Friday, May 01, 2009

Thoughts on the scipt: Medieval


You know when you read a screenplay or see a movie or something and you want to run out and tell everybody how much you loved it but everybody’s already talking about how terrible it was?

Yeah, well.

Carson Reeves at Script Shadow and Scott Myers from Go Into The Story decided to make today a challenge for readers. We were to read the screenplay for Medieval and post our reviews as a discussion in the comments based on their reviews. Not one to back down from such a challenge, I read the script this morning when I was supposed to be making photocopies and lesson plans, which is why my lesson plan for today is “Hey, fill out this thing and see what you know.”

So I read Medieval. And I fucking loved it. And apparently nobody else did.

Medieval
is the story of seven different warriors - a Samurai, a Knight, a Gypsy, a Zulu, an Arab, a Viking (easily the most forgettable and unnecessary of the group), and a Monk - who are rescued from prison supposedly to steal the king’s crown, but soon find they were set up to take the fall for the king’s assassination,. Now the king’s brother, presumably the assassin’s boss, has sent his entire army of comic book warriors after our seven reluctant heroes. Also, there’s a girl.

Here are the problems:

They need to up their character development. A few characters are a tad anemic, but a pass or two will fix that problem, since all they really need is an extra moment here and there, a moment they could fold into the existing narrative.

This script has waaaaaay too many allusions. These guys obviously love movies and action movies in particular, so every couple of minutes they use a line from Star Wars or Cool Hand Luke or whatever, which is annoying because it takes me out of the script and makes me groan. I’d rather they just use their own words, because when they do it’s excellent.

Except that they use their own words just a tad too much. Now I love a good aside as much as anybody, but these guys are trying way too hard.

The story is reminiscent of many others. This is The Magnificent Seven and The Dirty Dozen and The Usual Suspects all over the place. I don’t think they were trying to hide it.

All that said, I don’t give a shit. I loved this script.

I loved it because it never stopped moving. This is the kind of momentum movies like Crank strive for, a constant rush from beginning to end, with just enough downtime to let you catch your breath. The action scenes, although at times a bit confusing, are straight up badass. Watching a Monk fight a Sumo wrestler and a Knight go to town on some Teutonics - cool. The set pieces here are amazing, and the writers make full use of their locations and the skills of their characters.

And the twist ending surprised me in a good way. I didn’t see it coming and I loved the way I’d been tricked. It kind of petered out after that, so on a rewrite they definitely need to finish on a stronger note, but all in all I was pleased as hell. It was a fast read and a strong story. There are some historical inaccuracies they need to clear up, but they left themselves a window when they put these characters in this time period and gave them modern language right from minute one - they established that this is a modern world inside an old world.

Anyway, I thought it was fucking fantastic overall. Nobody else did except the people who paid all the money to buy it. I’m not sure what that says about me.

13 comments:

  1. It says you are more in line with the movie goer than the script writer / reader who sometimes forget that movies are supposed to be fun.

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  2. the description of the plot reminds me of A League of Extraordinary Gentlemen... I hate it when people use classic lines from other films in their scripts. Unless you know, it's a reference joke to mock pop culture.

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  3. Hey Emily

    I'm having trouble downloading Medieval from the link on Carson's blog. Would you mind emailing it to me?

    Thanks

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  4. Don't think I enjoyed it quite as much as you Emily but Medieval was an incredibly fun read.

    The writers definitely wear their love of action movies on their sleeve, hence the plethora of references.

    Stylistically I didn't like all the Shane Black-isms (they should leave that to Shane Black) or the too modern dialogue.

    But I hope it gets made cause there seems to be a real lack of genuine kick-ass movies being made these days.

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  5. I actually have a diatribe coming up about "Shane Blackisms" but otherwise yeah.

    I didn't think this script was perfect, obviously, but I'm surprised by how many people outright hated it.

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  6. Hey Emily,

    I'm glad you liked it. There were a few others who seemed to as well. I didn't think it was "bad". I just wasn't jumping out of my seat. I think what we have here is a failure to communicate. :) Rarely do scripts survive a 4am read from me. This one did though and that says a lot!

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  7. I enjoyed it as well.

    I would sum this script up as Unusual Suspects meets the 13th warrior. Both of which I really liked.

    I was a bit suprised at the negative reviews. I was in it to have fun, as were the writers, and some people were down right repulsed at the script.

    I guess it takes all kinds.

    -Jim

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  8. Oh man that Cool Hand Luke line was the one moment in the script where I really wanted to smack the writers.

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  9. I didn't get your email. Luckily I was able to get the script through other means.

    Thanks for trying though.

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  10. Check your spam folder or something. I sent it.

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  11. Oh wait. I sent it to the wrong Matt.

    Well, other Matt, I hope you enjoy the screenplay.

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  12. I was just being a sarcastic little son of a bitch anyway. Don't mind me.

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  13. I loved it, too.It's going to be huge, unless someone screws it up.

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