world depended upon, who was tough, who was independent, not a size four but voluptuous, and still very sexy. Nowadays, it may not mean much, but in 1981 when I was a teen and saw this, it meant a lot. Snow White, she wasn't, and she wasn't the Wicked Witch of the West either, and that is how women were portrayed up until the release of Heavy Metal." - lambiepie-2

- "The best animated clip I've ever seen was 'Taarna the Defender' in Heavy Metal the Movie. With life-like movement and excellent music, it stands out in my mind as the best piece of Western animation, in my opinion. My only gripe against it is that it's too short (about 45 minutes)." - Rhetoric the Persuader, 13 April 1994

- "Back when this film first came out there was an organized feminist campaign to destroy it. I used to wonder if those people ever actually watched the film--I can't imagine a more heroic feminine archetype than Taarna." - oakshaman, February 25, 2004

- 'Taarna' is the most visually stunning stretch of the film, as a silver haired, silent beauty arises to avenge the slaughter of a race of beings. Something about that segment always captures my imagination. - Michael Jacobson, DVD Movie Central

- "The story that binds the vignettes together is what keeps you focused through the movie . . . but each segment, done by different artists, is as wonderful and unique as the last. I remember identifying with Taarna. What a kick butt female role model!" - Ruth Abreu, 14 June 2005

- The concluding segment, Taarna, is the most ambitious and contains nearly a third of the running time. This piece . . . contains some of the most striking visual material in the film, including the iconic title character aboard her flying creature. She is the last defender of a planet of philosophers and scientists; when they are eradicated she turns from protection to vengeance. . . . Taarna remains intriguingly silent, lending an archetypal note to her character. - Mark Zimmer, 11 March 2003,

- "...if a cartoon woman could ever come to life I wish it was Taarna ... the scene where she gets dressed combined with the music score just sends chills down my spine. The music is just so beautiful." -Gemini, 6 January 2006,

- Taarna seems the embodiment of the anima in the male psyche. She is ultimately desirable (gorgeous beautiful, semi-nude) but unapproachable (mute, warrior, rides a flying birdosaur); she is ultimately powerful, yet very female (mutual devotion between her and her birdosaur); she is ultimately special (the last Taarakian, has white-blonde hair, savior of universe), but impossible to possess (super-tough, weapons expert). . . . Taarna personifies that mysterious, ineffable, ultimate fantasy woman that always shadows the mind of the heterosexual young male. - Lacedemonians, 19 February 2006

- Taarna . . . had depth, emotion, courage, character development, and heart. She is a martyr, and her conflicts have a meaningful purpose that can be both personal and universal. - Krasnaya, 8 September 2006

- Subject: Re: Saddest moments in an animated movie: "When Taarna sacrifices herself to destroy the Loc Nar in the final sequence of Heavy Metal." - Emanuel Brown, 25 July 2000

. . . about Elmer Bernstein's score:

Elmer Bernstein-HM-the Score

- "If I were to pick one score out of the whole of scoredom which I think most deserved a real CD release, this would be it. I don't think it's possible for someone to see the movie and not notice how incredible the music is, especially in the Taarna sequence. . . . , one of the most incredible musical sequences in film history. The music is nearly indescribable . . . ethereal and otherworldly and joyous and wonderful. Bernstein certainly knows what he was talking about with the Ondes Martenot (still love that name). The whole movie, and especially this last sequence (which, at one point, involved a cartoon heroine ritually undressing all the way) would have been a LOT more generally offensive if it hadn't been for the music." - Jason Blalock, Scoreland

- "Elmer Bernstein's sweeping score is appropriately epic . . . " - Glenn Kenny, Entertainment Weekly, 14 June 1996

- "There was a column in a Starlog magazine from the early 80's that talked about moments in film where the action, images, and music come together to form a perfect moment‚a moment that lifts you to another time and place. I think about that article a lot and make mental lists of moments that fit the criteria for me. Here is my latest attempt to write them down. Please add your own if you wish. --Heavy Metal (1981)--Almost the entirety of the 'Taarna' episode. Contains one of my top five favorite pieces of music of all time." - trinfaneb, 18 September 2004

- "[O]ne of the greatest pieces ever written for a fantasy film . . ." - Jamie McLean, Symphonic Hollywood: Celebrating Elmer,

- "HEAVY METAL (1981) was an important event in my life . . . it introduced me to the Ondes Martenot, one of the earliest and most musical of electronic instruments. It is scarcely going too far to say that in the decade which followed, this instrument caused me to re-define many aspects of my entire approach to motion-picture scoring. . . . The Taarna theme was actually written some years before for an abortive project in a quite different situation, although the idea of soaring in ecstasy through space was always part of it. That is why the ultra-human vocal quality of the Ondes Martenot seemed so God-given!" -Elmer Bernstein, insert to CD Album, ELMER BERNSTEIN BY ELMER BERNSTEIN (1992)

- "Elmer Bernstein's seldom-heard 'Heavy Metal - Taarna's Theme' is . . . fascinating not only due to its romantic mingling of organic and electronic effects, but also because, even though it was originally intended . . . as a motif for Farrah Fawcett's character in the 1980 flick Saturn 3, the melody still manages to evoke highly emotional imagery in its animation-oriented incarnation." - Jeff Berkwits, on-line review of Space & Beyond CD

- "The ethereal Taarna's Theme from Heavy Metal (1981) with its harp and flute arpeggios, celesta and twinkling little bells and ondes martenot is quite enchanting and one of Bernstein's most magical inspirations." - Marc Bridle, Film Music Editor,

- "Bernstein's score had a prominent role . . . possibly even more so than the songs. The score itself needs no introduction: an exciting, heroic symphonic work from Bernstein that even leans to biblical proportions (a la TEN COMMANDMENTS) during the 'Taarna' sequence. . . . Score-wise, 'Taarna' is the highlight . . . ." - Darth Saotome, 14 August 2000

- "The thing that is often forgotten about Heavy Metal is Elmer Bernstein's lush and beautiful score for the film. It stands the test of time much better than the high-profile rock soundtrack. The score for the `Taarna' sequence in particular is haunting and evocative, and is one of my favorite pieces of film music." - Hamson, Cleveland, Ohio

- "[T]he thing that is often overlooked in Heavy Metal is the film score. The soundtrack, filled with a number of examples of late 70's/early 80's rock music, gets all the attention, while Elmer Bernstein's lush and evocative score gets little attention. The 'Taarna' sequence benefits the most from Bernstein's work. It adds sweep and grace, as well as mystery, to the best sequence of the film. . . . [T]he Taarna sequence manages to convey a grandeur often missing in the rest of the film." - Hamson, North Ridgeville, Ohio

- "The only stories that successfully use the rock music are 'B-17' (with the soldiers dying in slow motion) and Taarna (when the barbarians attack the peaceful city). Otherwise, it's Bernstein who carries the film--listen to his work as Harry Canyon and the girl meet the mobster at night, as Den risks his life to save Catherine, as Taarna flies over a rocky valley in the film's most memorable special effects shot." - Josh Leman, Boulder, Colorado

- Re: Your favorite movie music moment: "I love what Elmer Bernstein did with the entire Taarna sequence in HEAVY METAL. When she flies her Beanie Baby Pterodactyl, his music puts me atop the benign creature with her (and she ain't too shabby for a 'toon)." - Dave Mele, 28 April 2000

- "[A] striking thing about Heavy Metal is the choral music, which is bold and energetic and often beautiful. . . . Taarna's theme finally makes an entrance in 'Flight'--scored for wordless soprano and ondes before being taken up by the full orchestra, it's one of those themes that makes your hair stand on end every time." - James Southall,

- The biggest, boldest and best remembered story . . . takes the score by the horns and runs wild with it. The famed Taarna sequence sees the titular warrior woman doing battle with various barbarians, ride her pterodactyl to glory and wrestle a kingdom from its vicious dictator, before finally taking the fight directly to the Loc Nar itself in a self-sacrificial duel. . . . Bernstein fashioned a simply mesmerising and haunting signature theme for Taarna . . . Enamoured by the ethereal, otherworldly sound of an instrument called the ondes Martenot . . . he found the perfect channel with which to incorporate its classically eerie and devoutly sci-fi appeal. Backed with female voices, the ondes Martenot, played by Jeannie Loriod, creates Taarna's sweeping, lush theme . . . . - Chris McEneany, AV Forums, 24 April 2008

(individual viewer comments are courtesy of IMDb &, except as noted)