Sunday, 23 September 2012

Dredd - The Law

I saw the film Dredd today.

I'm not going to write a massive review (I liked it), and will not waffle on about how I was raised on 2000ad, and how much I loved Dredd (along with almost all of the staple characters from the early 2000ad years). I will say, though, that I hope that the film does well.

Films, and entertainment in general, need middle budget independent projects to do well. They are a dying breed, pushed aside by low- and lower than low-budget, and the hyper-budget corporate sponsored stuff that does so well during the summer (Avengers, for example).

Yes, those films can be okay, but middle budget is a beautiful place where creativity grows, where story telling is experimental (and not committee led) and they are a great place to employ people learning about their crafts.

We need the middle ground back - it's been falling away more and more each year.

If you haven't seen Dredd yet, and like comic books and comic book movies, go to see it - it's a well crafted and inventive film.

And two things, importantly, Dredd has no real arc to talk of, because he doesn't need one - he is the law, fully formed! Secondly - the helmet stays on.


Javier Hernandez said...

Ah....I was curious to see your comments! Glad you enjoyed it. I really liked it, to be honest.

I had the exact same thoughts as you did:

I totally tip my hat to the filmmakers and star for keeping Dredd's helmet on for the entire film! May seem trivial to some, but dammit, it's such a cornerstone of his personality.

And secondly, halfway through the film I was so, so happy to watch a film that, while using CGI for effects and backgrounds and the like, this was a film that seemed very real, like it was filmed in an actual building.

I'm not gonna bag on AVENGERS, it was okay, I saw it. But seeing a DREDD, comic book movie, or action movie with somewhat of a sci-fi element, it was a relief to not have to watch a parade of CGI characters running amok everywhere.

And I like that the world wasn't at stake. Sure, Mama was trying to run her drug empire all over Mega-City, but this actually seemed, in a good way, like an episode of a DREDD tv series. Like he says at the end (SPOILER ALERT): "This was a drug bust". I get the sense that later that day he ran into some bank robbers or mutants! It was a solid hour and a half of hardcore Mega City-style police action, and needed no 'high concept' plot to sustain it.

I have to say, the visual effects of the Slo Mo drug, such as when we first see Mama in the bathtub, were absolutely amazing, and beautiful in way. (I say this as someone who's never done narcotics himself!).

Great film. Oh, and I absolutely loved how in the credits (shown after the film) the 'created by' tag was HUGE! Don't thing the Marvel/DC movies will ever credit their creators in such a way.... :(

Having said all this, is the price the film pays for being a complete gift to fans a pretty disastrous weekend box office? I know Dredd's not the most known character, despite a previous film with Stallone, but what a shame this will probably kill any sequel. Would have loved to have seen the JUDGE CHILD QUEST or JUDGE DEATH.

I think I'll try to go see the film once more before Friday.

Jamie Gambell said...

Javier, great response and post - thank you sir.

I think they nailed Joe Dredd very well in the movie. There wasn't as much humor as the books sometimes have, but there were enough little touches. Some great easter eggs in there as well.

I saw something recently which showed a few of the little CGI touches that they had added to the movie to build the universe. I don't think that they could ever reach the level of world building needed on their budget to truly capture Mega City One in all it's glory, so the smart move of containing it in a block - which still felt vast vertically - was very wise.

I loved the kick of Slo Mo - it really helped give a sense of reason behind the drug - the bath scene was beautifully shot.

I do hope it picks up and gets some box office going - at least enough to let them make a sequel of some kind.

When the world asks why there hasn't been a film featuring Judge Death, it will be because the majority of people who would love it, were too busy to try a new movie...

I'd like to catch it in 2D before it goes.

Jamie Gambell said...

Oh, forgot to add, my only real gripe was that Anderson wasn't wearing a white helmet when we first saw them go out on patrol - standard procedure for a rookie judge being tested.