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Dredd was an interesting concept, but I was wondering how real time correlates to the slo-mo experience.

If we take the final falling death of Ma-Ma for example. It is mentioned that it must have been a long way down after taking the drug. My take on it is that in reality she would have hit the ground before being aware it was even close.

My question is that, how does real time vs slo-mo perception work? Does the brain have some sort of back-log to deal with and is playing catch-up to real time? Or is it something else where slo-mo time matches reality somehow? Maybe they drift in and out where it's slow for a moment then the mind catches up?

I was wondering if anyone had an interpretation of how this works from what the film told us and if the filmmakers have given any information.

The reason for the question is, I was curious if Ma-Ma was aware of being close to the ground before hitting it or if her mind perceived it as still being very high up when she actually hit the floor. Puts the use of the slo-mo drug on her into question. The slo-mo is used to worsen her death but did it?

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  • Agree completely, I would have thought that she would perish much before being aware of hitting bottom. I don't think the brain or eyes could process information faster or slower
    – m1gp0z
    Dec 13, 2018 at 20:03

4 Answers 4

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The first question is what constitutes time. The way we measure time is using an arbitrary system designed primarily to benefit humans. A second is (at the moment IIRC) defined by the number of times an isotope of a certain element vibrates (eusing made up numbers, when it has vibrated 200 times that is '1 second').

The reason things like seconds are useful is because the brain can only process information so fast. If you took a fictional drug that allowed your brain to process information much faster, as well as allowing your eyes to take in an image, send it to the brain, then take in another much faster, then you would perceive time as going 'slower'. In reality, time is happening at the same rate, your brain just allows you to see more events in the same time period, hence you would perceive time as 'slower' than normal.

Case in point, studies have shown that some breads of dogs see a television set as a series of still images with black screens in between. This is because the dog's brain and eyes are processing visual information at a rate much faster than humans, so for a human the images look like they are moving but for a dog they look like a slideshow, even though time is occurring at exactly the same rate for both viewers.

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    I really like this answer and you have just reminded me of a article I read called why you can't take a Pigeon to the movies. Seeing a higher frame rate would be a sufficient answer. Many thanks!
    – tohood87
    Aug 17, 2016 at 13:46
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This is addressed in the tie-in comic Top of the World, Ma-Ma. The drug speeds up perception by a considerable amount. The user literally sees the world moving slower.

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It follows that she would have had a considerable amount of time to consider her impending demise.

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I want to pose a different but also similar answer. Mine just contains more of an element of, I think she was SCARED A LOT more than the other answer.

Think about it this way, Based on the fact that slo-mo slows down everything to 1% speed from a person's perspective, says the movie... And she fell 1km from the 200th floor and it took her 18.5 seconds to fall (based on terminal velocity of 54 m/s), I say it took her just under 31 minutes to go splat. From her perspective.

Now when she first started falling she was facing upward looking at Dredd, then almost immediately she's facing downward in the next shot... That leads me to believe at some point she realized she was going to hit the ground. And knowing there was nothing she could do to stop that ground from just crushing her, and she only had a matter of seconds even though she was high, she was a dealer and a user and she knew how it worked...

Therefore if you watch the scene closely I think you can see the moment she kinda realizes, "Oh shit, I can't stop! But I'm high, so fuck it, I'm dead." There's definitely some panic in her face. So I think it did extend her death in a way because, for the majority of it, I think that she was stuck in the feeling of impending doom. Knowing that the ground was going to kill her.

I think it certainly at the least, prolonged the feeling of knowing 100% she was going to die horribly and painfully... So that's just a different side of what I was thinking. But I do agree with the other answer too!

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  • This is a great answer, and combined with the "frame rate" explanation from the other one, completely explains why making someone take slo-mo before defenestrating them is a cruel punishment: imagine knowing full well for half-an hour, non-stop, that you're going to be crushed to death, and there's nothing you can do to stop it. Jul 6, 2020 at 0:33
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This is a huge plot hole in the movie! The drug could make, to your brain, feel that everything goes slower, but your body is still in the real world so when your ass is falling off a building physics law applies!!! you are still going to be dead in 18.5 seconds so you will not experience the full 30 minute of going down in slow motion, but just the first 18.5 second of it, which if you ask me doesn't seem a worst punishment than going down real at real speed, you will just die while flying while high on slo mo without even being close to realise you are close to the ground, doesn't seem a bad way to die (if you have to ) to me at all. hence the huge plot hole that nobody seems to care about.

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    If she fell for 18.5 seconds (objectively), she perceived her own fall to take 1850 seconds, which is ~30 minutes. So for the Judge, she took 18.5 seconds to die, but to Ma Ma herself, she had a full 30 minutes (subjectively) to contemplate her own demise..
    – CGCampbell
    Sep 11, 2023 at 16:05
  • i don't understand why is so difficult to get it , when you are physically falling what count is gravity , not the drug . Ma Ma can't possibly experience nothing at all once the gravity after 20 seconds will dismember her , this drug would work in a scenario where you are still sitting or something than makes sense ... do you get it ? Sep 12, 2023 at 17:26
  • I honestly don't understand what you don't get the other point of view either. We understand that from an external objective perspective, she's dead in 20 seconds, but her perspective of time is that it is progressing slower, so it would feel to her like it is longer. Effectively every second feels like minutes to her. Its no different to the drivers in the car at the start of the movie. For them to travel 100 feet (or metres), it objectively takes a certain amount of time. They perceive themselves as travelling slower. Effectively the drug makes their brains faster.
    – iandotkelly
    Sep 12, 2023 at 19:51
  • once you are dead your feelings don't keep manifesting cause you took a drug , physics and death don't care about your perceptions... once you are on a fall to death, yo will take 18 sec to go for MA MA it will take 18 sec of slow motion Sep 13, 2023 at 20:19
  • i posted another comment , what is this site ? you edit the answers and you decide entirely to remove other answers for no plausible reason ? anyway to @CGcampbell , flash is entirely another thing , he actually bend his time line , if the slo mo would make them like flash why they can't catch two agents going normal speed ? they have a technology that can make them understand reality super slow and nobody take advantage of it, not even Ma MA ?? nah the slo mo just slow your brain down while everything else, your body too keep at the same speed, car chase and falling don't make sense both ways Sep 14, 2023 at 23:25

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