Saturday, August 10, 2013

Opinions Are Like *****: Everyone’s Got One

Lana and I watched the new Judge Dredd movie the other night. We both thought it was one of the god-awfulest pieces of crap we’d seen in ages. Normally I’m more tolerant of movie dreck than she is but in this case I was the first to state my opinion on it. It was the slow-mo, you see. At least at first. Slow-mo is over used but I don’t mind it under certain circumstances. Lana and I also watched “The Warriors” and there’s a scene where a guy gets thrown through the wooden door of a bathroom stall in slow-mo. I thought it worked well. We both like that movie quite a bit, although are under no impression that it is high art.

The problem with the slow-mo in Judge Dredd was that it went on and on and on. It was tied to the use of this drug that slowed down time for people, and also apparently made everything sparkly. I think the drug was pretty clearly modeled on heroin. I suppose the connection between the drug effects and the slow-mo made sense, but what we’re treated to is people smoking “slow-mo” pipes and then everything gets really…well, slow. There’s one scene where the bad woman is taking a bath while smoking, and we get a couple of minutes of her sweeping her hand through the water in slow-mo while her hand makes sparkly splashes. Later we get to see a person fall from a 200 or so story building in slow-mo. I can hardly overstate how boring that was. Slow-mo for 5 seconds of a guy getting thrown through a door is far different from 2 minutes of someone taking a bath or falling.

There were plenty of other things about Judge Dredd I didn’t care for. First, it was basically a Dirty Harry movie, which, for me, made everything 100 percent predictable. Second, the special effects were generally “meh,” and the sparkly stuff reminded me personally of Twilight. Third, they kill Judge Dredd at one point. Only…not. A bad guy shoots Dredd through a wall with an armor piercing round. We clearly see blood start to pour from Dredd’s chest on the right side under his armor. We see him slide to the ground. There’s a hole the size of a man’s fist in the wall where the bullet came through. But it turns out that it’s just a flesh wound through the lower right side of his body and he slaps some first aid stuff on it and then gets up to wipe out more bad guys. Sorry, you just can’t do that.

I was reminded of trying to watch one of the early SF TV serials once. They were running the episodes back to back so I knew I could catch them all. One episode ended with the intrepid hero tied up in a rocket sled rushing toward a cliff. The sled went over the cliff and exploded, indicating to everyone that the hero had to be dead. Except! In the sequel episode, we saw the same exact scene with the rocket sled rushing toward the cliff, except this time a previously invisible door opened in the side and the hero leaped to safety just before the sled went over the cliff. This was the equivalent of that.

And yet! When Lana went on Internet Movie Data Base she saw the movie was rated at 7 of 10 stars. And people I know and like and whose opinions I listen to have told me they liked it. How can this possibly be? How can my observations and opinions on a movie be so diametrically opposed to those of other intelligent people?

Sometimes it’s kind of depressing to be so at odds with the world. 


Chris said...

You're just turning into a cranky old bastard is all, Charles.

Just kidding.

I saw Dredd in the theater and liked it. That could be the difference. It could also be that I saw it in the theater with my kid too, which we don't often do, so that made for a better experience. I know you liked the latest Star Trek movie -- I don't know that I disliked it as much as you did Dredd, but it certainly had tons of aspects to it that I found irritating to the point that I would never watch it again, or recommend anyone else see it.

I feel like The Matrix ruined slow motion. With all those weird shots and contortions their bodies would go through, it seemed every action film since has jumped on the bandwagon. I can hardly stand it anymore.

Now the slo-mo in all those old NFL Films productions? I could still watch them all day.


You forgot to mention the exciting music during the slo-mo shots. Dum dum dum dum at a fast tempo. Oooo. Scary clever!

It is like reading book reviews on Amazon, then buying the book and wondering if the five star reviewers were related to the author.

FIVE stars? Not even ONE would work!

Riot Kitty said...

Being at odds with the world's taste makes yours excellent! Seriously, why else would Twilight ever have been published, instead of used for toilet paper? It's not even worthy of that.

I'm tired of the slog of 80s remakes. What will they remake 20 years from now?

Slow-motion worked in the $6M man. That's about it.

G. B. Miller said...

Isn't this movie a remake/reboot?

If so, that could explain the crappy special effects, stilted directing and possible PG-13 rating.

It seems as of late, Hollywood is going through one its down cycles in which old good movies (i.e. Total Recall and The Three Musketeers) are getting rebooted to become new bad movies.

Charles Gramlich said...

Chris, Lana mentioned the Matrix as the precursor to Dredd. Maybe she was right. I enjoyed the slow mo in that one but it was the first time I'd seen something quite like that. Yeah, football slow-mo is cool. I am indeed a cranky old bastard. Did you read the Dredd comics as a kid? Like I watched Star Trek. Maybe that has an impact.

Things you'd never guess. oh yeah, the music was so ho-hum I hardly even noticed it.

Riot Kitty, you're right. Lana and I were talking about that. They're not really doing 'new' movies anymore. it's all remakes.

G. B., they just did a remake of Total Recall which seemed to have nothing to do with the original except the title. Weird.

Randy Johnson said...

Not seen this version. Did see the old Stallone movie and wasn't impressed by it at all. I have read a few of the British tie-in novels from the days of the comic book. Those were decent.

Ty said...

I've pretty much given up on Hollywood movies. There's far better writing on television nowadays, and until 5 years ago I could not have imagined ever saying that. Also, I tend to think now there is better acting to some extent on television, if for no other reason than the actors are given the screen time to actually act; most movies anymore, the actors are only allowed time to react ... to the latest explosion, building falling down, world imploding, etc. Oh, yeah, with three seconds of rushed dialogue thrown in every once in a while so that there's actually a plot.

Funny, now that I think about it. For those old enough to remember when porn films actually had some kind of minor, weak plot so as to avoid censorship, it feels like Hollywood has gone that way, only instead of sex we get explosions and end-of-the-world films.

sage said...

I haven't seen it but would probably agree with you.

Charles Gramlich said...

Randy, I remember not really liking the Stallone version but in my memory it's better than this one.

Ty, I think the comparison with the old style porn films is particularly apt. Hadn't thought of that but it seems kind of what Hollywood has gone in for.

Sage, you didn't miss much.

Snowbrush said...

"Sometimes it’s kind of depressing to be so at odds with the world."

I often go to IMDB before I watch a movie, and if the score is below 7, I sometimes don't watch it unless I do, and when I do, I sometimes think that all those hundreds or thousands of raters were too harsh. In this case, it's you who is harsh, maybe deservedly so. Who's to say when you're a member of a species that so often praises the Warhols and scorns the Van Goghs, at least when they're alive. In any case, all one can do is to trust his judgement because it's all any of us have to rely on, and we can't abrogate it, at least not with any integrity.

Charles Gramlich said...

Snowbrush, very true. All we have is our own judgments to rely on in the end.

BernardL said...

It should never be depressing, brother. It should be invigorating. :)

Charles Gramlich said...

Bernard, most of the time it is.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Charles, I like it when my verdict on a film is at odds with nearly everyone else who has seen it, as it often happens. I have seen JUDGE DREDD starring Sylvester Stallone and thought it was okay. I have enjoyed the comics, though. To me, Dredd looks like a sort of a cross between Robocop and Terminator.

Paul R. McNamee said...


I hit these weird points myself - even entrenched among friend & associates with same taste in genres. There'll be something that just doesn't appeal personally that everyone else is okay with.

I think my most recent is the Solomon Kane movie. I could not like it if I tried. Everyone agrees it has nothing to do with Robert E. Howard's original character. But most positive reviews I see give it props as its own entity. I can't even do that.

To each their own. :)

Sean Patrick Reardon said...

Haven't seen JD, prob won't either. Slow-Mo seems very old school. Nothing worse than the cop / hero diving, rolling, avoiding tons of bullets, while still firing off an apparent limitless clip of ammo at the bad guys....all in Slow-Mo. so cliche!

Charles Gramlich said...

Prashant, Lana found out that the original Judge Dredd script was turned into Robocop. I can certainly see the similarities.

Paul, I definitely do want to see the Solomon Kane movie, though I'm not expecting great things. People come into movies with so many expectations too and I'm sure that colors their viewpoint.

Sean, definitely a little goes a long way. One particular thing in this movie is that the bullet strikes are shown in slow mo. At least early on.

the walking man said...

Not having seen either movie mentioned I can't say. Matter of fact i really have no pinion on slow motion scenes in movies but that last line

"Sometimes it’s kind of depressing to be so at odds with the world."

Obviously that is not a position you have been in often enough. That portion of your commentary I thoroughly disagree with. My opinion in opposition may not always be correct and I will admit my judgment error but I think being at odds with the majority may make you stand away from the crowd but the air is easier to breathe. To thine own self be true.

jodi said...

Charles-I would never have made it through such a movie that seems to think that it has to 'think' for us. Mark is right. I love how you own your own style!

Charles Gramlich said...

Mark, I agree with you in principle and intellectually. Emotionally, sometimes there is in us something that wants to be part of the group. I think at least.

Jodi, thank you. Much appreciated for sure. :)

ivan said...

Seem to me the rating system has become corrupted by the "meh" and "slomo" set.

Travis Cody said...

I don't think you're necessarily at odds with the world. You just like what you like and don't like what you don't. You also don't always agree with even like minded people whose opinions we respect.

Nothing wrong with that. It's just being human and having your own taste.

I haven't seen the new Judge Dredd, so I can't speak to that. I did see the one from several years ago...I didn't like it so I passed on the reboot.

Greg said...

Haven't seen the movie, and based on your review I doubt I ever will, but I can definitely see your point about the over-use of slo-mo. There are some times when it's warranted, like in 300 I thought they used it particularly well combined with the sped-up moments right after it. But just because something works once definitely doesn't mean you should use it over and over and over again.

- Greg

pattinase (abbott) said...

I find that is often the case. IRON MAN 3 just do not understand how anyone could like this drek.

Charles Gramlich said...

Ivan, everything has.

Travis Cody, I probably would not have watched the new Dredd but Lana checked it out of the library thinking I might. And when there's a movie at home I probably will watch it at some point.

Greg, absolutely, I thought 300 did a wonderful job of how they used the slow mo.

Patti, I haven't seen Iron Man III. I liked one OK, two was meh. Decided to pass on 3

Richard Prosch said...

For me, Judge Dredd is a character impossibly tied to a specific time in comic book history. For that reason, I can't wrap my head around a modern adaptation. It's like when people talk about remaking "Blade Runner."