Whenever fans get their first peek at the film adaptation of an iconic comic book property, opinions are guaranteed to be divisive. This was certainly the case when that image of Karl Urban as Judge Dredd surfaced last month.

Dredd, the character’s long-awaited big screen reboot, is in the earliest stages of production but we’re starting to get a better sense of the approach they’re taking.

Urban has already promised a darker tone than the 1995 version of Judge Dredd starring Sylvester Stallone and the Dredd synopsis certainly indicates something much closer in spirit to the source material. I’m also a big fan of screenwriter Alex Garland (Sunshine, Never Let Me Go) and can’t wait to see his take on the mythology.

We know how Dredd himself is going to look in the film and now, courtesy of Bleeding Cool, we have some idea of how Mega-City One is taking shape as well. One of their readers snapped a few pictures from the Cape Town, South Africa, set and while the filmmakers obviously haven’t left anything major in plain sight, it is cool to get some idea of Dredd‘s production design.

Check out a few of the images below and then head over to Bleeding Cool to see the rest.

Between brief glimpses like this and that concept art we posted back in January, I’m actually pretty enthusiastic about the way Dredd is coming together. It definitely looks like it has more of an edge than the previous adaptation — I’m just hoping it also contains some of that amusing RoboCop-esque satire as well.

I didn’t hate the Stallone movie when I was a kid, but at that point I had never read any Judge Dredd comics. In retrospect, it was an entertaining vehicle for Sly– but a terribly unfaithful take on the character. It’s pretty clear they were interested in the name and the costume and not much else.

Judge Dredd certainly isn’t as mainstream as Batman or Spider-Man, and as a result the film is being made for far less money than most comic book adaptations. I’m optimistic that this will result in a leaner, meaner, movie that compliments the grittier aspects of the character and his world.

The Stallone version definitely missed the mark, but I’m expecting a lot more from Dredd. We’ll see if it delivers when it hits theaters sometime in 2012.

Source: Bleeding Cool.