Overall Recommendation:
3.5 stars
(2)
5 Stars:
50.0%
(1)
 
4 Stars:
0%
(0)
 
3 Stars:
0%
(0)
 
2 Stars:
50.0%
(1)
 
1 Stars:
0%
(0)
 
Premise:
3.0 stars
(2)
 
Story structure:
3.0 stars
(2)
 
Character:
3.0 stars
(2)
 
Dialogue:
1.0 stars
(1)
 
Emotion:
3.0 stars
(2)
 
 
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0 out of 0 people found the following review helpful:

Cameronesque

Overall Recommendation:
5 stars
 
Premise:
4 stars
 
Story structure:
4 stars
 
Character:
5 stars
 
Dialogue:
No rating
 
Emotion:
5 stars
 

sam

April 24, 2012
I think all of the Original Soldiers pitches have the potential to make fun movies. Sure, anyone could nitpick this or that, but that's like nitpicking a graphite sketch that's a rough study for a painting. (Plus, I don't see why the winners would either want or need advice from the non-winners like me.) Out of the five, though, I think I like this one best because it just has that classic Cameron feel of great badass characters and contained action. Hope A.S. decides to do something with this!!
 
0 out of 3 people found the following review helpful:

Revise Antagonist

Overall Recommendation:
2 stars
 
Premise:
2 stars
 
Story structure:
2 stars
 
Character:
1 stars
 
Dialogue:
1 stars
 
Emotion:
1 stars
 
February 04, 2012
Not sure if it's just me but I can't get excited about a story with an antagonist that's a gargantuan anti-grav ship called "Overlord" run by an Artificial Intelligence named "Patton" that tries to launch a global nuclear war via its "automated umbilicals." In a word this story is absurd. It seems like a wildly contrived blend of 2001: A Space Odyssey with the supercomputer HAL and the movie Terminator with the defense system SKYNET that succeeds in launching nukes around the globe. The key difference from those movies and your story is that those movies have emotive consequences with a well explored central theme, of which your story has none of.

Now with these pitches it's important to identify your premise, that is, after boiling down everything else, what is the kernel theme you are trying to explore and make a statement about. Interestingly, all of these pitches have different themes despite being set in a not too distant technological future, and yours seems to be exploring the consequences of following orders vs. using your own judgement, which is actually a very interesting and strong theme.

On the one hand, you have an autonomous robot that by its nature is designed to execute orders without question, and on the other hand you have human soldiers, who have been beat down into taking orders, but can never fully escape their existential reality of choice, free will, the ability to disobey. This is a highly relevant subject in lieu of the Guantanamo fiasco, reminiscent of the Nuremberg trials and explored in the Milgram Shock Experiments, a haunting revelation of the human psyche and what makes us commit atrocities by following orders when we know they are morally wrong. Now, ask yourself, does your story explore these topics? The clear answer is: No, not even close. Instead you have a very generic action movie with a completely absurd antagonist. What you need are well developed characters that personify the core subjects of your theme.

Now if your hero is going to be the old, grizzled vet Magnus Jones, he should at first be portrayed as one who follows orders without question. Connor, his younger counter-part, could be the one who is more inclined to disobey. The climax of your story needs to come down to Magnus Jones faced with a single question: to follow orders or not? If he doesn't follow orders he will have changed for the better, realizing his morality supersedes the orders from a hierarchy. If he does follow orders he should die as a result of it. In this case Connor will become the true hero (and get the girl - which, by the way, was never closed in your story), for he is able to break free from following orders like a soldier or a robot.

I think it would be interesting if you had someone in your story who is sympathetic towards the defense program Patton, perhaps it could be the tech named Frank or some innocuous character who designed its code and is revealed to be a megalomaniac. That would be a unique twist, as he covertly works against the team so Patton can access the nuclear launch codes.

In short, your premise has solid potential, there are many ways to show the pros and cons of taking orders or using your own judgement, but I don't think this first draft you have shows any of that. Your antagonist needs to be redesigned completely (think realistic) and your main characters need to be more developed, they should personify the theme you are exploring.

I hope you take the time to work some of these suggestions into your next draft and give it your best shot.
 

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