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:
2.0 stars
(2)
 
Character:
2.0 stars
(2)
 
Dialogue:
3.0 stars
(2)
 
Emotion:
1.0 stars
(2)
 
 
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1 out of 3 people found the following review helpful:

Guilt and Zombies

Overall Recommendation:
2 stars
 
Premise:
5 stars
 
Story structure:
2 stars
 
Character:
2 stars
 
Dialogue:
2 stars
 
Emotion:
1 stars
 
September 09, 2011
Edited to include clarification from the author.

The Zombies now have a supernatural origin – the result of extreme CPR by an African shaman. It doesn’t appear that the shaman intended for the thing to infect Rome, but he also doesn’t seem to have warned anyone. Later, an African called the “doctor” explains how the Zombie thing works. Some lines suggest that the doctor is the same person as the shaman, other lines suggest otherwise. In any case, neither the doctor nor the shaman are villains.

Valerius, a Roman general, had a romantic relationship with Cassius, the soldier who became the first Zombie, and that’s why he brought him back to Rome in undead form. Valerius is also a Christian, and feels ashamed of his sexual preference. (The synopsis suggests that it’s Valerius’s “sin” that’s responsible for the Zombie plague -- per the author, "His "sin" is not his homosexuality, but in not destroying Cassius, allowing his heart to rule his head.")

Quintus is still the opportunistic villain he was in the original, but goes bad more quickly.

Titus seems rather full of himself in this version. I understand the intent is to show him arcing to a more engaging character, but I didn’t see that here.

Thus, only AS’s supernatural origin note has been fully addressed.

More than 50% of this script is new, and the new sections don’t have the energy of the original. Much of the script is very talky, and overall the new dialogue isn’t an improvement. In particular, I was bothered by the African doctor (though not the African Roman officer) speaking broken English.

I also had issues with the script’s logic.

Some specifics:

Pg. 6: The comment that Titus was “raised by animals” seems very odd, since it turns out later that he was simply raised by nomads. I can’t believe that even Romans would equate nomads with animals. And then this is repeated over and over and over…

Pg. 7: Wouldn’t the Tribune called Valerius “General”?

Pg. 8: Titus seems rather arrogant here. Why does he call it “his house” since he’s a slave and this is slave quarters? And if it’s supposed to be a joke it isn’t funny.

Pg. 9-10: One minute it seems that Quintus is supporting Titus, and the next it seems that he wants to get rid of him; not clear why there’s the change.. Also, it seems unlikely that Quintus as an ex-gladiator (or ex-novelty act) would rise to the rank of Senator.

Pg. 12: Why is there a cross on a box from Africa?

Seems odd that Flavius would bring Lavinia’s son to the bedroom where she’s just spent the night with a gladiator. Seems odd that he’d come to the room at all.

Pg. 14: I have a problem with all the versions in which Titus refusing to sleep with Lavinia makes the Emperor so angry he decides to kill him. Just seems like a crazy over-reaction.

Pg. 18: It doesn’t make sense to say that the Romans brought democracy to Africa when Rome wasn't a democracy and didn’t spread it around.

Pg. 19: I don’t understand why he concludes that the Roman gods are false, just because the African gods are powerful.

Also, I think you should show the burial and resurrection scene rather than cutting away before it.

Pg. 20: The stabbing comes out of nowhere. And it’s not yet chaotic enough for Quintus to think he can get away with this.

Pg. 23: I’d think it would take a lot more than this to make Titus cry.

Pg. 28: Seems a bit late for Lavinia to remember leaving her son behind.

Also, I’m not sure that Roman law would allow for an illegitimate heir, let alone the son of a slave girl.

The Coliseum didn’t have “private” sewers, any more than any modern building does. Whatever they poured into them would flow under the whole city. So setting the sewers on fire isn’t a great idea.

Pg. 30: The audience hasn’t had a chance to get really invested in Vitalis and care what happens about him. He seems a bit snotty so far.

Pg. 44: Suddenly Flavius is a scientist?

Pg. 58: Titus’s back story is rushed and has all the emotional impact of a resume. And his prior relationship with Lavinia seems to have no emotional affect on either of them.

I don’t really get the point of having the Emperor survive the first attack, only to have him die later.

Pg. 60: No idea what this line means: “Empirical will ultimately cause more death than I.”

72-74: Titus confronts Valerius with his homosexuality and suggests and that he had “corrupted” the younger man (Cassius), that this was a “mistake,” and that the army wouldn’t follow him if they knew.

This doesn’t make sense in a Roman context, where homosexuality was widely accepted and many Roman generals and Emperors (like Marc Antony and Hadrian) were homosexual or bisexual.

And for a modern audience, this makes Titus sound homophobic.

Pg. 74: “What would Jesus do?” seems like an attempt at a laugh line, but I thought it was awkward.

Pg. 105: I’m not fond of tacked-on scenes that just set up a sequel.

Overall, I thought this wasn’t an improvement on the original, and omitted many of the fun elements from the original.
 
2 out of 4 people found the following review helpful:

A Mixed Bag, but a second rounder.

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
 
Premise:
5 stars
 
Story structure:
2 stars
 
Character:
2 stars
 
Dialogue:
4 stars
 
Emotion:
1 stars
 
September 03, 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: The dialog, for the most part is a standout. There are a few on-the-nose, unneeded lines, but by and large, that alone made me want to keep reading.

Cons: Heavy, novel like description. It's well written, but not right for screenplays and it drags the screenplay down. Yet in other parts, the description is excellent... like with your description of Flavius on page 5. That's spot on, descriptive, characteristic and short. More please.

Rewrite:

Pros: You jumped right into the action with Cassius, disposing of some unneeded set up in the original. The characters are more developed.

Cons: I don't have a protagonist to root for in the first five pages. Titus shows up, but he might as well be scenery. I'm looking for an emotional connection. Yet I liked the description of his flaw in your synopsis. It would be nice to see it demonstrated right out of the gate, but if he's a jerk, there's got to be something to make me want to see him him through his transformation.
 

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