Judge Dredd movie update

Judge Dredd

Release Date: 2012/9/21
Director: Peter Travis
Screenwriter: Alex Garland
Starring: Karl Urban (Star Trek 2009), Lena Headey (Game of Thrones) and Olivia Thirlby (The Darkest Hour)
Production company: Danny Boyle’s DNA

Based on the popular 2000 AD comic book character (printed in the UK). Created by John Wagner, Carlos Ezquerra and Pat Mills, Dredd is a cult favorite with comic fans in the US. The comic book series was serialized in weekly or monthly installments, and attracted the of Garth Ennis (Preacher), Mark Millar (Wanted), Grant Morrison (Invisibles, Batman RIP). Set in a dystopian future where crime-plagued “mega cities” are run by heavily armored Judges riding computerized Lawmaster cycles, also heavily armed. The strip was brutally violent with horror elements layered in, allowing it to appeal to readers on several levels.

One key element regarding the character was that Dredd’s face was never completely shown. As he was created to represent ‘law,’ it was decided that he would remain faceless. This, along with several other key ideas, failed to make it into the 1995 feature film starring Sylvester Stallone. It’s a shame because the production values are stunning even today.

In sharp contrast to the excessive and bloated disaster that was the Stallone Dredd, the new movie has a leaner budget and is focused on the comic strip itself rather than catering to an actor’s ego. With designs by Jock (The Losers) and a script by Alex Garland (28 Days Later, Sunshine), the film looks far more polished. So far, it looks astounding and has continued to generate positive word of mouth, especially from John Wagner:

I have read the script (by Alex Garland) and seen Jock’s visuals. While I can’t go into detail about the content I can say that it’s high-octane, edge of the seat stuff, and gives a far truer representation of Dredd than the first movie. I hated that plot. It was Dredd pressed through the Hollywood cliché mill, a dynastic power struggle that had little connection with the character we know from the comic.

Filmed in South Africa, actor Karl Urban was positive about the script: “It’s about the day in the life of Dredd as he puts his rookie, Anderson, through the paces to see if she is worthy or not of becoming a Judge.” The movie will use several short stories from the long line of comic strips for inspiration.

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Judge Dredd opens September 2012 after the mayhem of the Amazing Spider-Man, Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers and similar films have had their day on the screen.

Judge Dredd: Megacity Masters 01

Judge Dredd: Case Files 01


X-Men: Second Class

Having just re-watched X-Men: First Class on Blu-ray, I was impressed all over again. The movie grossed $353 million worldwide, prompting the inevitable talk of a sequel, yet it has been some time since I heard any news. A quick search has revealed that movement is slow… but inevitable.

Simon Kinberg, the screenwriter behind Sherlock Holmes and X-Men: The Last Stand (yes, that one), has already been tapped to worked on the script.

Director Matthew Vaughn was seen to be rather stressed and over-wrought prior to the release of X-Men: First Class, as news broke about hurried re-mounts and leaked production stills. January Jones was very open regarding the frazzled and hectic nature of the filming leading many to worry over the end result. This time around, Vaughn seems quite calm and composed, perhaps accepting the success of the film and security in having his cast locked in for a 3 picture deal.

Many people, Fassbender and McAvoy included, give a lot of the credit for the first film’s success to Vaughn and his frequent collaborator, screenwriter Jane Goldman. Vaughn’s involvement most likely won’t be decided until Simon Kinberg, the man Fox hired to write the sequel, delivers a script, and Goldman’s almost entirely depends on Vaughn, according to the screenwriter herself.

Goldman spoke with MTV News while promoting “The Woman in Black,” and she said she understands the strong push for a sequel.

“James and Michael brought so much to them that I think it’s entirely natural to be talking about where those characters would go next,” she said. “It was inherent in their stories and their arcs. There are so many interesting places to go.”

If Goldman does eventually work on the picture, it will most likely be a rewrite of Kinberg’s script, but that all depends on what Vaughn decides to do. “In terms of what’s going on with that, again from my point of view, it’s down to what Matthew [Vaughn] decides to do,” she said. “If he decides he wants to direct the next one and if he wants me on board, I’m 100 percent there.” (via MTV)

Of all the supporting cast members who are expected to return, I have to confess that Jason Flemyng as Azazel has me the most excited, but of course McAvoy and Fassbender are the most important. Blazing a trail toward the 2000 X-Men film, there is a lot of ground to cover, but only if it is traveled wisely. A large part of the success that First Class enjoyed was due to the fact that it developed the ideas of the previous X-Men movies so well. It’s a compelling story. So the sequel needs to be based on a script of equal or greater strength.

Promoting Ridley Scott’s Prometheus and Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire, young Magneto Michael Fassbender spoke somewhat gravely about being locked in for two more films as the red-clad mutant: “I have no choice. They contracted me for two options. I gotta get down with it,” he joked. “We’re at the ground level, but yeah I think there’s going to be another one.” (via Comingsoon)

James McAvoy was somewhat more positive and excited about the potential for more development for Professor X:

“…I know that with Charles, you either have to write him out of the movie or give him an interesting story. He can’t just become the guy that we saw in the first three movies. He just had two major things happen to him. He’s lost his best friend, essentially, and he’s just been paralyzed from the waist down. Which is just a huge, huge blow to his considerable ego. So he’s got to deal with that.

And I don’t think we can just brush over that and go,’yeah I’m in a wheelchair now,’ because Professor X is in a wheelchair. You’ve got to deal with that, I don’t care if he’s a superhero and has brain powers or not, he’s just had a huge part of his physical life taken away from him, by someone he cares about more than anyone else. So he’s got to deal with that. That’s part of the interesting ideas that we’re talking about with Matthew [Vaughn], that Matthew’s very excited about which I think is fantastic, but I can’t really get into them with you because they may (or may not) form the spine of the story.” (via Screenrant)

Meet the new DC

As part of the re-branding of DC Comics/DC Entertainment, a new logo was developed. DC Entertainment has applied to trademark the new logo and it has set the internet afire with cries of woe and some surprising support as well. An uninspired and stark image, it lacks both character and movement, something that the most recent logo that appeared not only on the covers of monthly books and graphic novels but also at the beginning of animated films, video games, etc. The DC Comics ‘swoop logo’ was so prevalent in film and the recent relaunch of the monthly comics that I cannot imagine why the company is thinking of introducing yet another change now.

If your company is growing or needs to head in a new direction, changing your brand — most noticeably by changing your logo design — is a critical step in changing the conversation about who you are and what you are doing. It makes everyone take a new look and allows you to, at least initially, set the direction of that conversation. It’s important to remember, though, that your logo is not your brand. DC has been going through quite a lot of change in the last several years, not only relaunching its entire line of comics, but also beginning its transformation from a “comic book” company into a media “entertainment” company. This logo change is the next step in that evolution.

There has already been some criticism of the logo and its sticker peel look, but the first thing I noticed was what a departure it is from the almost straight evolutionary path the DC logo has taken over the past 70 years.

Click through for the thoughts of professional designer Jason Cranford Teague over at Wired.com

I can ‘t shake the notion that there are so many opportunities being missed by DC as their films, video games, toys and comics fail to mesh in presenting a cohesive image. Also, I can’t think of a time when their comics have been so aggressively inappropriate for all ages and feature far more violence than usual. Keep in mind that this is the company that owns Superman and Batman, two characters that are featured on not just toys but clothing, games and even birthday-related products yet their actual books are not only $4 a pop but center on mass murders and villains getting their faces cut off. They are completely unapproachable except by a select demographic.

In comparison, look at Justice League of America #200 which has little violence (Black Canary gets a head wound at one point and Martian Manhunter is very spooky, but that’s about as intense as it gets), has an exciting story and appeals to just about anyone. It remains one of my favorite comics.

I know I’m showing my age here, but why not aspire to recreate that kind of book rather than print hyper-violent comics that a kid would get grounded for buying? All ages doesn’t mean that it has to be childish or innocent, but does almost every comic need to display a grisly murder scene?

I don’t want to come off as a prude and I am buying and enjoying much of what DC is publishing now, but it strikes me as odd that it is not just targeted at an older audience, but it’s entirely inappropriate for kids.