Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Dredd (2012)

I watched Dredd yesterday for another Kickstarter backer -- fellow comic artist Ainsley Y.! :D I heard good things about this movie, and was especially excited it was on my queue after seeing it listed at #1 on this list of feminist-friendly blockbusters, so thanks to Ainsley for the selection! :)

Read on for some spoiler-filled reaction comics!
 Psychic indeed!  She explained almost in tandem with me wondering aloud why she didn't have a helmet.

It was so cool, though.
Aren't sidekicks handy?  Sherlock's great, but we need John asking questions to understand what's he's thinking.  Dredd is great, but I can tell you right now I would have had ZERO interest in a movie about a hardened cop silently shooting up an apartment building.  With a rookie engaging him in conversation, we open up Dredd a bit and see into his philosophies as well as learn the rules of the world the story takes place in.
But then, "sidekick" doesn't do her justice; Anderson's more than a foil to Dredd.  She has a real purpose in the story.  She makes a difference in the outcome and experiences growth over the course of the film.  She has a special skill.  She has an origin story / motive.  She moves the plot forward in scenes where our male lead is absent.  She has a functional suit and she's good with her weapon.  She's a rookie but she's good at her job.  What a great treatment of a female character!
I felt that Kay's imagined sex scene was gratuitous and unnecessary, but I'm willing to accept it when there's so much else GOOD subversive stuff happening in the movie.  Dredd and Anderson both have wound-dressing scenes, and they're given a fairly similar treatment (although Dredd dresses himself and Anderson needs him to do it for her).  The scene where Anderson is taken hostage is overseen by a woman and it's also much less sexualized than in other films I've seen.  Let's not forget that while Anderson looks like a damsel in distress for about 10 minutes, she ends up freeing herself, and reversing the trope by coming to save Dredd AND freeing the clan's hostage techie (who had been tormented and controlled by a woman--another great, subtle reversal).
Oh, and OH MY GOD, no romance, not even a hinted romance, between her and anyone?  What?  It's like she has a life outside of that or something??
However--I liked the use of the "slo mo" drug to give a reason for lavished shots and slow motion.  The effect was actually really cool!

So, Dredd was pretty great.  It was one of those movies where I realized I was an hour in and only had one comic so far.  I was absorbed!  It was amazing to me that the movie pulled off the start-to-finish "nonstop action" plot so many movies try for and fail.  Somehow I didn't get bored by the action or forget what the stakes were; things kept changing and evolving in ways I could follow and stay engaged with.  There was a lot of tension in scenes where Dredd and Anderson showed off against sympathetic characters, like the kids with guns.  The movie attempted more antagonist complexity than most do, and I really liked the characterizations we got of the apartment tenants.  I appreciated the quiet moments woven in so well, like the pause on the outdoor skate park and talking with Cathy in her apartment.

THANKS, AINSLEY!  I want to watch this one again! :D


  1. Now I'd be curious to see your reactions to the intensely awful Stallone film.