Why is it the future always hideous? Why most of the films we encountered that set in the future always have this dystopian concept? The latest film called Dredd talks about it. It is a science fiction film directed by Pete Davis and written by Alex Garland. It is based on the 2000 AD comic strip and the eponymous character created by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra.
The film sets in a vast dystopian metropolis of Mega-City One that lies within a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Most people are addicted to a drug called "slow-mo" --- an addictive drug that slows the user's perception of time to 1%. In the film , Mega-City One is described as a vast, violent metropolis containing 800 million residents where 17,000 crimes are reported daily. It is like a modern day version of the age of decadence where illegal drugs are rampant, the gangs are everywhere, poverty is cruel, morality is powerless and the chaos is endless. Only the judges like Dredd (Karl Urban) can stop this because they possess the powers of a jury, judge and executioner. They bring order to the city. Judge Dredd along with Judge Anderson (Olivia thirlby) must stop Ma-ma's (Lena Heady) manufacturing and distributing of slow-mo to the people in Peach Trees and to the entire metropolis.
Mega structures are common in the city --- mega highways, mega wall and mega buildings. Mega buildings such as the Peach Trees have 75,000 people living in destitution. This is common condition in the city where poverty is synonymous to lifestyle. The people are living in the ruins of the old world. These mega structures symbolize advancement in a deteriorated condition. The film presents the future of the United States as an irradiated wasteland known as the Cursed Earth. Unlike other dystopian societies we've known (e.g. 1984 by George Orwell and The Brave New World by Adolf Huxley) where the government is in total control of its citizens. This film depicts the opposite. The law is futile and powerless.
Dredd is good in presenting the hallucigenic induced visual effect to the viewers. It's like your're taking the slow-mo drug. The setting, costumes and interior design give justice to the dystopian backdrop. The story is obviously has a sequel to make (if ever); it introduces the characters to understand their motives and actions. The film only lacks the adrenaline-rush feeling and heart pounding scenarios. It fails to excite the viewers by its story concept and stunts. It's like your watching a F1 race minus the fun. It's an action film that lacks the motivation to get you excited. The passion and creativity are present but the believability is absent. As Ma-ma said, "Negotiations over. The sentence is death."
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