Alex Lynch Reviews: DREDD Blu-Ray (Film And Special Features)
This past fall, Dredd released to a bad box office, yet the film received a large number of positive reviews for stellar performances and visuals. Did Karl Urban and Olivia Thirlby's crime fighting motion picture deserve the praise? Check out my take after the jump...
Dredd 3D released this September to an abysmal box office total, however the film was constantly praised for it’s great visuals and amazing performances from Karl Urban (Star Trek) and Olivia Thirlby. At last, the film will release next Tuesday (Jan. 8th 2013) on Blu-Ray and DVD, and Lionsgate gave us the chance to check it out early on Blu-Ray.
In Dredd, the future of America is an “irradiated wasteland” plagued by crime, with “Judges” spread throughout Mega City One to help keep order throughout. When a new drug called “Slo-Mo” is increasingly growing in popularity, Judge Dredd (Urban) and Anderson (Thirlby) threaten to cease production and bring the criminals to justice. The villainous Ma-Ma puts a bounty on the two judges to save her drug empire. Alex Garland creates a wonderful screenplay full of great dialogue, containing great political satire throughout. The whole movie holds an incredible pace that definitely keeps your attention during the length of the movie.
Despite the film not diving deep into character development, Judge Dredd and Anderson deliver two great unique perspectives for the viewer on the situation throughout the movie. The footage showcased throughout the trailers make Dredd seem like a heartless killing machine with fancy one-liners, yet he is so much more than that. Dredd, unlike Anderson, feels and acts like a modern police officer with extended privileges. He has the ability to care, and his judgment follows a line of rights established by Mega City One central. Anderson, on the other hand, offers a perspective of needed sympathy and perseverance. She is a mutant, with the ability to read and enter people’s mind. This eventually leads to one of the most unforgettable scenes with Wood Harris, who also adds to the fine list of Dredd’s superb actors. Lena Headey leads the charge against the judges in the frightening villain of“Ma-Ma”, who is definitely convincing in the role. Even though Ma-Ma didn’t face Dredd in a battle of fists, their final confrontation is satisfying and worth the build-up.
Despite being created on an incredibly low-budget for a film of its type, Dredd makes the most out it’s limitations with incredibly beautiful practical effects, using CGI only as the frosting on the cake. Most of the “Slo-Mo” segments were gorgeous as they were filmed with a unique camera that was created for Dredd’s production, with the ability to shoot in thousands of frames per second. Alex Garland, Pete Travis and cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle took incredibly creative initiatives, not wasting any potential during the development of the film. Dredd is a visual accomplishment with elegant effects to create a wonderful, familiar futuristic world.
Dredd is one of the best “hidden gems” in comic book movie history, satisfying on a huge variety of levels. Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby and Lena Headey are all in top-form alongside a wonderful, but small, supporting cast. Dredd is destined to become a cult classic once it hits home video.
4 out of 5 Stars.
The Dredd Blu-Ray comes packed with a variety of miniature documentaries exploring the creation of the movie in different aspects, as well as the prequel motion comic that focuses on Lena Headey’s “Ma-Ma”. It’s somewhat confusing as to why Dredd doesn’t contain the basics such as commentary, deleted scenes or even a blooper reel of some sort. The highlights of the disc were easily the “Mega City Masters: 35 Years of Judge Dredd” and “Day of Chaos: The Visual Effects Of Dredd 3D” featurettes, spanning about 15 minutes long each. Each of the featurettes dive deep into the film’s pre-production, how they studied the character of Dredd with it’s creators making concept art for the film with Alex Garland, and creating the visual effects as well as the “Slo-Mo” segments of the film packed with a great amount of behind-the-scenes footage. Most of the other documentaries are incredibly short, with some reusing footage from the aforementioned longer ones.
Lack of basic and fun special features such as commentary and deleted scenes somewhat hold back the Dredd Blu-Ray, but the purchase is worth it alone simply for the incredible film that definitely shouldn’t be missed.
3 out of 5 Stars.
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