Overall Recommendation:
4.0 stars
(3)
5 Stars:
33.33%
(1)
 
4 Stars:
33.33%
(1)
 
3 Stars:
33.33%
(1)
 
2 Stars:
0%
(0)
 
1 Stars:
0%
(0)
 
Premise:
5.0 stars
(3)
 
Story structure:
3.3 stars
(3)
 
Character:
4.0 stars
(3)
 
Dialogue:
3.7 stars
(3)
 
Emotion:
3.7 stars
(3)
 
 
1-3 of 3 reviews
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2 out of 3 people found the following review helpful:

nice character work, but falls apart in third act

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
 
Premise:
5 stars
 
Story structure:
2 stars
 
Character:
3 stars
 
Dialogue:
2 stars
 
Emotion:
2 stars
 
September 06, 2011
This version retains most of the original story, structure, and characters. The biggest changes are in the third act.

The Zombies now have a supernatural origin via an African shaman, who is also a new (but very sympathetic) villain. Titus only faces (and quickly finishes off) this villain late in the third act, so the conflict between them doesn’t drive the story.

Titus has a new back story as the son of a “traitor” senator, who killed a guard who was trying to rape his sister. This story could add emotional weight to Titus, but is presented rather blandly. The best improvement in Titus’s character comes from his fatherly relationship with the African slave boy, Kenta.

Thus, this version addresses the AS notes. However, I felt that overall it was at most a modest improvement on the original.

This draft has a lighter and funnier tone than the original. The new dialogue integrated smoothly, but I felt that only a few of the new lines were really strong.

Making Kenta (14) a major character seems designed to appeal to a younger audience, but this still feels like an R-rated movie. And in those days, a 14-year-old was a man; as written, the character seems to be more like age 10. Also, he seemed more like a “Temple of Doom” sidekick than a real emotional center like Newt in “Aliens.” So I liked this relationship, but it seems both lightweight and somewhat out of place.

And I think the script falls apart in the new third act. Suddenly, it gets very “small” and just peters out.

Specifics:

The new opening worked well – both visual and emotional, without a ton of exposition.

Pg. 16: History nerd note: The terms “pervert” and “child molester” don’t make sense in the context of Rome, where pederasty was widely accepted. You can get the point across that Antonius wants to buy the boy for sexual purposes without using terms that reflect a modern sensibility.

Good scene to establish Titus’s character, but it goes on a bit long.

Pg. 18: One denarii is a denarius.

Pg. 25: A little more on Titus’s back story, hinted at earlier. I think parceling it out like this works well but the final "payoff" is underwhelming.

Nice scene with the boy.

Pg. 38: I liked the “eaten” line.

Pg. 47: Seems odd for Octavius to announce that he’s dead.

Pg. 49: How did Titus get into the Imperial box if it was an “impossible leap” for a Zombie?

Pg. 50: And then how did Titus get Lavinia BACK to the arena floor?

Pg. 51: Why stop to shoot a spider when all hell is breaking loose? Waste of ammo.

Pg. 52: I didn’t care for the anachronistic “mighty nuts” line.

Pg. 54: Dinner scene is an energy killer.

Pg. 57: More on Titus’s back story.

Pg. 63: The wolf reappears, with Zombie-Flavius.

Pg. 65: New brothel scene dialogue is a bit clunky.

Pg. 78: Titus seems to agree to this plan too quickly. He’s free, so why so eager to help out?

Pg. 85: The burning estate idea didn’t make any sense to me. Why would the soldiers wait until the Zombies came BACK to the city? Why not surround them at the estate and drive them into the flames? And why would the Zombies WANT to go back to the well-defended city? Why not just wander off into the countryside and eat the peasants?

Not clear what the “rules” are here. If the shaman can make them come back to the city, why can’t he make them STAY in the city in the first place? This just seemed like vamping for time and filling pages – it’s didn’t really go anywhere.

Always love those Zombie rats, though…

Pg. 94: I’m not wild about the idea of a fully-articulate Zombie. Maybe have the shaman talk THOUGH Flavius? Also, Flavius is less interesting as a shaman’s puppet -- there's no real "bad guy" here now.

The flashback is totally unnecessary and kills the energy.

Pg. 95: Way too easy and anticlimactic to defeat the Zombies. The idea that some live and some die just seems vague.

96-101: Very anticlimactic. Chit chat and hugs and it just ends with a thud and a clumsy sequel setup.


I think this draft’s biggest strength is the Titus-Kenta relationship – but that doesn’t really fit with the rest of the movie.

And I think the biggest weaknesses are:

1) A lovable villain who isn’t in conflict with the hero.
2) A very weak third act.

There’s potential here, but a lot of work to be done.
 
3 out of 3 people found the following review helpful:

Nice Rewrite!

Overall Recommendation:
4 stars
 
Premise:
5 stars
 
Story structure:
3 stars
 
Character:
4 stars
 
Dialogue:
4 stars
 
Emotion:
4 stars
 
September 03, 2011
You kept all the cool scenes from the original, with the exception of the fight in the Senate. You added a new character, a kid, which totally reminded me of Newt from Aliens. I think this was a highly effective way of humanizing Titus, giving him a father vibe. (Like Newt gave Ripley a mother vibe). You might even consider making the kid younger. I think you missed an opportunity by not putting the kid is danger, real danger. Obviously you can’t hurt the kid, but cutting him off from the others, putting him in a scary, threatening place, that’s a very strong thing to do. See Aliens, see Jaws.

I like the humanization of the witch doctor, making him a grandfather. You like him right away. But then there’s a problem in that you dislike the Romans right away. The vibe I get from your opening is that the kid is our protagonist. And the Romans are our bad guys. That’s a bit of a problem as we need to pull for the Romans!

What you might consider is to connect Titus with the kid right from the beginning. For instance, what if we cut to Titus dreaming of himself when he is a boy, and we see a similar scene? He’s a kid, Roman soldiers, he’s kidnapped, he’s a slave? Just a tiny brief 1 or 2 page dream right before he preps for battle. So we know that Titus is a good guy.

I like having Titus at the docks, at a slave auction, keeping him involved in the story. Interesting choice.

You definitely have a pacing issue right now. You’re adding scenes but you’re not cutting any scenes. So the palace party is on page 27 on yours (page 14 in the original). Titus meets the Zombie on page 43 in yours (28 in the original). I had a big problem with the talking dinner scene (pages 54-59). Five pages of talking heads, right after the zombie outbreak? It really kills your forward momentum. Elephant chase is on page 60 in yours (page 37 in the original). So basically it’s taking you an hour to do what the original did in 37 minutes. Got to figure out ways to cut, cut, cut and get us out of the Colosseum quicker.

Interesting call to keep Victor alive, and then kill him!

Whorehouse is a little awkward with the kid. Naked whore zombies, awkward with the kid.

Moved the flaming zombies to after the whorehouse. That works. Rats in the house, I like that, too. You kept almost every single action set piece from the original. And it’s a definite improvement in the third act.

Overall I like it, good work. My one concern would be the pacing in the first half. The pacing in the original is frickin’ brilliant. Adding exposition and more scenes hurts. And that 5-page dinner scene in the Colosseum is not working. Overall, though, this is a quality rewrite. Good job.
 
2 out of 3 people found the following review helpful:

How to turn a good script into an excellent one

Overall Recommendation:
5 stars
 
Premise:
5 stars
 
Story structure:
5 stars
 
Character:
5 stars
 
Dialogue:
5 stars
 
Emotion:
5 stars
 
September 03, 2011
I thought that the initial script was original and exciting, but this draft worked on those strengths and took them to a new level. I particularly liked the new opening, the fleshing-out of Titus' character into a more charismatic and engaging one, and the fact that more prominence was given to how the demon/zombie came into being and magical rather than medical explanation was emphasised which made the whole script that much more visually exciting and thrilling. This was all done very cleverly, retaining most of the original scripts great action scenes and building on them. Good original work, but an even better re-write. Of the two versions, I would not only prefer to see this draft, but would recommend it to my friends. I think this script would make a great movie, and could even make a great deal of money. I'd back it.
 

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