Overall Recommendation:
2.5 stars
(2)
5 Stars:
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4 Stars:
0%
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3 Stars:
50.0%
(1)
 
2 Stars:
50.0%
(1)
 
1 Stars:
0%
(0)
 
Premise:
5.0 stars
(2)
 
Story structure:
2.5 stars
(2)
 
Character:
2.0 stars
(2)
 
Dialogue:
2.0 stars
(2)
 
Emotion:
1.0 stars
(2)
 
 
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4 out of 7 people found the following review helpful:

New story takes place offstage

Overall Recommendation:
2 stars
 
Premise:
5 stars
 
Story structure:
2 stars
 
Character:
2 stars
 
Dialogue:
1 stars
 
Emotion:
1 stars
 
September 03, 2011
Much of the original story, structure, and scenes have been retained in this draft.

The wolf now comes from Egypt, accompanied by Bepti, an evil Egyptian. From page 4-104, it looks like Bepti is the bad guy, but it’s not clear what his beef with Rome is and he’s locked up and missing for most of the story. Then it seems that he’s working for Lavinia (now the Emperor’s niece), then it turns out he’s working for Quintus, and then it turns out he’s REALLY working for an Egyptian sorcerer named Chigaru, the real villain (who transformed himself into the wolf), who doesn’t show up until page 104. It’s not until this point that Titus/Titanus is in direct conflict with the real villain, and this conflict doesn’t drive the story. Also, Chigaru (although visually interesting) just seems like a generic megalomaniac who wants world domination.

Titus (now Titanus) has a slightly different back story: he’s still a former blacksmith, and was sent to the Arena after sleeping with a Senator’s wife. He has the goal of redeeming himself, but this theme seems underdeveloped and he remains thin as a character.

Thus, the AS notes have been only partially addressed.

The biggest problem here is that the new story isn’t dramatized. While the draft retains many of the original scenes, the action stops for long, talky exposition scenes where the characters tell each other what’s really going on and what happened off-stage. It’s like one of those Agatha Christie novels where the detective gathers everyone in the parlor to explain how the crime happened. It might have worked better to try a page-one rewrite that dramatized the new story, rather than grafting it onto the old.

Some specifics:

Pg. 12: I agree that it’s good to get Titanus’s back story in early. However, I’m not sure that having him sleep with a senator’s wife is the best choice. It makes him seem virile and reckless but also immoral.

Pg. 13: Titanus’s goal “to serve Rome” is noble but also vague. Also, how exactly did he dishonor Rome? He dishonored the Senator and his wife, but unless he did it on the steps of the Senate, why does it have a larger meaning?

Pg. 19: I liked the “waxen wings” line, and it gives Titanus a better motive for resisting Lavinia’s advances. It also shows that he’s learned a lesson about sleeping with high-born women, which makes him more sympathetic.

Pg. 20: This is starting to get interesting, with Lavinia apparently plotting against her uncle. But the Egyptian is pretty stupid for talking about this in front of a witness. Makes more sense to have him take her aside and convey this info in private – so this seems artificial and constructed just to drive the plot.

Pg. 21: THIS is the point at which Titanus becomes really sympathetic, by being falsely accused.

29-31: I don’t get why Lavinia would come to Titanus and give him all this incriminating information after setting him up in the first place. We learn later that she’s not a villain after all, but at this point I’m just confused.

Pg. 33: Vespasian shows that he’s smart to enlist the support of the crowd for killing Titanus. However, we aren’t seeing anything yet that suggests he’s an evil guy who should be killed. So is Lavinia a villain or a hero for plotting against him? Again, I’m confused.

Pg. 37: Marius’s line to Lucan is funny, but it seems crude and even borderline obscene, especially when compared to the flowery language elsewhere. Consider either using more of this kind of language for consistency or toning it down?

Pg. 40: Again, Vespasian seems noble here and I’m rooting for him. I think it works better if the audience doesn’t like the Emperor and enjoys seeing him turned into a Zombie.

Pg.41: The “becoming a god” line is kind of bizarre. And the line from Quintus suggests that being bitten by a zombie is for the Emperor’s benefit. So this is intriguing and makes me want to keep reading. But then Quintus tries to kill the Emperor a few lines later. So now I’m just confused again.

Pg. 45: I don’t buy Quintus turning them all into instant Praetorians.

Pg. 46: Marius is fun and I’d like to see more of him, with the number of other characters reduced.

Pg. 54-56: Lavinia delivers exposition on a plate and explains everything.

Pg. 60: I’m liking Marius less here. It’s not nice to make fun of your granny.

70-74: This seems too talky and touchy-feely to me…

74: Lucan’s undergarments line is too shticky.

88-92: Long, talky scene heavy on exposition.

93-101: a VERY long, very dull, very talky scene, loaded with exposition which stops the action dead just when it should be peaking.

Pg. 98: The “hive mind” idea seems very science fiction and seems to come out of the blue. Not sure I believe a Roman/Persian doctor even knowing what a hive mind is.

105-108 : MORE exposition with Chigaru.

108: Why does Chigaru blast Bepti, who has indeed been a faithful servant? Seems like just a random act to show what an evil guy he is.

118: The medallion solution was tidy, but seemed too easy and anti-climactic to me. And then it seems to take too long for the story to wrap up.

Some technical notes:

Wrong font. Over-use of caps.

The new dialogue is uneven in style and tone. A modern line like “Her husband was old, and into boys besides,” is followed by one like “That is what is reaped when lust is sown.” Much of the new dialogue seems to be straining to sound “old” and just sounds awkward and overly-ornate. Also, there are numerous grammatical mistakes.

History nerd note: If you’re going to use the “real” Vespasian, who “invaded Britannica and sacked Jerusalem,” why set this in the year 300 rather than his actual time period (69-79)? Also, you could have had some fun with the Britons and the Judeans teaming up to whip his butt, rather than this random Egyptian.
 
0 out of 3 people found the following review helpful:

I'll read more of this one

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
 
Premise:
5 stars
 
Story structure:
3 stars
 
Character:
2 stars
 
Dialogue:
3 stars
 
Emotion:
1 stars
 
September 02, 2011
I decided to do a review of the first five pages of all the scripts, and come back to the script and do a full review if the first five pages made me want to read it. I decided to start with the scripts that had not already received some reviews.

I read the original script and the Amazon Studio Story Department notes and am using my personal interpretation of what they intended only.

Pros: Generally tight writing with a fast read, though could ease up a tad on description. Some of the better dialog so far, the secondary characters have some personality!

Cons: Titus on page 5. I'm not attached to him, but the interested generated in the secondary characters makes room for good possibilities. Wrong font! But yeah, isn't it easier on the eyes! Cause a revolt.

Rewrite wise...

Pros: Seems to stick to the original story, but tighter writing style. There's opening action.

Cons: Titus isn't immediately the guy I'm rooting for.
 

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