Sunday, September 30, 2012

A Feeling of Dredd

Okay, so I went to see the new "Dredd" movie yesterday.  The overall theatre-going session started poorly because the sound on the previews was insanely loud.  We actually had to go out and tell the manager about it.  Also, a lot of the previews were for horror films.  I can't abide horror films.  The whole concept is extremely nasty and in humane.  I really don't want anyone shoving evil images into my head--even just in a preview.  My wife and I noticed a long time ago that there are people out there who lump science fiction in with horror.  I have no idea why they do that.  Clearly, there is no connection between Star Trek and Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Why am I apparently swerving off into a rant about horror film here?  Because in Dredd there were quite a few horror-film type scenes, admittedly brief ones, polluting the science fiction.  Yes, okay, Megacity One is supposed to be filled with crime, violence, and depravity.  But that doesn't prescribe how it will be depicted on screen.  I came in expecting some tough gritty action-film type sci-fi.  There was plenty of that but it was polluted with chunks of horror nastiness.  Imagine going to a restaurant and ordering a nice pizza.  It comes to the table, you're hungry and all ready to dig in, but then you see pieces of turds on it.  Totally revolting.  The entire pizza is now disgusting.

In addition to the jarring and unnecessary horror sequences there were also slightly annoying scenes which were obviously inserted for the 3D version of the film.  Personally, I find 3D films to be kind of lame.  The technology still isn't very good and so I'm not willing to pay more for it.  Unfortunately you still get stuck with the obviously-meant-for-the-3D-version scenes which look awkward in 2D.

I was pleased to see that they didn't add in any gratuitous sex scenes.  I'm not all prudish about sex and nudity.  But I find it annoying when they throw in sex and/or nudity which have nothing really to do with the story: the shower scenes in Starship Troopers, for instance.

Another, minor, complaint is that the locations and sets were a bit disappointing.  They seemed kind of cheap.  Most of the story takes place in the rooms and corridors of the massive Peach Trees megablock, which means that most of the rooms and corridors are very similar looking.  The interior sets come off looking rather low budget.  The exterior scenes are okay, but don't have a futuristic vibe to them.  Likewise the clothing worn by the inhabitants of the block are quite ordinary.  Again, the look is a bit low-budget.  The one area where they did put in a good effort was the Judges' uniforms and equipment.

The acting was excellent.  I felt for Karl Urban as Judge Dredd because he has his helmet on the entire time and thus you can only see his mouth.  It's tough to portray emotions with just mouth movements and body language.  I loved Olivia Thirlby as the young rookie Judge Cassandra Anderson.  Lena Headey was great as crime clan leader Ma-Ma.

Overall I was disappointed and probably wouldn't watch it again.  However I would really like to see an edited version of the film with the visual horror turds removed.

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