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Premise:
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3 out of 8 people found the following review helpful:

more history, less fun

Overall Recommendation:
2 stars
 
Premise:
5 stars
 
Story structure:
2 stars
 
Character:
2 stars
 
Dialogue:
2 stars
 
Emotion:
1 stars
 
August 23, 2011
This is a page-one rewrite, with maybe 10% of the original story elements remaining. A great deal of work and research obviously went into this draft.

This version focuses on the sack of Rome by the Visigoths in the year 410. Except here the Visigoths are the good guys, saving Rome from zombies and incompetent Roman leadership.

The zombies are now caused and led by a new villain named Brennus, who reveals supernatural powers on page 23. There are references to him being a Gaul and living many lifetimes. At one point he grows fangs and seems to combine features of zombie and vampire. He refers to the “ancient gods” (not clear which ones, but they don’t seem to be Roman), and to “old magic, ” but this is all vague. He wants to create a zombie army and acquire power, but it’s not clear what his end game is. Titus seems only incidental to his plans, and doesn’t even come to his notice until very late.

Titus has a new back story, revealed on page 85: he’s a Visigoth and the king’s brother in law, and he became a gladiator when his band was captured by Romans and his wife killed. This could create sympathy for him but the information comes late and is presented as exposition with no emotional impact. This is a jokier Titus than in some other versions, but he still seems underdeveloped.

Thus, although this draft responds to the AS notes, I didn’t feel it did so effectively.

I felt the script had far too many characters and it wasn’t initially clear whose story it was. The focus was off Titus for too long in favor of Honorius (the Emperor of the East, who takes over much of the Flavius role).

The script is heavy on dialogue. There are action scenes, but they are sometimes hard to follow and seem repetitive. Also, for a zombie movie it isn’t very scary and there isn’t much gore.

Specifics:

Pg. 1: Why make Aelia the narrator, since she has such a tiny part? I’m not sure you need a narrator at all.

Pg 20. Titus says:

“There is a flower, very bright and beautiful. When it dies, its seed drifts away, floating upon the wind. And when it touches the land, another flower springs up….
Right now I am in the wind. But I believe, when I touch land, another flower will spring up.”

I don’t think the fanboys are going to accept a line like this from a Visigoth gladiator….

Later, we seem to be in the first Zen zombie movie:

PLACIDIA
Who are you, gladiator?

TITUS
Who is anyone?


Pg. 24: “I do know of a fighter who has disappointed me tonight...” How did Titus disappoint Honorius?

72-73: The Christians sacrificing themselves to save Titus et al. seemed creepy and cultish rather than noble. You contrast the corrupt Christians in the church with the nice Christians in the house, but you don’t develop this theme. It might also be interesting to show conflict between Christians and pagans, perhaps in connection with Brennus and his ancient gods.

Pg. 78: Why does Placidia call her brother a weasel and a cheat? When the story opens, it seems like he’s a good guy trying to make peace, only to have his plans thwarted. Then he sends the zombie after Titus, to make some sort of educational point to his young nephew. His character and intentions weren’t clear to me.

Pg. 85: We learn that Titus is a Visigoth and the king’s brother in law and a former general. But it feels like a “so what” moment. I think this needs a better setup.

Pg. 87: Brennus says:

“Ah, now I recall! Titus is no mere gladiator. He is Alaric’s most honored general! I knew there had to be more to him.”

Why does Brennus announce what we’ve just learned about Titus? And how could he possibly “forget” details like that? If Brennus already knew this about Titus, it would be better if he didn’t “forget” but incorporated this knowledge into his plot.

Pg. 91: The rain of zombies was kind of cool.

I’m not clear on the distinctions between Slow Zombies, INVIGORATED ZOMBIES, AGGRESSIVE ZOMBIES, and VICIOUS ZOMBIES. Are these different kinds of zombies? Or zombies in different moods?

Pg. 99: Why would Brennus give weapons to the children, who then instantly chop off his arms?

“When there is no more room in Hell, the dead shall walk the earth!”

Good line, but it sounds familiar – has it been used before? If not, I’d put it much earlier in the script and provide a better tie-in to hell via Hades or Orcus. It could even be an intro to the whole movie.

Pg. 100: I’m not clear on the distinction between the Living Dead and Zombies.


I found many lines awkward, anachronistic, or unclear. For example:

You do realize the mess this city is in?

To the left, THEODOSIUS (10) and his sister, AELIA (12), sit with disgust at the sight below. (How do you sit with disgust? They could look with disgust….)

"The womb", Uncle, has been bustling. (Doesn’t sound like a 12 year old girl to me, and a bustling womb is a weird image.)

Have him meet me beyond this extravagance.

Such a fight should be declared over the whole city.

Too much wine, does not a body good.

It would be bad etiquette to let you kill my prime!



Overall, I think setting this story during the actual sack of Rome has potential, but this version seems focused on history and politics and lacks the fun and pacing of the original.
 

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