Dredd-ed

On Friday last (September 28) I attended “Judgement Day” at Dundee’s Contemporary Arts Centre (DCA). The evening consisted of a screening of the new Dredd 3D movie combined with a book/comic signing and Q&A by key 2000AD creative talent.

It’s been many, maaany years since I attended a comic signing but the combination of talent (including two of my favourite 2000AD artists of all-time) and movie it seemed like a good deal! The event was organised jointly between DCA and Dundee University which now runs (I think the World’s only) comics MA programme! This is academic stuff!

So, I have a few images and Audioboos to share with you – the PA wasn’t that loud so you’d probably do well to listen with headphones but there are some gems, particularly from artist Cam Kennedy regarding Dredd’s movie chin.

The 3D
So, in watching the movie I finally popped my ‘3D feature’ cherry. I’ve actively avoided 3D movies because, having experienced several 3D shorts at theme parks I’ve never enjoyed the experience of waring the glasses and, as a migraine sufferer, feared the additional strain on the eyes may bring on a headache. So, as I suspected, the tedium of waring glasses is amplified when watching a feature… and I did get a headache.

I’d heard about the diminished ‘light’ in the 3D process but was staggered how noticeable it was. The 3D was mostly used to good effect… but I could have lived without it, for the reason of diminished light alone. I wish I had the option to see a 2D version.

The Film
The film itself, I think, was summed up best by writer Al Ewing. It’s a facet of Dredd. Like Batman, Dredd has been interpreted in many different ways in the comics; lighter, comedic tones, darker material, gritty realism and far flung fantasy. To cover those in one movie would produce a very inconsistent movie. What this movie had was a comic book visual style presented through the filter of realism. I was really impressed with some of the directors choices in framing shots through gaps in walls, or between pillars, ted.. giving a sense of the comic book frames of the comics… at least I’m assuming that was his choice.

What really impressed was the characterisation and dialogue of Dredd and Judge Anderson. I’m a big fan of Alex Garland. I read The Beach years ago and was really dissapointed by it’s movie counterpart but his side-step into the scriptwriting has produced at least a couple of my personal favourites – Sunshine, Never Let Me Go and to some degree 28 Days Later – But with Dredd he has succeeded in making the world of Mega City One authentic (to this facet) of the comic’s depiction. Apart from anything else the humour (dry as ‘Cursed Earth’) was pitch perfect.

What works in the pages of a comic rarely translates to cinema without concessions and compromise – so what you have here, to one degree or another, is a compromise, but one that made me very happy. In fact, it’s a shame that more of that humour wasn’t evident in the trailer, which hadn’t filled me with confidence. For once I found myself leaving a theatre believing the film to be ‘better’ than what the trailer had promised.

So, 4 out of 5 for me – if you’re a fan of the comic then I recommend you give it a go!

The Goodies
Having scoured the loft for classic pages to take with me I managed to find the first 2000AD that I’d purchased with my own pennies and, coincidentally, it had a Cam Kennedy Dredd centre spread! I also took along a classic (definitive in my mind!) ‘Chopper’ cover by Colin MacNeil. Finally I found a copy of a Judge Dredd Megazine which contained the first episode of ‘America II’ (painted by MacNeil) and (in the same mag) an episode of ‘Kenny Who’, co-created by Cam Kennedy himself. (If you go and see the film then look out for the in-references to Kenny Who, Chopper, Ezquerra, MacNeil, Wagner, etc…)

Thanks then go to Dundee Uni and the DCA for a cracking Dredd evening and to Al Ewing, Cam Kennedy and Colin MacNeil for coming along. Also, get well soon Dredd Co-creator Alan Grant who was billed to attend but couldn’t due to illness.

For Audio from the evening see the previous 4 posts…

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