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:
5.0 stars
(2)
 
Story structure:
3.0 stars
(2)
 
Character:
3.0 stars
(2)
 
Dialogue:
3.0 stars
(2)
 
Emotion:
3.0 stars
(2)
 
 
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4 out of 8 people found the following review helpful:

Fast Read That Vastly Improves Original

Overall Recommendation:
5 stars
 
Premise:
5 stars
 
Story structure:
5 stars
 
Character:
4 stars
 
Dialogue:
4 stars
 
Emotion:
4 stars
 

Meg

August 12, 2011
I read this in one sitting in about 45 minutes. It's a fast-paced, action-packed, bloody thrill ride. Titus is much more fleshed-out than the original or the other revisions I've seen. I thought using Mars for the new villain and as the cause of the zombies was brilliant. And then the TWISTS!! You think this story is headed in one direction and SCREEEECH, the whole ride jerks you in another direction. This script had me questioning everything halfway through.

A lot has survived from the original so it still feels like the same story but so much has changed too. This looks like exactly what Amazon was asking for. It hits all the weak spots and keeps all the strengths. If anything, this script just needs more character development for the supporting characters and possibly more exploration of Titus and Lavinia's budding relationship.

Other than that, this is my favorite so far in this rewrite comp. I could see the movie in my head the entire ride. It's a vast improvement. Really well-written. Congrats and great work!
 
8 out of 15 people found the following review helpful:

full of sound and fury

Overall Recommendation:
2 stars
 
Premise:
5 stars
 
Story structure:
1 stars
 
Character:
2 stars
 
Dialogue:
2 stars
 
Emotion:
2 stars
 
August 09, 2011
This draft has a lively tone and lots of energy. The writing is vivid and there are many funny descriptions.

I liked the opening image, but I found the opening super superfluous and too on-the-nose.

This version retains much of the original structure and many of the original scenes, adding a 8-page prologue that dramatizes and expands a version of Titus’s back-story told in dialogue in the original. I agree that getting the back-story in early is a much better choice than leaving it for late in the script. The ending is also new.

The draft addresses the AS notes in that the zombies now have a supernatural origin, and the villain is different and the cause of the zombies.

However, very little has changed about Titus other than his back-story – he’s not more interesting as a person just because he has a different bio.

The role of Mars as villain was very confusing. WHY is Mars is wrecking havoc on Titus and on Rome? Only at the very end do we learn that it’s because (???) he wants to take over Orcus’s kingdom. At least, I assume that was his plan all along, in which case it’s horribly convoluted. And why does he WANT Orcus’s kingdom? Why does he want to rule the dead? Aren’t the living more interesting? Except that earlier he tells Titus that he wants to rule with him, or through him, or something, because the people will only trust a human? Huh? Also, it’s way too easy to kill him at the end. And if he wanted to be dead just so he could get to the land of the dead, he could have arranged that 90 pages earlier and skipped the zombies.

Also, why is Titus so confident that he can kill Mars, and make that his goal? The whole point of being a god is that you can’t be killed. That’s why they called them “immortals.”

The supernatural origin of the zombies as caused by Mars simply seems random. Zombies aren’t part of Roman mythology, and Roman gods didn’t routinely go around biting people and starting plagues.

Also, I felt that making Titus the Emperor’s son and including Orcus, god of death, was a too slavish and literal interpretation of the AS notes, especially where these elements seemed tacked on rather than organic to the story.

Lavinia reminded me of Betty Boop, or maybe Olive Oyl. She gets to say lines like:

-- Those are for reading, you brute.

-- No! Don’t leave me with that monster! Titus!

-- I’m not after horses, you brute.

-- Power. All you men care about, isn’t it. (while being chased by a zombie horde)


Some of the writing was awkward or anachronistic or had other issues. For example:

-- WORDS EMBLAZON across the red-hot steel

-- Titus, now overwhelmed with tears, rears himself toward the still-dying Murcia.

-- the BATTLE CRY of an AMAZONIAN WARRIOR as he swings an
axe for Titus, but he misses and Titus hacks off his arm. (Amazons were women)

-- SCARRED AND SUN-CHARRED HANDS (sounds like a bad BBQ accident)

-- But Titus just delves his Gladius into the Slain Gladiator’s stomach.

-- manila bed sheets (???)

-- the closed chamber doors POUND and BUCKLE.

-- Roman taxes at their best.

-- Rage broils on his face. (Another BBQ mishap?)

-- Have mercy on the souls we depart.

-- Pray together, stay together.

-- Okay, Lavinia, okay.

-- Stop with the act, Quintus.

-- Cause dead people don’t usually get back up, in my limited experience.

-- Like I said: expendable.


Problematic sequences include pages 40-49 in the Senate House, which are very talky and stop the action dead.

Mars arriving to tell Titus his life story from page 51-54 was exposition on a platter and further delayed the action as well as making very little sense – what motivation did Mars have for delivering this info at this moment? And how does this explain what Mars is doing?

(And how likely is it that the Emperor could "lose" a woman in the city who didn't even change her name or profession? And why did she want to be lost?)

Also, Hostilian suddenly turning into a nice guy on page 93 when he realizes (how?) Titus is his son is a bit hard to take.

On a minor note, there were multiple errors in grammar and punctuation.

A plus is that at 95 pages this is lean and mean, and omits some of the big set pieces that would make the original so expensive – but also so fun.

Finally, I don’t know whether it was intended, but I thought I saw several echoes of “Star Wars” here. In the first few pages, young Titus seemed just like young Luke, stuck on the farm. Then we have the “I am your father” stuff from the bad guy. And there’s even the cut off hand and the line “You are Rome’s only hope.” (Did he ever get the hand back, by the way?)
 

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