Author: Alex Garland | Illustrator: Jock | Page Count: 240
“You were shit out of luck when you ran into the Ma-Ma clan.”
If there’d been a poll asking what people would like to see in a book titled 'Illustrated Movie Script and Visuals,' everything that’s already included would be on my list. As someone who enjoys Dredd comics, screenplays and can happily waste an hour studying concept art, it seems almost tailor-made.
On the left hand pages is Garland’s script, laid out in the usual format. It’s also where you’ll find trivia, concept art depicting various stages of evolution and full colour production stills, not all of which were used in the final version (unused hall of justice, judge badges, etc), with brief passages of text describing what each one is and how it fits into the overall structure. It’s the ‘Visuals’ half of the book.
The right hand pages display the ‘Illustrated Movie Script’ half. Jock’s sketches give life to the scene as written on the left. The monochrome art is somewhere between traditional storyboards (minus the giant arrows) and a regular panelled comic. It's filled in places with black and white screen tones (repeating dot patterns often seen in manga). Dialogue is included. It’s the best of both worlds.
Had it been created after the film I’d have said there’s a vibrancy and urgency to the lines that capture and communicate the gritty, uncompromising and violent aspect well. But it was made first, so it’s fair to say that the film captured those aspects of Jock’s sketches. Had a non-comic artist been responsible, someone without a history of Dredd, the film might not have felt so authentic.
I found it more enjoyable to read the comic part in one sitting, and go back afterwards to concentrate on the left hand pages. Doing that spilt the book into two distinct halves but the alternative was disruptive to the flow of the story.
People who bought Dredd: The Screenplay (2012) as an ebook might be a little sore double-dipping but if any of the additional content mentioned above is to your liking, there’s likely enough to warrant a repurchase.
5 Munce Box Meals out of 5