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Friday, November 12, 2010

Comic Cuts - 12 November 2010

According to Variety, shooting begins on the new Judge Dredd movie today! The DNA Films production, simply called Dredd, has a $45 million budget and has just been signed up by Lionsgate for U.S. distribution in a deal with worldwide sales and financing company IM Global. The Variety report notes that "IM Global saw brisk pre-sales of Dredd at the Toronto Film Fest in September with more than $30 million in foreign commitments, including a hefty $7 million deal for the futuristic pic with Blighty distrib Entertainment. Pic, financed by IM Global and parent company Reliance Big Entertainment sold to Universum for Germany; Aurum for Spain; Icon for Australia; Alliance for Canada and CP Media for Russia, eOne for Benelux, IDC for Latin America and Svensk for Scandinavia."

The film will star Karl Urban and Olivia Thirlby and is directed by Pete Travis from a script by Alex Garland. Garland is the author of novels The Beach and The Tesseract and also screenwriter of 28 Days Later and Sunshine, both of which I liked. Travis has a background in directing TV shows and has recently directed two movies, Vantage Point and Endgame, neither of which I've seen. Thirlby (playing Psi-Judge Anderson) is a 24-year-old New York actress, who began acting professionally in 2003 and has trained extensively in classical Shakespearean acting in New York and at RADA... which sounds promising as I've never seen anything she has appeared in. Karl Urban was in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Bourne Supremacy and was channeling DeForest Kelley as Bones in the Star Trek reboot. I saw his latest film earlier this week, the excellent action comedy Red (loosely based on a comic by Warren Ellis) and I can imagine he'll make an excellent Judge Dredd.

Which all sound great until you get to the bad news: the film will be released in 3D. Damn. I haven't heard a dicky bird about it being shot in 3D, so the 3D will be done in post-production and you'll end up with 3D effects probably no better than those of Clash of the Titans (Rotten Tomatoes rating: 28%). Please, drop this idiotic gimmick. I've refused to see any 3D films after watching Coraline, which left me with a splitting headache and eyestrain. Didn't see Avatar, didn't see Toy Story 3 or any of the other movies that have come out in 3D.

Why am I so anti-3D? Because I wear glasses to correct eyesight that has been defective since I was a baby. So I have a choice: wear the 3D glasses only, which means I'm pretty much blind in one eye making stereoscopic vision impossible, or try to wear the 3D glasses over my prescription glasses.

Guess what... I'd rather not see the movie. Looking around the internet I found one site that says, "According to the Vision Council of America, approximately 75% of adults use some sort of vision correction. About 64% of them wear eyeglasses, and about 11% wear contact lenses, either exclusively, or with glasses. Over half of all women and about 42% of men wear glasses." I don't know how accurate these figures are (and the Vision Council appear to be a body set up by manufacturers and suppliers of eyeglasses) but I think most people would agree that, in our ageing population, there are a lot of people wearing glasses. And we wear them for a reason, not because it's a lifestyle choice.

Will Dredd be a better film for being 3D? No, of course not. That's down to the script, the direction and the acting. Will it be a worse film for being 3D? Probably. Decisions will be made to specifically tailor the film for 3D whether it's important to the storyline or not and when storytelling takes second place to gimmickry that's never good for the viewer. Watching Coraline in 3D was a pretty awful experience not just for the discomfort of the glasses: I also found the 3D distracting. Film makers have spent over 100 years creating some beautiful, imaginative worlds and for the length of a film I'm more than happy to lose myself in that world. What I do not want is to have that illusion shattered every few minutes by some cheesy 3D effect.

Er... what was I saying? Oh, yes, the Dredd movie starts shooting in Cape Town today and John Wagner likes the script. He's quoted in the press release for the movie as saying, "Alex Garland's script is faithful to the original concept that made Judge Dredd a favourite bad-ass hero. It's a high-octane slay ride through the dark underbelly of the vast future city. A fan pleaser."

Not much to report on the work front as I've spent a good deal of time attacking Box Mountain as  I was starting to forget what colour the carpet was. A quick precis for newcomers: we moved at the end of July but we had a guest move in only days later who ended up staying for three months. He's now moved out and the task of unpacking can actually start.

The first pic above was taken in Augusts, so you can see the scale of the problem that Box Mountain presents. Over the past couple of weeks I've been chipping away at it and pictures two and three were each taken on Thursday night one week apart. It's slow progress because it can't all just be stashed away... I need to know precisely what's in all of the boxes. Oh, and I need to make a living at the same time.

Talking of which, the proofing on the Wells Fargo and Pony Express and Thriller Libraries books is finished. I sent a few further (minor) corrections over to Stuart on Monday and we called it a day by Wednesday. The proofs for Wulf the Briton were due to arrive in the UK on Wednesday and should by now be in the hands of the book's editor Peter Richardson. Once they're checked we should be able to give to printers the green light and then it's just a case of waiting for the printed copies to arrive. I suspect the official release date will be in January.

Before that, there will be an exhibition of artwork co-hosted by Geoff West of the Illustration Art Gallery and Laurence Heyworth of Look and Learn Ltd. in December, to be held in central London at 8 Duke Street, St. James, SW1Y 6BN between Tuesday the 14th and Sunday the 19th. There will be some amazing artwork on display (and for sale). There's a launch party from 5pm to 9pm on the Tuesday about which I'll post details as soon as I have them.

Mention of Look and Learn reminds me that Laurence is promoting a new scheme for licensing images for personal and educational purposes for as little as £2 per image. This applies to a huge number of images that can be found at the Look and Learn picture library. And I might add that Look and Learn is hosting a lot of book cover images I've scanned and cleaned over the past year. The paperback gallery runs to only 269 images at the moment as our move caused a huge amount of disruption. That said, I recently mailed off another 400+ images that should be appearing shortly and I've already started on the next batch, although I'm going to miss my target of 1,000 images by the end of the year, set a couple of months before we were given our notice in the old house. So I think 700 isn't such a bad total. I'll link to them when they're uploaded.

I'm also working on a couple of improvements for Bear Alley. One is an expanded Recent Releases column, which will include more details of books as they come out. I'll continue posting the listing at the end of each month, but I'll put together these improved versions (see below) and put up links to them so they'll be permanently available for browsing. Hopefully I'm not making a rod for my own back as gathering product information and trying to find reviews is time-consuming. Mind you, having worked on this most of Thursday morning, I'm dismayed that many of these books don't seem to get any reviews at all. If you spot any reviews of books that have been released this year, especially in the quality press, let me know.

And that's it for this week, except for our random scan... a Roy Nixon cartoon. An original, I think, dating from 1982 and sent to Broomfield Hospital, where I used to work, as a thank you by a relative who had been a patient. Broomfield was a training hospital with a large intake of new student nurses three times a year. Happy days. No wonder I stuck around for 7 years...

(* Karl Urban photo by Gage Skidmore from Wikipedia; Olivia Thirlby photo from The Geek Generation; Judge Dredd © Rebellion.)

1 comment:


Hey, Steve. I've steadfastly refused to see any film in 3D, as I remain unconvinced about what it adds to the storytelling. Innovations like sound and colour made significant contributions to storytelling when they were introduced, but we seem to have survived 60+ years without 3D, so I'm in no rush to embrace it now.

FWIW, I beleive DREDD is being shot in 3D, as opposed to tacked on in post-production. But given the choice, I'll still go see the 2D version first - Luddite that I am!