Here’s one more evaluation for a script of mine from the Blacklist. I find these encouraging, but I think I’ve gone as far as I can with getting feedback, so this will be the last one for a while. I should pick out some choice quotes from these like they do on movie posters, then print it out and mail it to myself, then I dunno, burn it or something. That’s my New Year’s resolution. Burn stuff. Anyway, is this encouraging? Should I keep going? I guess keep going.
Victorian London, England
Action & Adventure
A sickly geologist in Victorian London is suddenly given super-powers after coming into contact with a strange, and possibly alien, crystal.
With an instantly appealing steam-punk premise, this is a genre-piece that hits all the right buttons. The setting – a retrofitted Victorian England populated with gentlemen scientists, detectives and escaped convicts – is expertly painted. From the chase through the ‘Crystal Palace’, a kind of world’s fair of natural curiosities, to the final scenes at the white cliffs of Dover, the Victorian landscape is used to full and stunning effect. The plot itself is quite simple but very effective, and the action and chase sequences in the second half are exciting. The main characters, friends-and-rivals Haldane and Colleton, are perfectly matched: the one a Polio-stricken, shy man, the other a dashing gentleman, their conflict is at the heart of the story, and gives it an edge and energy it might otherwise lack.
Some of the dialogue is a little uninspired, and occasionally gets the cadences and details of British English wrong. Case in point: it is hard to imagine a prim and proper Victorian wife saying ‘He should bloody well be made to pay’. Inconsistencies like that aside, most of the dialogue is serviceable if not exactly scintillating. Beyond that, the second half of the film occasionally feels like one long chase sequence, which is par for the course in an action/adventure film but still worth pointing out. Luckily, most of these scenes take place in interesting locations, and are rarely dull, despite coming one after the other in quick succession. The relationship between Haldane and Colleton is so strong and has so much potential, but in the third act it seems like in the scenes between them lack the charge that they have in the first two. It would be nice to have a scene later in the script where they really get to air their grievances and get everything out in the open. That would add psychological depth to the last act, which occasionally feels like its just going through the motions.
This is a script that fits neatly into the larger steam-punk trend which has recently seen its fair share of success at the box office. In many ways it is reminiscent of the Robert Downey Jr. ‘Sherlock Holmes’ movies, in that it is action-oriented while still aiming for intelligent dialogue and plotting. Overall, with so many exciting sequences, and a strong antagonistic relationship at the center of it, this is a script that could easily get noticed. It would be a welcome – and original – addition to the endless parade of super-hero and franchise summer films.
Check it out on the Blacklist here.