Alright, to kick off my now free Summer, we're going back to the classic Dude Meister Blogs fashion of getting all Trailerly on a Tuesday. This week it was a toss up between the bad-ass looking 2000AD, Judge Dredd adaptation, Dredd or the flesh-fuelled abs-athon of Channing Tatum in Magic Mike. Despite how much we probably would all love to breakdown and dissect every single HD frame of that trailer, I've got to stick to what I know with this one. So without further ado, the synopsis (Of DREDD, just so we're sure):
"The story of Dredd takes place on an Earth ravaged by the Atomic Wars. Survivors of this world live within megacities, gargantuan urban sprawls which protect its citizens from the Cursed Earth, a radioactive desert environment populated by mutants. The main story takes place in Mega-City One, where its police force, known as judges have the power of judge, jury and executioner to thwart crime. One man, Judge Dredd (Karl Urban), a senior Judge, teams up with cadet Judge Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) to stop drug dealer Ma-Ma (Lena Headey) and her traffic of the reality-altering drug Slo-Mo." - Wikipedia (Hence the mega-linkage)And the trailer itself (brace for grittiness):
- 0:10-0:18 - Dystopian future, rioting people, District 9 etc, etc.
- 0:21 - Aha, the SloMo drug. Sounds pretty intriguing, especially with the vivid visual style applied, and of course, the La Roux track.
- 0:38 - Why yes, that evil looking lady there does look particularly evil, perhaps because she (Lena Headey) also plays the cold Cersei Lannister in HBO's Game of Thrones. Expect this crime-queen to be a little more hands-on in her approach to opposition.
- 0:52 - The Judge himself, Karl Urban (Star Trek) as Dredd.
- 0:55-1:01 - Gritty definitely seems to be on the menu, steering away from the big sci-fi feel of the 2000AD Comics (upon which this comes from) and sticking with a realism mode, as is the trend these days.
- 1:03 - The Dark Knight seems to spring to mind...
- 1:26-1:35 - A lot of online comments have said this is too similar to recent action flick, The Raid, and whilst I can see where they're coming from, let's keep in mind that this was written sometime before that, just bad timing is all.
- 1:40 - Now this is the only thing that bothers me about this trailer, and it may be because it's all taken out of context, but the dialogue just seems bland. Predictable, action-cliche lines that you wouldn't expect from writer Alex Garland (28 Days Later, Never Let Me Go). Although some of these are obviously justified ("I am the law", "Negotiation's over") as they're kind of embedded in the 2000AD lore. So we'll see...
- 2:07-2:16 - One of the most exciting things here for sure, demonstrated perfectly in these clips is the visual/directional take on the action and cinematography. The vibrant colours juxtaposed to Dredd's leather, Black 'n' Red, visor toting uniform works harmoniously in showing the two sides of this battle; the law is in the right, but it's certainly a darker task to undertake: grimmer, lonelier and harder than the lives of those colourful criminals. Add on top that strikingly high-res visor reflection image, the gracefulness of the violent Slow-Mo shots and then the sudden visceral onslaught of a dust-covered shoot-up, and you've got yourself some skilful technique. Hats off to director Pete Travis, it seems.
- 2:20 - Simple title, simple font. 3D - maybe a decent use of it for once?
- 2:24 - I sure do hope this clip didn't just spoil the ending; Dredd throwing what looks like the evil Ma Ma out a high window, which they may have just spent the rest of the film trying to get to by ascending and assaulting this tower block?
- 2:26 - Guess we're just going to have to find out September 7th.
Final Thoughts? Intriguing, but it could still go either way despite the aesthetic and directional attributes on display. It's a tricky balance to keep: being grittily bare-bones for the sake of having a punctual setting and theme or just looking plain cheap. Let's hope it leans toward the former.
Story? Within the hands of Garland, I have some faith in that at least, even if the dialogue is sub par. From the varied locations of shots here, it seems like the pacing could be tight and the set-pieces a splendid feast. Only qualm with that would be whether the characters will be able to keep up and develop.
Performances? The actors aren't exactly shown greatly here, so that's still up in the air, although their action abilities seem to be stretched well and Urban's gruff voice in full grunty mode.
Music? The trailer featured an array, from some trippy future pop that worked okay, to standard bassy-action tropes and surprisingly some emotional melodies heard now and again which gives extra hope for perhaps not an entire action-fest. Perhaps even some of the social commentary that 2000AD often dips into?
Anyway, however this turns out, I think we can guarantee it'll be an improvement on the 1995 Stallone Judge Dredd. Or so help us all.