Overall Recommendation:
4.0 stars
(1)
5 Stars:
0%
(0)
 
4 Stars:
100.0%
(1)
 
3 Stars:
0%
(0)
 
2 Stars:
0%
(0)
 
1 Stars:
0%
(0)
 
Premise:
5.0 stars
(1)
 
Story structure:
2.0 stars
(1)
 
Character:
4.0 stars
(1)
 
Dialogue:
4.0 stars
(1)
 
Emotion:
4.0 stars
(1)
 
 
1-1 of 1 review
Sort: Newest | Most helpful
2 out of 3 people found the following review helpful:

The Orb, or How I Tried to Raise the Dead and Created Space Zombies Instead

Overall Recommendation:
4 stars
 
Premise:
5 stars
 
Story structure:
2 stars
 
Character:
4 stars
 
Dialogue:
4 stars
 
Emotion:
4 stars
 
April 04, 2011
You might have a tonal problem. Zombies give you a certain tone. Zombies in Space! I love it. But this is not a Zombies in Space movie, at all. This is 2001, basically. I love zombies in space and I love garden of eden. I'm just not sure if both belong in the same movie? One is high class and arty, the other is B movie and fun. You almost want to split this into two separate screenplays: a chessy B movie with zombies in outer space, and a very serious, Stanley Kubrick style art film about the birth of humanity.

That's a lot of work, though, splitting it apart and writing a whole new screenplay. What you have is still very interesting. I like this version a lot better than the screenplay that was in the semifinals. Keep working it! Two steps forward, one step back. Here are my notes.

Sam at her computer waiting for a download is kind of lame. That's really a 20th century problem. I like the domes over the cities, nice visual.

Right now your first scene seems more like war rather than Arcadian cops catching a bunch of revolutionaries. (I wouldn't use the word "terrorist," unless you want us thinking that Sam blows up civilians). Is it a civil war? Or is it more like resistance fighters? Your visual images make it seem like war, but later exposition makes it seem like it's a small band of people.

I feel like we need a 2nd scene on Sam's planet, a linking scene between your opening and the rest of the screenplay. I would like a scene where the Arcadians are instructing Spaulding how to handle their dead. Give us a bit of exposition very early so we understand why these guys are transporting dead bodies through space. I was scratching my head for pages and pages going, why do they have a morgue on a spaceship? It bothered the heck out of me. I love how you resolved this, by the way, with the Arcadians wanting a military funeral back home. Awesome. Very credible.

You could also introduce us to Vance and Garth in this new scene. And add a little bit with Sam hiding from the Arcadians at the space port or something.

I think it would be awesome and shocking if we like Spaulding, if he's a leader and we think he's a hero, and then Vance and Garth wake up and find out that he's dead. If you humanize Spaulding for us, his death will be far more surprising. It will really engage us and we will feel the loss.

I had trouble believing Sam was hanging out for 18 months by herself on the ship. That's pretty insane. Doesn't she need to lead the rebellion or something?

Right now there's a mystery: why did Spaulding die? And we immediately suspect Sam had something to do with it. You either should clarify that his death was an accident, or really work the storyline that Vance suspects she killed him. Have that confrontation, release the energy, and put it behind us. Right now Vance has secret suspicions, but this plotline doesn't go anywhere, really.

You have a tremendous amount of dialog on the ship. Most of it is strong, but there's just too much of it. They sit around a table and talk and talk for seven pages (35-41). That's a tremendous amount of chit-chat. The crash landing takes pages and pages. Some of this is necessary exposition. For instance, why they need to land on this planet. (You need to have this exposition before they go, not afterwards).

In general I feel like not much is happening on the ship for the whole first half of your movie. Right now you have the 2 minute war scene, and the crash landing, and that's it. That's not a lot of excitement for 45 minutes. And there's not much suspense, either.

What is the blinking message on the computer? Why did Spaulding twitch? I love the twitch, but you don't pay this off. You lay these clues very early in the screenplay, and then we have pages and pages where very little happens, zombie-wise. Either take out the clues or move the clues until later in the screenplay, when they're on the planet.

One thing that might help your 2nd act is to really work the dynamics between our 3 characters. It's like a romantic triangle, without the romance. Garth is in the middle, and both characters want his loyalty. So it's Vance competing with Sam.

How about this? What if Sam sleeps with Garth on the ship? She sneaks into his cabin and sleeps with him. That might make the triangle really pop. We might wonder about her motivations. Maybe she's using sex to manipulate him.

You even have room to increase the hostility between Vance and Sam. There has to be a weapon on board the ship, right? Let's have a brief scene where Vance finds it and arms himself. Work this tension. You can and should resolve it before Vance's death, but you can easily add a little mini-drama in your second act (which needs some more drama).

I like the crack in the ice on 44-47. Good stuff.

I like your garden of Eden. I like the Orb a lot. In fact I think that should be your title. The Orb.

What I don't like is the Orb's dialog. Too on the nose. Way too on the nose. You potentially have an awesome 2001 type story here. It's really hard to write God dialog and I don't envy you one bit. You might consider having no dialog. Or more mysterious dialog. I do not like exposition from the Orb. The Orb should be mysterious. "Hello Garth. I have brought you here. You cannot leave." Like that. I do not think the Orb should act like his buddy and tell Garth how cool he is.

I do not like Garth grabbing the Orb and trying to bring the captain back from the dead. Lame. Makes Garth seem really stupid.

What would be really freaky is if Garth and Sam get back to the ship, and the Orb is on the ship. Garth didn't bring it, the Orb just appeared. I'm not sure if that works. But it's definitely better than "Garth brings Orb on the ship to make his captain rise from the dead and pilot the ship." You didn't sell that plot point at all and I don't think I'm ever going to buy it.

Another possibility is you just leave the Orb in the Garden of Eden. The mere presence of the Orb is enough to wake the dead, right? If you set up the zombie rise (with twitching finger, eyes opening, etc) we will buy it when they start to walk. You don't actually need the Orb on the ship. You can leave the Orb in the Garden. Just being on the planet is enough to wake the dead.

Once Vance dies, I totally know that Garth and Sam are going to make out on the Garden of Eden. I feel like you give away your ending a bit too much. I would suggest no specific religious discussion from the Orb. And take "God" out of your title. The ending is a powerful reveal but you have to hide it better. A lot of people will guess anyway but right now it's way too easy to guess.

Really cool ending, though. Nice work on this.
 

Reviews for