My initial thoughts is that I like the overall style (however derivative) but that a lot of what made Judge Dredd unique is missing. It feels like director Pete Travis wanted to go the Chris Nolan/Batman route and make it into a grittier more "realistic" take on the original comic, problem is that the original comic is way over the top silly most of the time! And I mean this in a good way! The whole eighties sci-fi aesthetic is gone, which is to be expected, but it hasn't been replaced by oughties sci-fi aesthetics it has simply been replaced with a by-the-numbers near future trash dystopia. There isn't necessarily anything wrong with that per se, but if Karl Urban would've worn a different helmet you wouldn't bee able to tell it was a Judge Dredd movie.
While the 1995 movie with Stallone as Dredd was horrible in all kinds of ways it did manage to transfer the comic book Mega City 1 onto the silver screen fairly well. While it embraced the camp of the comic a little bit too much it seems to me that the new movie doesn't embrace it enough. Could you imagine the Dredd of this trailer battling the infamous ape gang featuring Fast Eek and Joe Bananas? Or discontent fatties with bellywheels?! Nope, I don't think either exists here. Perhaps there will be yet another version in another 13 years that manage to find the right balance.
Now, I shouldn't be too negative about it since I actually like a lot of what we're seeing here. I'm a fan of near future dystopian settings so in that way I shouldn't complain. I'm hoping to see a cool sci-fi action movie featuring Judge Dredd but not really featuring the true craziness of Mega City 1. It's like a mirror image of how I view John Milius' Conan - as a movie set in Hyboria but not featuring Conan - and I love that film! Hopefully Dredd will manage something similar and actually bring its own piece of flavour to the ginormous cake that is Judge Dredd!
Finally I can't end this post without talking about how similar the movie looks to Indonesian produced (but Welsh directed!) action move The Raid - Redemption. The plot is pretty much identical only we get two judges instead of 20 SWAT troopers (seems like an even trade, right?). To save you some time, here's the trailer for that movie:
I read somewhere that Dredd actually began production before The Raid, but still... striking similarities, eh? Check it out by the way, it's pretty cool!
In other Dredd related news a package arrived the other day containting an Ape gang for me and a Sky Surfer gang for Anders. Thanks to @SnowyHoobinoo over at ThisWayLeads (excellent blog, check it out!) for letting me know of the IGUK sale! We need to put these guys together so we can start bashing it out properly. I haven't looked at the surfers yet but I really like the ape minis. Very nice sculpts! As soon as I'm done with my Yu Jing doctor and engineer (and their servant bots) I think I'll try painting a chimp. Ha!