Overall Recommendation:
5.0 stars
(1)
5 Stars:
100.0%
(1)
 
4 Stars:
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3 Stars:
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2 Stars:
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1 Stars:
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Premise:
5.0 stars
(1)
 
Story structure:
3.0 stars
(1)
 
Character:
5.0 stars
(1)
 
Dialogue:
4.0 stars
(1)
 
Emotion:
4.0 stars
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2 out of 5 people found the following review helpful:

My Favorite Page 1 Rewrite So Far

Overall Recommendation:
5 stars
 
Premise:
5 stars
 
Story structure:
3 stars
 
Character:
5 stars
 
Dialogue:
4 stars
 
Emotion:
4 stars
 
September 05, 2011
I like your writing a lot. Your opening page is amazing. I love that dream sequence.

It crossed my mind to make Lucius the hero, the new kid. He’s such an annoying suck-up in the original, I didn’t go down that path. You’ve done a complete revamp of his character. You’ve given him tattoos and a cool backstory. You’ve made him a convincing warrior. And he’s very interesting and human in this story. And I like the sparks he has with Chizza. You have a great romance going here.

I really admire how you’ve humanized the African warriors who die so quickly in the original. It’s really cool how all the screenwriters are taking different characters and playing around with them.

The strongest part of this screenplay are your characters. Almost across the board they are awesome. I love all their names in particular. I really like the bored evil of Septimius. I love the bit where Flavius (in the Quintus role) celebrates his death and how he’s going to be Caesar, while a zombie is rising up behind him. Funny. Awesome.

You’ve done an impressive amount of research on Rome. For instance this is the only screenplay I’ve seen that uses the term “Imperators.”

I like your slaveowner, Scarius. Although I think his introduction to us is a weak scene. His dialog is too on the nose. “As lanista of the school, I must always search for new blood.” Is he talking to Flavius or is he talking to the audience? It feels like he’s introducing himself to us. I mean, Flavius already knows who he is, right?

My big criticism in your first act is pacing. All these pages are interesting and fun to read. But you’re not delivering on that title. Your audience is expecting action. Where is it? Your first act goes on and on. We have gladiator training sequences, and the set-up for a love story, and the set-up for the zombies. But we don’t get to the fight with the Africans until page 28 (page 7 in the original). You’ve added 21 pages to the first act! Ouch. And the zombie makes his appearance on page 34.

I didn’t buy the Dacian-Attilius confrontation on page 32. “I meant no disrespect.” No disrespect? He tried to kill him in the arena! Dacian swung his sword at his throat and he would have died if he had not ducked. It’s such a bizarre thing to say. Attilius should laugh and say, “No disrespect? You tried to kill me!” And then Dacian could say that he knew Attilius would duck because he’s such a great warrior. Or something like that. If they are to be allies now you have to sell this scene. Right now I’m not buying it.

I love the Attilius-Dacian drinking scene on page 34-36. What a great backstory for Attilius. Fantastic scene.

You not only took out the elephant chase scene, you have zombies eat the elephants. Man!

Your dead naked zombie gladiators on page 48 are freaking me out. A bunch of legless, armless, dead naked guys, trying to grab me and drag me into a headless, armless, dead naked guy orgy! Oh no. Help! Dude, I cannot believe you replaced dead naked beautiful whore zombies with these guys. What a horrible, horrible choice.

Yea, rhinos!

Between the rhinos and the flood scene, and then the Circus Maximus scene, this is heading for $100 million budget, easy. After your war scene and your elephant attack, I dunno, $150 million? I think this might be the costliest screenplay I have read yet.

That’s a sadistic kill on page 70. Now it’s like Escape From New York. Except it’s Escape From Ancient Rome. Rome is turned into a giant prison.

“Care to share your thoughts, old man?” Weird way for a slave to talk to the guy who bought him. Are they equals now? When did that happen? Neither Dacian nor Scarius seem aware of any change in their relationship. He frees him a couple of pages later. So just change that line.

Dude, you got a zombie in a catapult! I did that. And you got zombie elephant! I did that too. Man. And we uploaded on the same day. Looks like you beat me by a few hours.

More elephant shenanigans in the third act! Need a lot of money to shoot this. Is this a zombie elephant or just an ordinary elephant?

Not a big fan of the shaman-talk-to-the-spirit-and-suck-up-the-bad-ju-ju-to-make-the-zombies-go-away scene in the cave. I don’t like that at all! When it actually happens, it’s pretty cool. It totally reminds me of X-Men and Jean Gray.

Why do they not kill Zombie-Septimus on page 94?

Oh you killed my amazon babe you bastard!

No, wait, you cured her. Cripes! The damn cure strikes again.

Transylvania?! Okay, that’s just too goofy. Vampires vs. Gladiators, here we come.

I feel like you have tonal shifts throughout the screenplay. It starts off like an Oscar drama. It’s Roots meets Spartacus. Then it’s Dawn of the Dead in Rome. It’s definitely dark there for a while in the 2nd act. And then by the third act, I got a huge comic book action vibe. Definitely big action sequences at the end.

What an expensive movie! Have you gone beyond the horror market? Can we afford to shoot this? I don’t know. Your drama in the first act is so good. You have a lot of amazing set pieces. I think your tone might be too dark in places. You’re still probably a couple of rewrites away. But right now it’s a fun, enjoyable read. Kudos.
 

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