April 4th, 2013
OR: last year I went to the movies and all I got was a sense of temporal displacement!
DREDD, dir. Peter Travis, 2012
This relatively low-budget attempt to graft a late seventies vision of the future onto the present day doesn’t quite come off seamlessly – the opening drone-cam riot shots would be much more convincing without the sci-fi data overlay – but the grim lack of distance between these three (equally imaginary?) time zones ensure that this bolted-together aesthetic is effective rather than ridiculous in the end. A lot of the credit here has to go to Karl Urban, who sets the tone of the movie by somehow managing to play the perma-frowning Dredd with a straight face:
Like Urban’s Joe Dredd, DREDD (the movie) treats exposition as little more than a series of snappy situation updates, necessary only because they point the way from one dynamic lesson in pain compliance to another. The result is a lean, efficient action films that you suspect the Judge himself would approve of. The rules are established in the opening scene and are ruthlessly enforced throughout: you get a quick report of the location and nature of the crime in progress (the irradiated ruins of a future America; whatever takes your fancy) then whooosh, before you can say “hot shot” the situation has been resolved with the maximum amount of acceptable violence.
Because hey, when you fuck up, he’s got to fuck you up, right?
There are obvious affinities here – with Robocop, say, or with your Carpenter movie of choice – but these reference points never threaten to overwhelm the movie. Geoff Barrow and Ben Salisbury’s almost/alternate score Drokk is far more heavily indebted to Carpenter’s work, for example, and while the soundtrack that plays out in its place is less immediately striking it’s also perhaps better suited to DREDD’s relentless utilitarian drive. The aesthetics of past, present and future might me all jumbled up here, but there’s no time for reverence in this movie – everything is judged by how well it performs in its specific moment in the field.
Still, I’d be remiss in my duties as a reviewer if I didn’t point out that there are certain plot similarities to Batman Incorporated vol 2, #6, and while I don’t know how Peter Travis and Alex Garland were able to travel through in time in order to rip that script off, I’m glad that they did all the same - this is a joke about the seemingly manditory you comparisons with The Raid, you can tell it’s a good gag because I feel the need to flag it up like this. Since we’re all pals here I’ll assume that we can all agree that the similarities between DREDD and The Raid are worth talking about – in the same way that its resonances with this Moebius strip are worth talking about – but that simply saying “The Raid” is in no way the end of the conversation. There are many different ingredients in DREDD, and the end result might have familial similarities with various other movies, but it’s overwhelming flavour is still undeniably that of “Judge Dredd”.
As my good pal (the devil)Andre Whickey has pointed out, there are several different types of Judge Dredd story, and this is a great example of one of them - Judge Dredd as straight action story. While this means that DREDD can’t touch 2012′s Day of Chaos story (for example) for either political complexity or gonzo fanboy thrillpower, it does mean that this is Judge Dredd at its most insidious, a compelling story of good guys vs. bad guys that doubles as a cheap, spooky reminder of the fact that authoritarianism can always be made to look both necessary and cool using the right tools:
September 10th, 2012
“TELL THEM ABOUT THE TWINKIE…”
“WHAT ABOUT THE TWINKIE?”
YO HO HO and a bottle of meths – it’s time for SILENCE!, the rough podcast, its hour come round at last, that slouches towards Bethlehem! Yaaay! I knew that English Degree would come in useful…
The Beast and Gary Lactus bring you all the usual half-baked treats straight from the dutch oven…treats such as: The SILENCE! News (featuring insight!), and Lactus pathetically pleads with Dear Listener to look at his stupid film. Then there’s full and hearty discussions of such 4-colour wonders like Fraction and A-Ha’s Hawkeye no.2, Action no.0, Dial H no.0, Animal Man no.0, Dan the Unharmable, Fashion Beast (with a brief detour into McLaren’s Ghosts of Oxford Street and Grant Morrison’s Sick Buildings), Sweet Tooth, and Amazing Spiderman. Grand!
The SILENT Question comes from robotic miseryguts The Vision, and the answer involves Lockjaw, Aquaman and tangentially the absolutely wonderful Batman: Brave & The Bold cartoon.
Then Lactus takes us to the movies (and tries to fondle us in the back seat) and reviews DREDD! 3D!
Finally The Beast directs us to the great blog Suggested For Mature Readers, and recalls Miracleman: The Golden Age, Gaiman’s finest hour. Oh and tells you to pick up the Prophet and Glory trades, quick smart!
Uptown, top ranking!
June 24th, 2012
I’LL SHOW YOU THE LIFE OF THE MIND! I’LL SHOW YOU THE LIFE OF THE MIND!
Ha ha! Hello SILENCERS! Under the brand spanking new SILENCE! banner from celebrity orc-peddlar James Stokoe, you will find the latest hot shot comics rot from notorious 4-colour sex pests The Beast Must Die and Gary Lactus. Quake, then, frail ones at SILENCE! no.19…special early morning edition.
A slightly frazzled and sleepy pair take on the release of the recent Dredd trailer for SILENCE! news, then the coffee starts kicking in and they barrel into some full-blooded discussion of comics, including 2009 the third volume of Alan Moore and Kev O’Neill’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century series. Also spoken of: Saga no. 4, Hellblazer (Biz + werewolves), Secret history of DB Cooper no. 4, Journey Into Mystery, AVX something or other, and Daredevil. The Beast brings back ‘You Should’ve Known Better’ with his take on Tony Daniels’ Detective Comics and then things peeter out as an over-excited Lactus realises he got up way too early.
It’s an hour and ten minutes of comics shpoonk, and it comes in a handy ear-pill sized format. So jump up, jump up and get down with the comics podcast that the world believes might change everything for everyone….SILENCE!
September 20th, 2011
I come to you, a lapsed Squaxx.
I stopped reading the Galaxy’s Greatest in any sort of regularity a long time ago. More than 15 years ago I reckon. That wasn’t always the way though. For a long time 2000AD was the most important comic in my life. I don’t really need to list the reasons – you’ve heard it all before no doubt. English comics fans proudly informing their bored US counterparts that they don’t know shit son, cos they weren’t there. But fucking hell man sometimes it was hard not to gloat – Millligan & Ewins on on the scorching psychedlic war strip Bad Company; Morrison & Yeowell on Zenith; Mills & O’Neill on the utterly original and frankly just plain crazy Nemesis; Mills & Bisley on the heavy metal nihilism of ABC Warriors; the incredible John Wagner (whose contribution alone to absolute fucking rock solid thrill power for the last 35 years means that, really, we should have a National holiday celebrating the man…); Brendan McCarthy; Mike Fucking McMahon; Bolland, Gibbons; Cam Kennedy’s incredible shattered war torn planetscapes that still absolutely kill it; Brendan McCarthy again; Halo Jones (Alan Moore’s best work, and it is so fuck off and it’s a proper tragedy but also kind of beautiful that it’ll never be finished); John Hicklenton (RIP); DR & Quinch; Big Dave;Dredd’s boots….JOHN MOTHERFUCKING SMITH….
Fuck, I did it anyway. Sorry…