July 19, 2013
Really enjoyed this edit. I'm a casual fan of the character. I thought the recent film, while fun, had zero plot, not enough of the goofy 2000AD charm and it just felt really small. The Stallone film was generic (though no more generic than the new one) and suffered from an overabundance of comic relief and misjudged romance, but its production values and artistic scope eclipse the new film completely. As much as Judge Dredd was ruined by comic relief, Dredd was ruined by the need to be dark and gritty. I was hoping for a middle ground, and this film seems to be it.
Schnieder is still there and still has lame one-liners here and there, but he's more of an annoyance now than a film-ruiner. The film still has some goofy magic thanks to the ABC warrior, some scenery chomping by Armand Assante and the OTT sets, but it feels less like a kids' film and more like a light action movie. The editing is top notch and for the most part I couldn't remember what had been removed. The plot is still daft, but it still makes sense. The removal of the romance, while I wanted it gone, doesn't really work for me. Hershey's emotions in the final shots don't match. She goes from "That's it? You're just gonna leave without a goodbye?" to putting Dredd's helmet on and smiling like a giddy schoolgirl. The kiss is a much-needed bridge between those two things, I think, because otherwise she's just having some sort of nervous breakdown. Maybe you could remove the "You're just gonna leave without a goodbye?" stuff, so she's just happy? I'm not sure. It's a small point, though.
I can't remember what the original opening credits were, but I'm not sure the 2000AD covers work for me. I'd probably just prefer titles over black. The covers are a bit much for me. I don't like to be reminded that I'm watching an adaptation; I just like the film to try to suck me in on its own merits. Personal preference, I guess. A couple of the covers were a bit low res when they zoomed in, if I remember rightly, too. Also, while I appreciate the Danny Cannon backstory - it is really interesting - I'd rather not have to sit through it if I want to watch the film again. I would've preferred if that was just in a text file with the video.
Despite these negatives, I really enjoyed the edit. The film inevitably feels a little short now, but it's much more exciting and I felt I could enjoy the genuinely impressive film-making going on without being bored or annoyed by additional nonsense. This film rightly has a lot of detractors, but the special effects work is outstanding and it has a great visual style. Stallone, too, gives a terrific performance. (Well, maybe not terrific, but he's born for the part, I think.) The editor's done a good job saving this film. I'd even rate this fan edit over the Karl Urban Dredd for its scope, effects work and goofiness. It's not turned it into a classic or anything, but it has made it a lot more enjoyable.
Good call on the Manics as well! Love it!