Friday, 7 September 2012

Should you fear Dredd because he is in 3D?

You often hear the phrase thrown around in the industry that “remakes are a dime a dozen in Hollywood these days” and what a horrible and creatively bankrupt thing that is. But there’s an obvious question goes along with that statement which doesn’t really get asked all that often, and its “Is that actually a bad thing?” Anyone who reads my blog will know that I have gone on record in my dislike for this whole indie versus Hollywood divide which is thrown around in the film industry a lot. Often in the vein of a conversation that says independent is good, Hollywood is bad. I don’t really understand that sentiment

Here we have a bit of a different situation though. We have a movie which in some cases is considered a remake of a film made not 15-20 years ago. A movie which I am old enough to have remembered the original release of the film I saw when it did. I can understand people’s hesitation in going out to see the film. I went into the film with low expectations of what it might actually do because of the fact that I remember the first Judge Dredd movie starring Sylvester Stallone. There is a case to be made for remaking a film too soon. Much like a mourning process, it’s a good idea to wait an appropriate amount of time before trying again. What that waiting period should be is open to interpretation. Personally I think that a minimum of 10 years is required to truly get a film out of someone’s mind before taking it on.

A person who is a big fan of an adapted work might disagree with that assessment, but like I said that’s open for debate. However, suppose for example that something was done badly the first time. Should a shorter waiting period be implemented? Many of the fans of the Judge Dredd comic book weren’t very big on the 1990s adaptation to a feature film. Do you listen to them and try again quickly or do you wait until someone who really understands the material comes along and adapts it properly? How does one even find such a person?<

In the case of Dredd 3D, I think they have found those people. Director Pete Travis and star Karl Urban clearly care about the material they are involved in and they worked together to make it what it is. During the Q&A, the writer said that this was one of the most collaborative projects he had ever worked on. Speaking from personal experience I know that sometimes that can be a drawback in a project, particularly in one where the makers have such strong feelings about the subject in question. But with the right kind of people and the right kind of vision, sometimes it can be a great thing.

Dredd 3D is such a project in my opinion. There are people out there who have seen the Judge Dredd from the 90s and will automatically avoid it for fear of another dud. Unfortunately, those people are going to miss out on something that is absolutely worth seeing. Karl Urban’s portrayal of the infamous Judge Dredd is worth the watch alone. Olivia Thirlby as Anderson and Lena Headey as the villain Ma-Ma manage to elevate Urban’s performance even further if only because a man like Dredd is focused and driven, something that Urban does well, and he needs someone to play off of. Thirlby in particular adds the human element to the story without being a helpless victim for Dredd to constantly save. She can save herself if she has to, and trapped in a 200 floor tower full of criminals? I think it’s safe to say that she has to.

This kind of story marks a turn in the way people are being portrayed on screen. In some ways it’s a return to the good guy versus bad guy storytelling that was common up until the tragic hero and the anti-hero became the popular way to tell a story in recent years, but with one major difference. We have moved beyond the “hero rescues the girl” or the “helpless love interest” female character that was also common of the pre-tragic hero story and we are looking to do something new with it. Dredd 3D is the beginning of what comes next, and personally, I am glad to see it. So…

Should you fear Dredd because he is in 3D? Absolutely not, in fact I think you should cheer him on.

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