Overall Recommendation:
3.2 stars
(5)
5 Stars:
0%
(0)
 
4 Stars:
20.0%
(1)
 
3 Stars:
80.0%
(4)
 
2 Stars:
0%
(0)
 
1 Stars:
0%
(0)
 
Premise:
3.0 stars
(3)
 
Story structure:
3.0 stars
(3)
 
Character:
3.0 stars
(2)
 
Dialogue:
2.3 stars
(3)
 
Emotion:
2.7 stars
(3)
 
 
1-5 of 5 reviews
Sort: Newest | Most helpful
0 out of 1 people found the following review helpful:

Interesting concept that follows close behind similar projets

Overall Recommendation:
4 stars
 
Premise:
3 stars
 
Story structure:
3 stars
 
Character:
3 stars
 
Dialogue:
3 stars
 
Emotion:
4 stars
 
July 07, 2012
 
0 out of 1 people found the following review helpful:

The story goes as written by the original writers. Kudos for their idea...

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
 
Premise:
2 stars
 
Story structure:
2 stars
 
Character:
No rating
 
Dialogue:
1 stars
 
Emotion:
1 stars
 
June 30, 2012
The overall review on Gladiators versus Zombies, goes as follow:

As I mentioned earlier, the Intro of this screenplay's descriptive method is wonderful.
But, somethings do need attention, some parts need more and some parts need less.

Pg. 4. Emperior Flavius explains to his wife.
Idea: It doesn't sound too much of a attitude. Usually, Emperor(s) are arrogant and
snobbish with their thoughts, unless one provokes them. Nevertheless, they are more
selfish with devulging their thoughts to their wife.

Pg. 5. Using professional standards are fine, especially when voicing one's opinion in a
situation, pertaining to the story.
Idea: Perhaps, one could use a character to exclaim the incredible event at hand.

Pg. 9-10. The "ACTION" is well written for the lounging room, when Lavinia entertains the
fighters.
Idea: The incredible scene where a hostess entertains others is for expression. The dialogue
for this scene slows the flow of that particular event.
Perhaps, by having the Gladiators shouting at each other for entertainment/amusement could heighten the moment of luxury. A point to avoid "redundancy" would be when Lavinia talks to Titus, then the scene goes right into the bedroom.
BEDROOM SCENE: To ENTICE the VIEWER to get emotionally aroused for "her" lust for this magnificent fighter. It could have been more cleaner and intellectually stimulating watching a lusty woman seduce the man with fine wine, special gifts and lusty moments of a sponge bath while Titus watches her and her maidens bathe her. It far better to pamper the viewer's curiousity.

Pg. 35 Zombies attack in the Senate Chamber.
Question: Why is BOKOR standing with the group?
Idea: A solution for BOKOR acting as nothing is happening, with him stimulating nothing to the situation. Couldn't BOKOR walk toward the Zombies using his powers to manipulate the zombies for his use? As he did before, with the WOLF...

Pg. 41. Hermann is helping everyone up a ladder or over a wall and Bokor surrenders his hand for help.
Idea: Would it be too much trouble to have BOKOR refuse Hermann's hand and cause a situation for the group. BOKOR is walking around with people, making him appear weak.
It would be more intense if BOKOR resisted all along.

The rest of the story goes okay, but some more ideas are listed below.

One idea: BOKOR's Character foundation.

The Witch Doctor who appears distant from the moment he is introduced in the story. He doesn't raise hell and simply follows along like a stray dog. Once in awhile, he'll make a scrappy comment, but nothing worth while.
Perhaps, a backstory for the magical queen, **(it does sounds as if he is a queer with no attitude and if one goes that way, it may work better). So, to add to this character situation, it could be stronger, if one could exploit his magical powers throughout the sci-fi action. BOKOR could have strong magic to bring the group to difficult situations. (I.E. Making scorpions appear from the wall and attack the escaping group). BOKOR should press the action against the group. To make them think twice to keep him along. This would weigh on every move the escaping group tried when BOKOR forces them to reconsider having him tag along.

Daniel M.
 
0 out of 1 people found the following review helpful:

Is Amazon Studios still interested in this?

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
 
Premise:
No rating
 
Story structure:
No rating
 
Character:
No rating
 
Dialogue:
No rating
 
Emotion:
No rating
 
April 22, 2012
From our website - http://writetoreel.com/zombies-vs-gladiators


First off, I want to apologize and this is a “Hank” review. My reviews are in no way as eloquent or visually appealing as Roy’s. For that I apologize.

Having said that, the reason I’ve chosen this script is I stumbled upon this contest on Amazon Studios. As we research our target demographic, Amazon Studios is a prime location where I think new writers will be interested in getting some detailed notes when the price is right. Or in our case, free.

I’ve chosen to review the contest winning rewrite of Zombies vs. Gladiators by Lauri which you can find here, and have not read the original script so I don’t know how it differs. Essentially I picked this rewrite as it was an award winner, and with other sites having reviewed the annual award winning script, I wanted to do something different.

Enough chatting, let’s get to reviewing.

1.) Can we visualize the description?

Lauri did a really good job of researching the terminology of both the setting and culture of the time. I’m not a historian, but the way she describes things likes palaces, slaves quarters, etc. it’s more than just, “They walk past a pillar.”

10 out of 10 points.

2.) Does the author use an acceptable format?

Formatting is also acceptable. As there’s no “set in stone” exact format, I’m not going to pick her apart. There are certain things Lauri uses like, “we see,” parentheticals, and ellipses that I don’t necessarily agree with, but she uses them sparingly, so like I said, it’s not worth deducting points.

10 out of 10 points..

3.) Is the dialogue free of exposition and rich in subtext? Does each character have a unique voice?

Here’s where things start to unravel a bit. Hermann has his own unique voice, and is crafted well. After that though, the rest of the characters begin to fall flat with the way they speak. The easiest example of this is Titus and Daria interacting, especially when trying to develop a romance. It was painful.

Dialogue is hard for almost every writer, so I feel bad being critical about this, but as it’s been said countless times before, we should be able to tell who is speaking even if a character’s name is covered.

3 out of 10 points.

4.) Does the writer understand the challenges and rewards posed by the medium in which they’ve chosen to tell his/her story? Shorthand version of this is: Is it a movie and not a play?

The name itself generates a basic trailer in the mind of the reader. With the large setting and even larger action scenes you’d have a hard time fitting this on a single stage. However, I will deduct a few points as at times I felt I was reading more of a realty TV series script than a character driven screenplay.

8 out of 10 points.

5.) Is there anything unique in what the writer presents? Are the writer’s idea, based on this sample, likely to continue to be original?

I mentioned above I enjoyed that Lauri had a bit of knowledge for the setting she was writing in, but that enough doesn’t yield originality.

The first opening scenes were easily regurgitations of Gladiator, Rome, and even Spartacus (the Starz series). We’ve seen gladiator movies before, and we’ve seen zombie movies before, but what we haven’t seen is a movie that blends the two. This is what people are longing to see, and within the first 15 pages I was yawning, having seen very similar situations in previous works.

What would be more interesting (and original) is having the zombies present in the very first scene. Instead of Titus and his buds fighting slaves, have them fighting captured zombies for sport. This creates an alternate Rome, where zombies are a nuisance, but kept under control to entertain the masses.

2 out of 10 points.

6.) Does the script have a hook?

Again, the title is Zombies vs. Gladiators. Nine out of ten people will instantly perk up when you say the title alone and ask about it. I think this is one of the reasons Amazon Studios was so interested in it in the first place.

15 out of 15 points.

7.) Is that hook effective?

The hook itself is effective, but it takes us a while to get there. Lauri set’s up a B story with Titus being the actual father of the next emperor. Although I think this idea is effective, it takes too long to set up, and thus takes too long to get to zombie fighting. Just as effective would be Flavius knowing his wife’s lust for Titus, and seeing the similarity in his child’s face to that of the gladiator.

Once the zombies show up though, the characters’ goal is pretty self explanatory, stop the zombies.

10 out 15 points.

8.) Is there enough to maintain the hook? Reveals, conflict, etc.?

This is another problem I had with the script. Although there are a decent amount of good scenes, especially when taking into account the genre, they don’t flow well. There isn’t a steady build up.

The best analogy of this was when I heard someone describe Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. The story was hard to follow, and it felt like they just wrote a bunch of REALLY EXCITING scenes and then had different production companies try to outdo each other when shooting those action sequences.

Zombies vs. Gladiators felt like that, and there wasn’t a steady build up to a climax. Although there were good scenes, characters got out of trouble too easy.

For instance, one scene has the main characters riding two war elephants through a horde of zombies. Cool setting, especially when zombies start climbing the elephants’ armor. Uh-oh. But our main gladiator, Titus, just flips a pachyderm bitch, and squishes the zombies off as the elephants pass by each other.

A simple way to improve the scene is have one of the elephants get overrun, and just when all seems lost, have Titus ride his elephant over. Right as the elephant loses balance, being brought down by the zombie horde, the two remaining main characters jump, with Titus struggling to pull them aboard his elephant while zombies nip at their sandaled heels.

Another example of “too easy” is just how willing everyone is to let the empress escape with rough and tumble slaves.

Pg. 40ish, where they escape the Senate. These are senators who consider themselves the elite of Rome. When confronted with the idea of staying to “die in the name of the empress” they should at least put up a fight. Not one of they or the soldiers argue that it should be Titus and his team of gladiators that should be staying. This would add much needed conflict. It should also develop how Lavinia is able to coerce others to get what she wants.

One last note on this topic is character development. Titus felt flat. I get that killing has become boring to him, and I like it, especially with the idea of his love for Daria making him feel alive, but that needs to be developed more. Also, if he’s going to have the son angle, he should want to become a man that his son could be proud of.

An example of how to fix this is have he and his friends get their papers to be free in the troop garrison. They’ve escorted the empress to safety and she releases them, but when Hermann turns to go, Titus chooses to stay behind, to save Rome and it’s people. Using this idea also adds more of a payoff when the empress betrays he and Daria later in the story and makes us cheer for Titus to succeed.

2 out of 10 points.

9.) Does the story play to a target audience, and have the elements demanded by that audience?

Although I think Lauri got the gladiator part down, with epic fighting and such, I think she missed the mark on the zombies.

Having zombies with glowing red eyes, uncanny healing abilities, and the ability to communicate and reason felt unnatural. Almost as unnatural as vampires that “sparkle” when they’re in the sunlight.

Flavius’s plot was decent and helped move the story along, but I think he needs a slight change. Making him into a jealous brother type character works better, where he can choose to control the zombies and unleash them as a horde in a play to become emperor. This way he can do cool things like drive a zombie driven chariot, but the zombies stay mindless which gives out characters the opportunity to defeat them.

Another example common to horror/zombie movies is having characters split up. This could easily be worked into scenes like where the fleeing Romans enter the brothel. Having Hermann go off on his own, and teasing him (and us) with the three naked girls could have been built up a bit more. Especially when you consider we can’t seem them through the steam so it’d scare the hell out of him and us as the audience. Ideas like this combine the old of zombie flicks in the settings of Rome.

*EDIT* Something I forgot to mention. VERY much disliked the cure being “what all men need” part of the script, and then it turning out to be salt. At first I was expecting “love” and rolled my eyes, but then when it was salt, I was almost wishing for love. The whole thing felt like the Signs “swing away Merrill” plot point. We all know how fast and far M. Night Shyamalan has fallen by rehashing the same “crazy twist” plots, so it is my suggestion (take that for what it’s worth) to rework the salt angle, or consider dropping that type of cure altogether.

5 out of 10 points.

Total Score:

65 out of 100 points.
 
2 out of 3 people found the following review helpful:

Is Amazon Studios still interested in this?

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
 
Premise:
No rating
 
Story structure:
No rating
 
Character:
No rating
 
Dialogue:
No rating
 
Emotion:
No rating
 
March 27, 2012
From our website - http://writetoreel.com/zombies-vs-gladiators


First off, I want to apologize and this is a “Hank” review. My reviews are in no way as eloquent or visually appealing as Roy’s. For that I apologize.

Having said that, the reason I’ve chosen this script is I stumbled upon this contest on Amazon Studios. As we research our target demographic, Amazon Studios is a prime location where I think new writers will be interested in getting some detailed notes when the price is right. Or in our case, free.

I’ve chosen to review the contest winning rewrite of Zombies vs. Gladiators by Lauri which you can find here, and have not read the original script so I don’t know how it differs. Essentially I picked this rewrite as it was an award winner, and with other sites having reviewed the annual award winning script, I wanted to do something different.

Enough chatting, let’s get to reviewing.

1.) Can we visualize the description?

Lauri did a really good job of researching the terminology of both the setting and culture of the time. I’m not a historian, but the way she describes things likes palaces, slaves quarters, etc. it’s more than just, “They walk past a pillar.”

10 out of 10 points.

2.) Does the author use an acceptable format?

Formatting is also acceptable. As there’s no “set in stone” exact format, I’m not going to pick her apart. There are certain things Lauri uses like, “we see,” parentheticals, and ellipses that I don’t necessarily agree with, but she uses them sparingly, so like I said, it’s not worth deducting points.

10 out of 10 points..

3.) Is the dialogue free of exposition and rich in subtext? Does each character have a unique voice?

Here’s where things start to unravel a bit. Hermann has his own unique voice, and is crafted well. After that though, the rest of the characters begin to fall flat with the way they speak. The easiest example of this is Titus and Daria interacting, especially when trying to develop a romance. It was painful.

Dialogue is hard for almost every writer, so I feel bad being critical about this, but as it’s been said countless times before, we should be able to tell who is speaking even if a character’s name is covered.

3 out of 10 points.

4.) Does the writer understand the challenges and rewards posed by the medium in which they’ve chosen to tell his/her story? Shorthand version of this is: Is it a movie and not a play?

The name itself generates a basic trailer in the mind of the reader. With the large setting and even larger action scenes you’d have a hard time fitting this on a single stage. However, I will deduct a few points as at times I felt I was reading more of a realty TV series script than a character driven screenplay.

8 out of 10 points.

5.) Is there anything unique in what the writer presents? Are the writer’s idea, based on this sample, likely to continue to be original?

I mentioned above I enjoyed that Lauri had a bit of knowledge for the setting she was writing in, but that enough doesn’t yield originality.

The first opening scenes were easily regurgitations of Gladiator, Rome, and even Spartacus (the Starz series). We’ve seen gladiator movies before, and we’ve seen zombie movies before, but what we haven’t seen is a movie that blends the two. This is what people are longing to see, and within the first 15 pages I was yawning, having seen very similar situations in previous works.

What would be more interesting (and original) is having the zombies present in the very first scene. Instead of Titus and his buds fighting slaves, have them fighting captured zombies for sport. This creates an alternate Rome, where zombies are a nuisance, but kept under control to entertain the masses.

2 out of 10 points.

6.) Does the script have a hook?

Again, the title is Zombies vs. Gladiators. Nine out of ten people will instantly perk up when you say the title alone and ask about it. I think this is one of the reasons Amazon Studios was so interested in it in the first place.

15 out of 15 points.

7.) Is that hook effective?

The hook itself is effective, but it takes us a while to get there. Lauri set’s up a B story with Titus being the actual father of the next emperor. Although I think this idea is effective, it takes too long to set up, and thus takes too long to get to zombie fighting. Just as effective would be Flavius knowing his wife’s lust for Titus, and seeing the similarity in his child’s face to that of the gladiator.

Once the zombies show up though, the characters’ goal is pretty self explanatory, stop the zombies.

10 out 15 points.

8.) Is there enough to maintain the hook? Reveals, conflict, etc.?

This is another problem I had with the script. Although there are a decent amount of good scenes, especially when taking into account the genre, they don’t flow well. There isn’t a steady build up.

The best analogy of this was when I heard someone describe Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. The story was hard to follow, and it felt like they just wrote a bunch of REALLY EXCITING scenes and then had different production companies try to outdo each other when shooting those action sequences.

Zombies vs. Gladiators felt like that, and there wasn’t a steady build up to a climax. Although there were good scenes, characters got out of trouble too easy.

For instance, one scene has the main characters riding two war elephants through a horde of zombies. Cool setting, especially when zombies start climbing the elephants’ armor. Uh-oh. But our main gladiator, Titus, just flips a pachyderm bitch, and squishes the zombies off as the elephants pass by each other.

A simple way to improve the scene is have one of the elephants get overrun, and just when all seems lost, have Titus ride his elephant over. Right as the elephant loses balance, being brought down by the zombie horde, the two remaining main characters jump, with Titus struggling to pull them aboard his elephant while zombies nip at their sandaled heels.

Another example of “too easy” is just how willing everyone is to let the empress escape with rough and tumble slaves.

Pg. 40ish, where they escape the Senate. These are senators who consider themselves the elite of Rome. When confronted with the idea of staying to “die in the name of the empress” they should at least put up a fight. Not one of they or the soldiers argue that it should be Titus and his team of gladiators that should be staying. This would add much needed conflict. It should also develop how Lavinia is able to coerce others to get what she wants.

One last note on this topic is character development. Titus felt flat. I get that killing has become boring to him, and I like it, especially with the idea of his love for Daria making him feel alive, but that needs to be developed more. Also, if he’s going to have the son angle, he should want to become a man that his son could be proud of.

An example of how to fix this is have he and his friends get their papers to be free in the troop garrison. They’ve escorted the empress to safety and she releases them, but when Hermann turns to go, Titus chooses to stay behind, to save Rome and it’s people. Using this idea also adds more of a payoff when the empress betrays he and Daria later in the story and makes us cheer for Titus to succeed.

2 out of 10 points.

9.) Does the story play to a target audience, and have the elements demanded by that audience?

Although I think Lauri got the gladiator part down, with epic fighting and such, I think she missed the mark on the zombies.

Having zombies with glowing red eyes, uncanny healing abilities, and the ability to communicate and reason felt unnatural. Almost as unnatural as vampires that “sparkle” when they’re in the sunlight.

Flavius’s plot was decent and helped move the story along, but I think he needs a slight change. Making him into a jealous brother type character works better, where he can choose to control the zombies and unleash them as a horde in a play to become emperor. This way he can do cool things like drive a zombie driven chariot, but the zombies stay mindless which gives out characters the opportunity to defeat them.

Another example common to horror/zombie movies is having characters split up. This could easily be worked into scenes like where the fleeing Romans enter the brothel. Having Hermann go off on his own, and teasing him (and us) with the three naked girls could have been built up a bit more. Especially when you consider we can’t seem them through the steam so it’d scare the hell out of him and us as the audience. Ideas like this combine the old of zombie flicks in the settings of Rome.

*EDIT* Something I forgot to mention. VERY much disliked the cure being “what all men need” part of the script, and then it turning out to be salt. At first I was expecting “love” and rolled my eyes, but then when it was salt, I was almost wishing for love. The whole thing felt like the Signs “swing away Merrill” plot point. We all know how fast and far M. Night Shyamalan has fallen by rehashing the same “crazy twist” plots, so it is my suggestion (take that for what it’s worth) to rework the salt angle, or consider dropping that type of cure altogether.

5 out of 10 points.

Total Score:

65 out of 100 points.
 
11 out of 15 people found the following review helpful:

Grammatical errors detract from the good "cut 'n' paste" beginning.

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
 
Premise:
4 stars
 
Story structure:
4 stars
 
Character:
3 stars
 
Dialogue:
3 stars
 
Emotion:
3 stars
 
September 23, 2011
This (RTF 135 page) 2 hours 15+ minutes of script would expand if formatted correctly; making it stretch beyond the stipulated competition page quota of 135. (The incorrectly formatted PDF says 113pages, which is too long vertically even for Lizard's eyes.)

Only 2-lines before the SCENE HEADER when there should be three. There are many 1-line spaced locations as listed below. Correctly formatted this script would be 137+ pages long, break entry guidelines and be ineligible for competition.

IN THE IMPERIAL BOX

ON THE FLOOR

BEDROOM

Bad format:
Elements that should be on the same page cascade from one page to the next in fragments, i.e. CHARACTER NAME and DIALOGUE. These elements should be together. Correct format would make this script even longer!

Here is a list of Tautology: ‘an unnecessary repetition of elements’ which I found very annoying.

Over use of the double dash -- (178), and ellipsis… (98).

Other Hollywood Gatekeeper nightmares:
Passive elements in descriptive action; such as the dreaded royal ‘we’ (174), ‘is’ (100), are (84), ‘as’ (388), ‘begins to’ and there’s an unnecessary use of “quotation marks” in spoken dialogue. Add to that list, ‘when’ (17), ‘until’ (13), and ‘before’ (9).

‘The emperor’ refers to a particular individual and is thus a proper noun. You introduced the character as EMPEROR FLAVIUS so you should at least capitalize his name each time you mention Emperor instead of just saying emperor.

Inconsistent:
You call a character Captain Caeso then Caeso and flit between both forms through out. Choose one and stick to it.

p. 5 Slaves rush on… SLAVES should be capitalized upon their first appearance; if they are to be played by actors.

Script pages are not numbered.

Script does not end with THE END.

This is not US screenplay format.

Grammatical errors continue with the use of apostrophes to abbreviate through out your action descriptions (restrict this to spoken dialogue.) Some action descriptions tell without showing. There is an unusual occurrence of past tense descriptions such as ‘been’ (3) in present tense action lines and some action elements hover without any connection to a character leaving the reader to presume possession to a character which is mentioned later, which is annoying.

Quote: “The prisoners move into the arena, wary and disorganized.”
‘wary’ means cautious and watchful which contradicts you saying ‘and disorganized.’
Maybe you meant to say ‘weary’ which is ‘out of strength, patience, endurance’ and is in keeping with the prisoners being ‘disorganized’. A word sounding the same but having a different meaning is called a homophone. It’s in any dictionary of grammar.
* The above just may just be a simple spelling mistake.

The start of this script showcases some of the best components from the original script and wedges them into the starting pages. I feel that you have burnt up some of the original’s great elements very quickly and it may impress the skimmers (those who may not wish to read beyond page 5) but the regular Joe who studies your script will notice after 5 pages the “cut ‘n’ paste” creativity shown in the first 5 pages has become far reaching as I read a monster mash of ‘great’ elements from other scripts that did not make the cut.

TRACIE’S DRAFT has a very similar AFRICAN section/sorcery feel.

KARL’S DRAFT has an early setup for the use of salt as a mineral to fight evil. You made it a tear, but with no setup.

Enough said regarding this matter.

The arena intro… A dozen (that’s 12) armed prisoners versus 8 Gladiators (TITUS, HERMANN and a half dozen other gladiators) even the dumbest prisoner would turn and attack the Gladiator Handlers armed with mere leather WHIPS rather than face a hard-steel death in the arena. Audiences like a fight but not a dumb enemy.

The rest of the box is occupied by SENATORS and their WIVES, COURTESANS, and WEALTHY GUESTS.

The basic ‘Spelling and Grammar check’ would suggest you replace it with a much more powerful and better sentence...

SENATORS and their WIVES, COURTESANS, and WEALTHY GUESTS occupy the rest of the box.

This 2 hours 15+ minutes of footage would expand if formatted correctly; making it stretch well beyond the stipulated competition page quota (RTF is 135+ pages long. The incorrect PDF 113. Hmm)

As an advocate against rape I am pleased the DRAFT 1 - RAPE SCENE has been omitted from this DRAFT 2; but still find the depiction of sexually desperate ‘slaves and sandals women’, STEREOTYPICAL and DEGRADING.

Prospective investors: As a film; think DVD release and you may break even.

Footnote: (added 3rd Oct, 2011) A cliché script 'every novel reader desires'; but this is meant to be a script right? Reformat it into a TV mini-series and my opinion is it will work.
 

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