Always wear the mask.

One of my most vivid memories as a child is the gradual realisation that I'd been ripped off by The Judge Dredd film. When I went to watch it with my friends I tried to keep a brave face on but I knew a little part of me had just died forever when, within the first few minutes, it became clear Sylvester Stallone was not keeping his Dredd helmet on.

For those of you without a geeky past I'll just explain. Firstly Judge Dredd is a bit like Batman but it's set in the future and he's a policeman. He wears a helmet and never takes it off. This gives the character a beautiful mystique. As a future cop he can dish out on the spot justice to those he encounters. This seemed like a crazy idea back in the 70's but today with on the spot fines and so forth it's less far out.

I must have been about 14 when I went to see the film and had been a fan of the comic book ever since I'd grown bored of The Beano. I'd heard rumours that Arnold Schwarzenegger was going to play the role but his agent had problems with the fact Dredd wore his helmet so much. I was so anxious to see the film that I'd ignored warnings that Stallone's agent had arranged for some valuable face time. It was only after watching it that the true horror of what had happened started to sink in.

They'd ruined the character!

The Hollywood fame and money machine had chewed up and spat out something which was important to me. It was a really strange experience. Up until that point I'd thought that when people complained about book to film adaptions they were just showing off: "ooo - I read books, get me everybody!". Now I was one of those people but there's no kudos in having read a comic book is there?

Recently I ended up ranting about this in relation to the recent Spiderman films. They deteriorated in quality as Spiderman spent less and less time in his mask. Again, I'll bet, because of agents and valuable facetime.

It's amazing that I still get angry when I think of the Judge Dredd film. Genuinely angry.

NM

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