SDCC ’12: Dredd Was Screened At Comic Con; What Was The Verdict?

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Judge Dredd had a special screening on preview night at Comic Con. The advanced screening of the Alex Garland scripted, Pete Travis directed Dredd went over well. The final verdict- it’s pretty good.

The Twitterverse was full of first reactions. Some said amazing, others said it wasn’t perfect but a fun, violent ride. The consensus was that it is an extremely hard R rated flick with tons of the ultra-violence. The majority even said it doesn’t warrant The Raid comparisons that were spewed after the first trailer. I could post Twitter reactions all day, but here are some more official reactions from Total Film, Collider, and Bleeding Cool.

Total Film starts off by telling 2000 AD fans to rest easy, it is brutally true to the comics. The two big roles, Dredd (Karl Urban) and his psychic side-kick Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) are handled well. Here’s a segment of their reaction:

Urban certainly has the downturned mouth and super-cool, gravelly delivery to pull off Dredd’s nonchalance but he’s aided by Garland’s smart, fast script, a relentless flow of Rorschach Test blood sprays from bone-shattering brutality, eye-poppingly beautiful 3D visuals and peppy banter with Thirlby.

The body count is high, the humour grim and the violence stylishly graphic and reminiscent of Sin City (scenes involving a drug called Slo-Mo are visually intoxicating).

 

Collider fell under the pretty good category. They gave Dredd a rating of B-. It seems their biggest beef centered on not feeling the main characters were in any sort of real danger. They also say that the slo-mo is used sparingly, but to great effect. Collider states the movie shines when Dredd and Anderson go on the offensive. Collider’s comment on the director’s choices and movie as a whole seem to sum up their outlook:

I admire his willingness to mix up his set pieces, but some fall completely flat. His greatest moments come when he’s willing to balance character moments with the violence.

 

Bleeding Cool’s reaction was that they weren’t in love with Dredd, but it was a good film overall. It rises above the cheese of Stallone’s Dredd, but there are some lines that feel cheesy in places. At times the jokes “were Schwarzenegger-movie bad” but it seems the silly jokes only pop up a few times. Like others, Bleeding Cool didn’t think it had an amazing plot.

Don’t worry too much about the plot though, because the pleasures of Dredd aren’t those of a ripping good yarn. With the exception of several smart manoeuvres around Anderson’s mutant psychic powers, and where that get us, the film is more concerned with tone, a sense of place, and carving out a portrayal of Dredd himself.

 

After the first trailer, I was pretty excited about Dredd. These reports only increase that excitement. The overall verdict is that it is a good film and worth the cost of 3D tickets. It is an extremely hard R, so that may hurt it at the box office. Not reading the source materiel, I can’t say I would be upset if it wasn’t a true adaptation. It seems like this will be one to watch with a bunch of friends. Official reviews will make their way online later on, and if the majority opinion shifts we’ll let you know.

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