Customer Review

471 of 519 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best comic adaptation of 2012, September 25, 2012
This review is from: Dredd [3D Blu-ray/Blu-ray + Digital Copy + UltraViolet] (Blu-ray)
First off, let me say that I am biased to this particular comic book character. I've been a fan since the late '80s and have wanted a film adaptation for a long time. I am not saying that I am pre-disposed to like this film. In fact, quite the contrary is true. I'm not only coming at this from the point of view of somebody who wants to see a good movie, but as somebody who will be judging this by its adherence to and respect for its source material.

I've been disappointed before. The Stallone version of the '90s failed this test on both counts. In fact, the only thing that movie got right was a few beautifully rendered hyper dense scenic shots of Mega City one. This film didn't have those shots. In fact, the scenic shots of the city didn't seem that dense at all...yeah there were tall building....but spaced far apart. It seemed almost like a quaint small city trying to be a big one at the edge of a dessert. That is...until we are taken inside the city.

This is one of the real coups the film pulls over on us. A few quick shots of the area around these mega blocks (big...REALLY big...More then twice the size of the Twin Towers big) reveal some familiar (especially if you are a New Yorker) buildings that frankly look like kids toys in comparison. When we are informed that the city has over 800 million people covering a land mass that stretches from Boston to DC, you have to intake air when you realize the true scale of the shots looking at the city from the dessert.

We are quickly given a day in a life type story focusing on two characters who have an importent yet oddly impotent job in the city. To maintain order. And it doesn't take too long until we realize how futile that task is in a city so enormous.

The plot details are somewhere along the lines of a Die Hard film from that point on, but the feelings this setting evokes in us are more akin to District 9. It's an all together beautiful and disturbing combination the filmmakers utilize quite adeptly.

At some point we are inside one of these big blocks, and the Judges (a hybrid cop/judge given powers to dispense instant justice) we are following through their sadly ordinary day had to shoot lots of people and utter caustic lines like "Defense noted" or "you have ten seconds to comply".

Did I mention lots of people get shot? Well... let me put it this way: LOTS of people get shot. And we are not spared one ounce of gore when this happens.

The film never really lets up, rather it moves at a brisk pace as our protagonists go about their job. The titular Judge Dredd is the experienced mentor, putting Judge Anderson through the ropes here. For those of us familiar with the comics, these are the two biggest characters in the world of Mega City one. While Anderson does go through changes, this film gives us a bit of her origins (placing this story actually BEFORE the comics really take place). While she goes from barely competent and wishy washy cadet to the beginnings of the kick ass PSI Judge we all know and love, Dredd himself never breaks a sweat. In fact, you get the sense that this particular day was no better or worse for him then the day before or the day after. His actions in the last scene of the film really hammer this home.

This characterization is what really makes the film work. The sense that this is the norm in this city informes us of the prevailing fatalism that must soak into every citizen. It is a very bleak dystopian view of the future, that sadly looks all too understandable and real. We are never told how the human race came to be in those cities, or why they still exist there. It's only that they ARE there. And it's left up to us to fill in the importance of that.
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Comments

Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 20 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 1, 2013 7:51:24 PM PST
A. Artus says:
I come from almost the exact opposite position, but I reach the same conclusion. It's been decades since I last read Dredd, but even then, as a child, the Judge's fundamentalist approach to the world was diametrically opposed to my own. But I realize that JD is not a lesson in how things ought to be, it is neither right nor wrong: it is ambivalent, capricious --like a force of nature. I also try not to judge a derived work for too heavily on it's adherence to the source, as long as it does not feel too out of place. The Stallone take on JD seemed to favour fidelity to the accoutrements of JD over capturing the character of JD. Karl Urban nailed it for me, for his JD this was just day N+1 (for very large values of N). The movie did an excellent job for the reasons you described. I liked it.

Posted on Jan 6, 2013 9:31:28 AM PST
Carlos Aona says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2013 10:15:33 AM PST
A. Davies says:
At Best Buy, the 14.99 is for the DVD. The 3D blu ray+digital copy+blu ray is the se price and according to their website it won't be released until 1/8.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2013 3:20:53 PM PST
Carlos Aona says:
I got an ad in the Sunday paper today which listed it as Available now for $14.99, Blu Ray DVD and Digital. Oh well.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2013 3:50:49 PM PST
A. Davies says:
I'd cut out a copy of that add and bring it into BB and make them honor it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2013 4:20:17 PM PST
Carlos Aona says:
I hear you. However, I prefer to buy most things from Amazon.com, Including furniture, electronics and movies. But I did cut out that ad and have it before me for reference. Best Buy made a boo-boo.

Posted on Jan 9, 2013 8:25:52 AM PST
Good review and I concur with a lot of what you said. I've never actually read the comics, but it's clear the directing and producing team took care to treat Dredd as a highly skilled law enforcement officer, not the cartoon ubermensch that Stallone portrayed him as. I also thought it was nice that the ultimate futility of trying to maintain order in such a highly scaled, population dense area was just briefly brushed over and not addressed in a ham-fisted manner. The only thing I could knock it for was that the plot bore a little too much resemblance to a "kill the lackeys and get to the boss character" video game feel to it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 12, 2013 7:18:39 AM PST
From what I've read, the Judge's fundamentalist approach to the world was diametrically opposed by the authors as well, and it was their intent to parody it, while telling great, heroic stories nonetheless.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 12, 2013 8:32:16 AM PST
A. Davies says:
Not really. John Wagner (the creator of Dredd) not only consulted on every stage of filming, he we on the road with the producers and plugged the flick with them giving it his thorough endorsement. Quite opposite to what he did when the '95 adaptation came out.

Posted on Jan 12, 2013 8:26:40 PM PST
Butt Ox says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]
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