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After a period of screenings at festivals and conventions, the Judge Dredd fan film Judge Minty has finally been released in full online. Packed with Easter eggs for long-term 2000AD fans, it proves that these days it would be entirely feasible to produce an authentic and faithful version of the futuristic lawman on a small-screen budget. As much as I enjoyed last year’s Dredd 3D, it’s hard not to watch this short and list the things that this production did better. For starters, this budget effort manages to properly get the Lawmaster bike, a street judge’s preferred form of transport, something the Stallone and Urban films got wrong in their different ways.
I’ve been writing about the Judge Minty short film since 2010, when after seeing the first teaser trailer I made the observation “these days Judge Dredd would be totally do-able on a BBC budget.” I still haven’t managed to see the bloomin’ thing yet, despite it becoming a U.K. comic convention staple since it premiered at the Leeds Film Festival last November.
Well, the wait is nearly over, as the production team has announced that it’ll soon be free to view on YouTube and Vimeo, without giving us an actual date yet (“in April/May” they vaguely state, the teasing sods). They’ve released a new extended trailer for the project to whet our appetites.
One thing this trailer adds is some great music. I’m no soundtrack expert, so for all I know it might be borrowed from elsewhere, but I do know that it reminds me of Jerry Goldsmith’s avant garde score for the original Planet of the Apes. And I still think that with a little ambition and imagination, Judge Dredd could work better on TV than in films.
Judge Dredd fans have another cinematic version of their favorite antihero to look forward to (no, there hasn’t been a last-minute, sequel-saving, boost to the box-office haul of Dredd 3D). The short fan film Judge Minty, which has had a production period running almost parallel to the official movie, has announced it is to premiere at the Leeds Film Festival on Nov. 12, with a second showing at the Leeds Thought Bubble comics festival Nov. 18.
The movie has plenty of close links to the comic and its fandom: Dredd is played in the film by artist Greg Staples, and the script was written by regular 2000AD contributor Michael Carroll, adapting a classic John Wagner and Mick McMahon story. The teaser trailer, which has been doing the rounds for more two years now, shows that it is tantalizingly possible to do an incredibly faithful live-action Judge Dredd on a television budget. Make it so, BBC/HBO commissioning bods!