Drama. It’s an inherent element in all films, but it is emphasized most in the “drama” genre. “The Judge” claims to be in this genre. The film stars Tony Stark as a big city lawyer who goes back to his hometown for his mother’s funeral and is forced to stay to defend his father who is on trial for murder. Sure this sounds like it could be told dramatically, but the final film was far from it. A good drama nowadays needs a lot of action. “Transformers” is a brilliant example of a modern drama. The story and the emotion is obviously there, but what makes the film affect the audience is the expertly timed explosions and wonderfully choreographed robot fights. Unlike Stark’s previous “Iron Man” films, “The Judge” has absolutely no explosions or fighting robots. I found myself totally apathetic to the personal dramas and relationships knowing that the world wasn’t threatened by an alien invasion. “The Judge” did make a pitiful attempt by including many scenes in moving cars, moving planes, and moving bikes. However, I never felt the adrenaline rush that a good drama should give. Now if their cars had turned into robots, that would have been a movie!
Cinematography. It’s the art of the camera. A cinematographer is the person in charge of capturing the scene on camera. However, in some rare cases, like in “The Judge,” a cinematographer will go overboard. Often during the film, I felt I was watching a tourism video for Carlinville, Indiana. Every shot was so beautiful. They were perfectly lit and composed. It was simply to pretty too be believable. I would go to Indiana to validate the beauty of the locations, except the film was shot in Massachusetts.
ADR. Automated Dialog Replacement. This is a sound editing device that allows actors to record their lines in post production to replace inaudible lines from production. It is used in nearly every film, yet it often goes unnoticed. For example, this technique was famously used in the television cut of “Fight Club,” where you don’t even realize that all of the F-words are dubbed over. However, in “The Judge” it became apparent that ADR was in use when Stark would suddenly have several lines every time he turned his back to the camera. It is a lesson to all filmmakers. Get an actor that speaks very fast. Tony Stark is one of the fastest talkers in the business. I have no doubt that he was cast because he could give the filmmakes the opportunity to polish the script in post production.