Monday, September 24, 2012

Manic DreddDay #5--A Tiny Review

A few non-spoilery thoughts below the poster...

  • It was pretty good, much better than I expected. I have a tiny quibble with the plot structure, but honestly that's more a matter of preference than a critique.

  • It was also quite bloody and violent, so it certainly earns its R rating.

  • The 3D was fairly well done, albeit mostly unnecessary. 

  • And they get Dredd pretty much right, which is more difficult than you might imagine, especially for an action movie. 
You see, Dredd is an icon, an archetype, no more changeable than Mount Rushmore. He can't learn, or grow,  or change, any more than Beavis or Butthead can. If he does, you loose the concept. Dredd is Dredd is Dredd IS the character.

Which is where the Stallone debacle went wrong (in part)--it's America, dammit, and we want our action heroes to take off the mask so we can see their face and see them emote and watch them learn from their mistakes and grow. Which is fine, but is anti-thetical to Dredd, who exists not as a real character, but as a comment on the bizarre world which surrounds him and as a social commentary and as a satire and...well, pretty much anything other than what we on this side of the pond expect from our leads.

(Minor spoiler in this paragraph) But this movie had the courage to let Dredd be Dredd. Urban never takes off the mask, never has a girlfriend. But the movie solves this problem by making the focus be on Anderson's rising and advancing of the spirit. Well played.

  • Here is a free comic prequel that explains the background of the movie's villain--it doesn't spoil anything, just gives some depth to a character that was already well-performed by Lena Headey.
So, Dredd...I say go see it.


Dan O. said...

Good review Snell. It’s fun, bloody, and in-your-face, but it still felt like something was missing in the action-department at the end. I don’t know what it was, but something could have been a lot crazier about this material I feel like.

Gary said...

Glad you liked it - shame it appears to have bombed over in the States. Looks like a sequel's less likely now.

snell said...

I would say the bombing is because

A) 3D was a bad decision...don't make people pay more to see your movie when you don't already have a strong franchise

B) Bad memories from Stallone, that weren't overcome by...

C) Poor marketing over here. Not a surprise, really...but trying to push an unfamiliar concept with no big stars with a trailer that just looks like a dozen other "cop goes after drugs" films ain't getting it done.

I think it would have gone down better over here had the movie chosen to play up the more satirical, humorous elements of Dredd...