Judge Dredd Is Coming To TV!

On Wednesday it was announced by 2000AD that Judge Dredd will be coming to the small screen! I am super hyped about this. I think Judge Dredd:Mega-City One will kick ass big time. I do love the movie Dredd, it’s probably in my favourite three movies, but I think with Judge Joseph Dredd being in a TV series will suit the character and the setting of Mega-City One much better as we’ll get a show that’ll be able to explore the universe a lot more thoroughly. Movies are great, but with forty years of history I think a series is going to allow the creative team behind it more time to explore that universe.

No casting details have been announced, I’m really hoping they get Karl Urban, and Olivia Thirlby, back but I’m not going to hold my breath too much. I’ve got a feeling this series is going to be its own thing, though.

After hearing the owners of 2000AD talking (check out the 2000AD podcast) about the comic I’ve got a lot of hope for this series. They seem to get what it means and I think they are going to do it justice.

Looking At Dredd: Part 2

Here is Part 2 of my look at the movie Dredd.

Wood Harris pays Kay, one of Ma-Ma’s lieutenants who is arrested early on in a drug den that Dredd and Anderson raid. It’s his arrest that leads to Ma-Ma locking down Peach Trees and sending her gang out after Dredd and Anderson. I liked Harris’ performance here. He plays a man with little or no conscience who enjoys what he does. Throughout most of the movie he has Anderson pushing him around and on the occasions when Dredd leaves them he tries to unsettle the rookie Judge. Kay is kind of the opposite to Dredd in what he stands for.

Ma-Ma is played chillingly by the amazing Lena Heady. The more I’ve seen of Headey the more I’m liking her as an actress. As Ma-Ma she shows her range as Ma-Ma is a very disturbed, vicious character who has no morals and no conscience. She is a junkie who seems to be constantly on the edge of not only sanity but of staying alive. The fact that she aggressively controls a gang like she does is testament to the person she is. I got the impression from this character that she is not only smart and ruthless but also someone that is neither happy nor concerned that what she is doing causes as much harm as it does. All this we get from Headey, she pulls a stunning performance out for this movie that is disturbing to watch.

Visually Dredd is stunning. This is the first film where I found the 3D didn’t bother me. It was there and added to the cinematic experience well but it’s not something that the film depends on. I’ve lost count of the times that I have watched this movie on DVD and Blu-Ray and it still looks as beautiful as it did in the cinema. The word beautiful can be a little misleading, I use it in the sense that Mega City 1 looks horrid, but in a visually stunning way. It looks like a third world city. The streets are full of rubbish and graffiti, the vehicles look like they are only just operating. Buildings look old and like they have no one maintaining them. Basically everything you would expect to see in a third world city. Even Dredd looks like he’s been on the streets a long time. His uniform is worn and tired looking. His helmet especially looks like its well worn. Peach Trees, where the majority of the movie takes place looks dull and uninspiring. Few people look like they are flourishing in this world, it looks very desolate.

The soundtrack matches this feeling of desolation. The score which was composed by Paul Leonard-Morgan feels dirty and made me feel like there was a heart beating in my ear throughout the movie. Picking up just at the most tense moments and dropping off to let the viewer breath for a moment. I actually liked the soundtrack so much that I brought it and listen to it frequently.

Director Peter Travis and all of the production team and the writers and everyone behind the scenes have worked hard to make this a very believable movie. The storyline is something that is just a little more extreme then the everyday events that a Judge in this world has to deal with, which I preferred seeing than if it was a Judge Dredd saves the world storyline. The settings look amazing and very authentic. This world is not the same as the comic book but I think its a very realistic evolution from comic to screen, a lot of thought has been put  into making that evolution. The judges uniforms are a good example. In the comic they are skin tight with a belt, the helmet and big shoulder pads. In the movie the uniforms are more tactical; heavy, dark leather with more subtle shoulder pads. The helmets are almost the same but the weapons look more realistic. They take a normal pistol and modify it. Any action movie fan knows what a pistol looks like and these are different but look similar enough that its recognisable.

Overall Dredd is in my top five favourite movies of all time, and not just for the fact that it is a film that has a lot of skill and heart in it but also because this world that Dredd is set in, I can see it becoming a reality. This is well directed, well acted and has a lot of heart and belief by those that got it to the big screen.

Yes I want to see a sequel.

Looking At Dredd: Part 1

Dredd is a movie directed by Pete Travis and set in an America where most of the country is a wasteland and the population is crammed in like sardines into giant Mega Cities. With all these people squeezed in crime has gotten out of control and the traditional judiciary system cannot cope so a new way of enforcing the law was needed, so the Judges were born. These judges are judge, jury and executioner all in one and Judge Dredd is one of these judges, He’s ‘The Judge Dredd’ as one of the characters refer to him in this movie.

The synopsis is a simple one; the experienced Judge Dredd is given a rookie Judge, Cassandra Anderson, who has only just failed the training to become a judge, but she’s a psychic and is being treated as a special case because of her special abilities so she is given one last chance to gain her passage to becoming a Judge by being given a day in the field with Dredd to see if she has the ability to handle being a Judge.
They respond to a triple homicide in a mega tower called Peach Trees. These are massive buildings that house a huge amount of people and are all but a small city on their own. These towering buildings dominate the skyline of Mega City 1 where this story takes place.
Once they are inside their actions in investigating this crime, in particular arresting someone in a drug den,  lead to a gang lord called Ma-Ma taking control and  locking the tower down, these towers can shield themselves in the event of a nuclear attack, and has her gang hunting the two judges down.

This movie is so much more then the synopsis  I’ve written above. This is a movie about The Judge Dredd. A judge who has no price, a judge who obeys the word of the law to the word, although he does give a little, there’s a good example of this early on. Dredd is not afraid to pull the trigger when he needs to. He is confident in himself and believes in what he is doing to uphold the law. Throw in a rookie judge who he has to assess, in what turns out to be an extreme situation, he has someone with him who is not as sure of herself, but she wants to make a difference and it is mainly through her eyes that we see this movie through. She is new to all of this as we, the viewer, are.

Dredd is played superbly by Karl Urban, who apparently sought out the producers when he heard they were making a Judge Dredd movie. I’ve only just started to read the collections of the Judge Dredd comics but something I knew  before I started reading them was that Dredd never takes his helmet off, ever. So for Urban to pull off the performance as Dredd that he did is very impressive. All you see of Urban is his mouth and chin, and that’s it but he still becomes the no nonsense lawman that Dredd is. He is able to pull off a huge array of emotions just with his mouth. Urban has a decent build which he uses to add to making Dredd come to life, and then there is his voice. Urban gives Dredd a very gravelly voice that works so well is almost chilling. I cannot think of a better actor then Karl Urban to play Judge Dredd and when I heard he was playing him I was very happy, and even happier when he pulled this performance out of the hat for Dredd.

Anderson is played by the lovely Olivia Thirlby. This is the first time I have encountered Thirlby and I was very impressed. She has to give a faultless performance as Anderson as she goes through a lot of different emotions through out the movie and she seemed to carry it off. There are times when she needs to hold her own against the violent men around her. The chemistry between Urban and Thirlby seems pretty good on screen. This movie is about Dredd but it wouldn’t work without Anderson’s journey through the movie.

Please return for the second part of this blog post tomorrow.