Film Review: Dredd 3D

The 2012 reawakening of the British comic class Judge Dredd is an interesting thing to critic. It should be pointed out to start with that it is a far cry from the mid nineties Stallone version. Stallone brought Dredd to the screen with a big helping of Hollywood cheese dumped on the side. This time around Dredd is served up more as the classic sausage and mash. I better explain.

Dredd is not a classic. It’s not going to shouted about from the roof tops as one of the finest movies ever made. But, it knows this, it knows exactly what it is. It is safe. Just like the aforementioned sausage and mash, you know exactly what you’re going to get, fine dining no, earth shattering never, but a decent, hearty, meal that will leave you more than satisfied.

To describe it as my best mate from school would have done. Dredd is 100% popcorn fodder. And I don’t care.

There are reviews out there complaining that the plot is too monotonous, that the film just plods along from one killing to another, never stretching your imagination or asking you any deep and meaningful questions on the role of justice and redemption in society. Personally, I think they’ve completely missed the point. It’s not meant to.

I loved Dredd because it has this simplistic charm to it. It feels like a mid nineties computer game, with simple 2D graphics where you just walk along completing task after task never really realising that you’re not actually doing anything different from level to level. It’s just right, it’s just enjoyable, and for some simple, unexplainable reason it just works.

Sonic on the SEGA Megadrive, with its 2D graphics, repetitive collect the rings action and constant spin into the end of level bad guy game play will forever beat any modern day version with its action camera style 3D graphics, plethora of new characters and protracted levels, sub levels and side levels. Modern doesn’t always mean better.

And talking of modern, let’s talk about 3D. As with a large amount of 3D films, it looks visually stunning in the right environment but adds absolutely nothing to the overall experience of the film. Read any of my reviews on 3D films and once again, I am going to sound like a broken record. The 3D works fine when it’s used on a CGI world, so it’s use on the city, buildings, the opening and closing titles, and the visual effects of the SloMo drug and it’s wonderful. Use it to show depth between human characters, especially those sitting in a car, and suddenly it falls apart and depth perception and the horrendous “magic eye” effect before beyond noticeable and annoying.

I don’t think you’ll honestly lose anything from the film if you watch it in 2D, people raved that the use of 3D to visually enhance and represent the effects of the SloMo drug is one of the best things in the film. However, in my view, while yes the 3D works to that effect, it’s just an effect. And as the Matrix trilogy showed that you don’t need fancy gimmicks or effects to create something stunning.

People turn their noses up at Dredd because it was a cinematic flop; but it’s gained a cult following and deserves it. I like it, I wish there was a sequel, but I doubt it’ll ever happen because of its cinematic reception. Which is a crying shame, because when you get a night that calls for nothing but popcorn fodder, Dredd is perfect. Dredd is the law.

7 out of 10 stars (7 / 10)

Posted on by 5WC in Film First Edition

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