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September 28th, 2012

Movie Review - Dredd


Starring: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Heady, Rakie Ayola, Warrick Grier, Wood Harris, Domhnall Gleeson, and more.

Directed by: Pete Travis Screenplay by: Alex Garland Based on the Comic Strip developed by: John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra Cinematography by: Anthony Dod Mantle Original Music by: Paul Leonard-Morgan

Premise: The world is a nuclear wasteland, yet humanity survives in the confines of Mega City-One. Due to overcrowding and lack of resources, the legal system has become rigid and intolerant of deviation of the law. Dredd is a 'Judge', one of the lawmen enforcing the rules where all is chaos. When he's asked to take a rookie with him for evaluation as a possible Judge candidate, no one expected the triple murder they are sent to investigate to be anything but routine. Unfortunately, they arrest the one man clan leader Ma-ma can't afford for them to take in and interrogate. So she sets a plan in motion to contain the situation. A plan which  means death to Dredd and the rookie. (Rated R)


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Karl Urban was fantastic as Judge Dredd. I loved all the feelings and emotions he was able to get across merely by his voice, his stance, and the set of his mouth. Olivia Thirlby did a great job as the psychic and evaluated rookie Anderson. Lena Heady is definitely making a name for herself as a bad woman. Ruthlessness and self interest poured from her in waves.

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: I truly have to commend the special effects team for the Mega-City One setup. When the story begins and they are doing an overview of multi state spanning city everything looked like any other city in the 20th century until you notice the highways are bigger, with more decks and roads, and then the huge towering structure additions. What made this sequence so amazing was that unlike most movies where these mostrous buildings would have seemed out of place, or super futuristic, they actually blended in with their surroundings and looked real. 

The effects for the Slow-Mo drug were awesome. The beauty experienced by the users was such a total contrast to the dreary, ugly lives around them, it was easy to see why it was in such high demand. The way several scenes were woven in from the point of view of those experiencing the time slowing effects were fantastic.  

3) Plot/Story - Thumbs Up: I'd had some minor exposure to the "Judge Dredd" comic series years ago, so I knew the few details that must be had for this film rendition to fit with the comic's established patterns - and they were there! The iconic golden symbol for the Judges, the telltale uniform/armor and helmet, and the biggest requirement, which they met, being the fact that the audience would never see Dredd without his helmet on. 

The future in which all the comics take place is very dark and the film definitely shows it. (The R rating needs to be taken very seriously with regards to younger viewers due to the dark nature of the world and the ample servings of graphic violence.)

The plot takes a couple of twists and turns but overall is straightforward and pretty solid. There's also a hint towards the end (when Anderson sees something on the floor) that shows Dredd might have had a little unexpected help to make his theory with Ma-ma actually work. 

4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: Some of the routines had CGI help, but there were still plenty of physical action done by the experts. The film has a ton of gun play as well as explosions and fights. The body count is high.

5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: Like I mentioned in the special effects section, the city scape was excellently done and was also introduced quite nicely with the sweeping views generated for the audience. Even more impressive were the shots of the Peach Trees building with its huge central shaft area and hundreds of floors (the building holds 75,000 people - it's humongous!). This was made even more impressive when the shielding protocols were activated. 

Conclusion: "Dredd" was a very satisfying film full of action and gun play. Parents, however, should take the R rating seriously as the violence is graphic and dark subjects are explored. I think fans of the comics will be very pleased with this rendition. 

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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