Friday, January 7, 2011

Is this your idea of Judge Dredd?

I'm sure the fans have already picked over this carcass, but here I am a couple of months later to offer my completely valueless opinion on the new Judge Dredd movie, which apparently is called Dredd and stars Karl Urban as the title character and Juno's best friend Olivia Thrilby as Dredd's... best friend, Judge Anderson.

Do you like Dredd's new law-togs? I think they're a vast improvement over Sylvester Stallone's ridiculous outfit from 1995's justifiably-maligned Judge Dredd. The new suit isn't comic-perfect but it does have that Euro sci-fi styling, a kind of Moebius-lite the early Dredd strips had in 2000 A.D. Reminiscent of his production design work on Luc Besson's The Fifth Element, too. I know Moebius didn't have a damned thing to do with the Judge Dredd comics, but I've always gotten a similar vibe from his costumes with their funky helmets and knee-pads and those in Dredd. And in my mind, they've conflated into this concept of "Euro sci-fi," which had its greatest cinematic expression in Besson's movie. And this image. Which I like.

Take a deep breath, Justification Boy!

And yes, I've seen some of the Photoshop jobs floating around where dedicated Dredd-heads have slapped Urban's mug under a helmet of almost 100% comic book accuracy, along with a uniform to match-- and those look pretty stupid. Even stupider, in fact, than Stallone's ridiculous garb.


Lanz said...

Hey now . . . I thought Stallone looked pretty good as Dredd. Halfway accurate. Where that movie really went off the rails was in quickly taking Stallone *out* of the Dredd "uniform" and turning into yet another torn tee-shirt movie.

Joel Bryan said...

That's a valid dissenting opinion! But to get really geeky nitpicky, I thought the gold shoulder pads, the codpiece and the way the badge chain just hooked into his collar instead of a zipper looked pretty silly.

Yeah, I'm weird like that.

On the other hand, I completely agree with the second part of your thesis-- once it got into "torn tee" territory and introduced the "comedic relief" it became pretty generic. Not even the always awesome Joan Chen could salvage it at that point, or even the surprisingly game Diane Lane!

I hate scoring easy points off Rob Schneider (who has done me no harm), but I can't help but think lowering his percentage of screentime would have improved Judge Dredd in direct proportion to an increase in the percentage of screentime devoted to both Ms. Chen and Ms. Lane.