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Amazing special effects but otherwise uninspiring..
Member Name: beauty88
Advantages: Amazing special effects, interesting concept of future world
Disadvantages: Average acting, plot & setting become boring, unrealistic fight scenes, cheesy in parts
I saw a trailer for Dredd and whilst I wasn't entirely captivated by the plot idea I was interested to see it as the trailer showed off the special effects used within the film and also presented a far-fetched future world which looked quite intriguing. So I went along to see it but to be honest wasn't expecting too much from it.
The film is set in a future America where due to serious war the majority is waste land , however various "Mega-Cities" are placed in a network. The film is set in Mega City 1 which contains 800 million people. The cities are immediately presented as terrible places where crimes are taking place on a enormous scale to the point where the government can no longer prevent it. Therefore criminals rule the city, however we are presented with a resistance group known as The Judges who are trained soldier-like individuals who are trained and self-funded to arrest prisoners, trial them and ultimately sentence them, often to death or serious punishment.
We are soon introduced to Judge Dredd one of the most skilled and formidable judges in the city. He is given the job of assessing a new judge 'Anderson' and the pair go out to attend to a crime which has taken place in an apartment tower block known as "Peach Trees" which is a slum area controlled primarily by drug lord 'Ma-Ma". Ma-Ma has been let down by 3 of her men and to set an example she skins them before throwing their bodies from her top story apartment. Ma-Ma deals a new drug called Slo-Mo which when inhaled slows down time for the user to 1% of its normal speed.
When the two judges attend to the crime scene they are quickly informed of Ma-Ma's drug den and decide to invade one of the drug dens where they arrest one of Ma-Ma's best men so they can take him for questioning and discover information on Ma-Ma's drug empire. She soon finds out however and takes control of the towers security and brings down its re-enforced war shields, which means the entire building is now encased in metal shutters meaning no-one can get in or out. She ensures this remains by forging a message to the central security controllers to say it is a drill.
She then makes an announcement over the Tannoy system that there are 2 judges in the building and she wants them killed, and once this is done everything can return to normal in the building and no harm will be done. As a result the residents of Peach Trees go after the two judges. The rest of the film follows the judges through their battles against Ma-Ma and the residents of Peach Trees.
To begin with I enjoyed the film and found it very interesting to be thrown into this fictional world which is far-fetched yet does mirror the current conditions in major cities and isnt hard to imagine in real life. The film opens really well and explains well the world the film is set in and the main characters. It doesn't really allow for much thinking though as the main information is handed over on a plate, therefore it is an easy to follow film and not particularly challenging.
Despite the positive opening I began to go off the film from the point where the story actually began and the judges are trapped in Peach Trees. It all just got a bit familiar and predictable. There were so many occasions where I thought they should have been dead by now and it was just very unrealistic. Whilst I was rooting for the 2 protagonists at the beginning, I began to get bored very quickly and soon found myself not really caring what happened to them. I think the film needed a few more twists to keep it going, as the battles began to get a bit repetitive for my liking, particularly because they were all set within the same building.
As a whole the film was quite cheesy at times which was a shame as it could have been a very serious film with its grave reality and 18 certification, however at times like many other films it succumbed to stereotype cheesiness meaning for me it just became another one of 'those' action films that we've all seen before. I felt it had potential to stand out and be different, however it failed to do so.
It also seemed a shame that the entire plot was encased within one building, particularly because we had been presented with such an interesting new world which never really got shown during the film. I had been really captivated by the landscape and atmosphere given to the city at the start of the film, therefore was disappointed not to see more of it.
One thing that I really didn't expect or prepare myself for was the level of violence in the film. I didn't realise it was an 18 until we were sat watching it and I understood why quite quickly. There was a large degree of both explicit and implied violence which gave the film a huge shock factor...especially in 3D. I'm not a fan of horror and gore and could just about tolerate this film but it did leave me feeling a bit creeped out at times! It certainly doesn't hide from gore and shows it in its full glory. I can't be sure if this was a wise move, it does aid the creation of a very dystopic world and makes the film very realist and less Disney...however it is the main reason I wouldn't watch the film again and probably wouldn't watch a sequel. Therefore it kind of spoiled it for me and I might have preferred a toned down version.
I've got mixed feelings regarding the acting in this film. My favourite character was MaMa played by Lena Headey. Lena did an amazing job of depicting what I thought was the most difficult character MaMa, who is mentally disturbed and erratic. She came across as genuinely evil and insane, and managed to create a maddened look in her eyes which made the character really convincing.
The rest of the cast weren't so inspiring. Karl Urban who plays Judge Dredd was ok but was a bit cheesy and over-acted at times. I think the fact that the character is quite hard and serious, and wears a mask covering most of his face, made it a tough job to create a moving memorable performance though. Olivia Thirlby plays Dredds sidekick Judge Anderson, and whilst I did feel she gave a consistent performance and was convincing, I just didn't leave with an amazing impression of her. I haven't seen her in any other films and she may well crop up again, however for now I'm not too interested and will probably soon forget her.
Although I wasn't impressed with the cast as a whole, I'm not sure that casting different actors would have helped. I think even with the best actors in Hollywood the
Now here is the part where I was really impressed! The special effects used to create the fictional city are breathtaking! The film was in 3D which made it even more impressive and I thought the effects used made the film so much better and gave me something to watch it for. And the effects were the main reason I went to see the film in the first place. The film had a huge budget and its understandable when you watch it and see the visual effects which have been used.
There are many scenes featuring use of the drug Slo-Mo which requires time to be slowed down to 1% which creates some beautiful effects. There is one scene where Ma-Ma is in the bath under the influence of the drug and she lifts here arm from the water which in slow motion creates a beautiful water effect. Scenes like this with such amazing use of effects made the film seem worth watching but still weren't enough to convince me it was worthwhile.
The effects were the only element of the film which made it stand out from the crowd and offered something a bit different and on another level. So it's a shame the rest of the film was so predictable and unmemorable.
Other than the special effects and the original concept there wasn't much I liked about this film. The plot was uninspiring and the acting as a whole was unmemorable. The only impact this film left was that I will remember the amazing effects and the shocking violent scenes. I wouldn't bother watching it again and wouldn't recommend it unless you want a geeky film fix and to enjoy some special effects.