‘Dredd’ is still better than ‘The Dark Knight Rises’

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced plans today for a James Bond 50th anniversary celebration during its televised Oscars ceremony, and, next week, the 2013 nominees will be unveiled. And, since November, studios have been doubling down on the films they put all their loot on in 2012. Not just the arty farty ones — those seldom make money anyways — but the popcorn fare that can pick up technical awards such as Best Sound Mixing and Best Bane Mask.

Yep, we’re in the dead of Oscar season.

So don’t be surprised if in the coming weeks you fall victim to yet another contagion of Batman Fever. Warner Bros. has been pushing an iBook for “The Dark Knight Rises” on Academy members and other for-your-consideration propaganda — that includes Bruce Wayne’s butler.

So amidst this swarm of “TDKR” spin that will make the rounds between now and the 85th Academy Awards’ February 26 air date, it’s worth remembering another dystopian comic book title that didn’t take itself so goddamn seriously — and, because of which, wins out as the more enjoyable movie, IMHO.

“Dredd” comes out on DVD January 8, but that’s hardly an effort by Lions Gate to force the comic book reboot in any sort of Oscar conversations. I’m not suggesting it should, either; I just hope, at the least, the movie serves as a reminder to dismiss “TDKR” as something equally unimportant.

I can’t tell you how many “Batman vs. Dredd” barroom discussions (turned sexless nights) I’ve had since director Pete Travis’s crack addict fantasy hit theaters back in September. The fact that Christopher Nolan is such a blowhard about setting the 165-minute “TDKR” in a post-modern world, he sets himself up for the Internet to nitpick at everything wrong in three minutes or less.
“Dredd” doesn’t bother with self-importance. It drives a couple points quickly and painlessly in a brisk 95 minutes, namely about the perpetuation of violence and how the justice system is the root of the problem. The message also comes across subtly enough that we’re not being preached at. Audiences are able to ignore social commentary and simply enjoy Lena Headey’s bloodthirsty prostitute in a wife-beater as she mans a machine gun turret, if they want.

And who would blame ‘em?