Thursday, 1 December 2016

Screenwriting: ARK

Writing is weird. You have to keep doing it in order to get better at it but sometimes it feels as if things aren't going your way. This is something I have had a bit of a problem with recently, I'm getting all these ideas but none of them are looking good on the page. It's easy to give up but you have to keep at it. I've been meaning to post this for a while and now that I've finally come round to it my writing routine has gotten better and a spark of inspiration has set a new script in motion. Over the summer however, I started writing the one I'm going to show you today, under the temporary title of 'ARK'. It's easy to let this blog turn into one that churns out review after review but being a screenwriter I wanted to share some more of my work with you guys, mainly to show you what I'm up to and also to gain some feedback as to how this work connects with audiences. Now, I've done a bit of this in the past and wanted to carry it on (hopefully) a bit more frequently by sharing the first five pages of one of my scripts. As I mentioned, today's one is from yet another sci-fi film I've half written; 'ARK'. Let's get into it, here's the working logline:

'A young farmer’s son must make it to Earth’s ‘life boat’, the Ark, in order to be with the love of his life, as the planet is to be engulfed by its exploding sun.'

This is a script I have actually written a lot of but have struggled with how to end it. It's a bit of an action love story set in space that is very fast paced and pushes it's main two characters to new depths in order for them to survive together. I really wanted to get the story moving and have a nice fight to start the film off, in order to give audiences a taste of what is to come in terms of pace and action. That fight is mostly shown in the opening five pages. Now, I would love some feedback, what do you think of this opening, does it work? Does this sound like something you would like to see? Did the writing grab your attention and make you want to read on? Let me know in the comments below or contact me over Twitter or email. Read the first five pages below and then get back to me and let me know!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Doctor Strange

Marvel's latest is finally here! I was always a little apprehensive about this one due to my disliking of Marvel films going too 'fantastical', my little knowledge on the character and Benedict Cumberbatch's American accent which sounded a little ropy in the trailers. I was however silly not to be excited because Marvel have come out with yet another hit and it might just be one of their best films yet. Find out why in my SPOILER FREE review.

Doctor Strange follows a former neurosurgeon as he embarks on a journey of healing only to be then drawn into the world of the mystic arts. The film has a very impressive cast with Benedict Cumberbatch finally getting to take centre stage in a big blockbuster film, supported by the likes of Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Mads Mikkelsen, Benedict Wong and Rachel McAdams. All do very well in their roles and put everything into bringing some of the comic-book characters to life. Though it is unfortunate that Rachel McAdams is not given much to do in the film apart from being the 'will they, won't they' love interest, one of its biggest flaws. It is forgivable though, this film could have been all over the place, introducing new characters, introducing magic and mysticism while still having an easy enough plot for audiences to follow is a hard task. The director, Scott Derrickson, thankfully pulls it off though and even brought the film in at just under two hours in length. The plot is tight, the pacing is fast and there is not one boring moment I can think of. 

The biggest criticism I have seen of this film so far has been it's 'paint by numbers' origin story. Now yes, there are certain elements that have been seen before but then there are also certain elements that are in every film, such as the character having and arc and overcoming their flaws. This is not something to criticise of this film, if anything it takes the tropes of the origin stories and plays with them, it feels fresh and exciting, there are elements which would be too spoilery to mention that made me so happy about how they went about settling things. Every action scene felt unique and creative, I was blown away by just how good the action was, it felt like something we had never seen before even if the comparisons to Inception are definitely going to be and have been made. Each action sequence was so character driven, each time Strange learnt something about himself and it moved him forward as a character. And yes the same might not be said about the villain, but Mads Mikkelsen still manages to make his presence felt, he might not be the most memorable villain but he definitely isn't the worst. This films is one of the most unique films I have seen Marvel pull off and only second to Guardians of the Galaxy. There’s a lot to get your head around here and they pull it off in great fashion, it’s not their funniest of films but the humour is injected in order for this film not to take itself too seriously and it does, and doesn’t take anything else away by doing so.

Now let’s talk about the visuals, one of the main elements of the film that most people agree with, this film looks stunning. The effects are amazing, they never felt out of place, they're trippy and magical and the people behind them must have had so much fun being able to play outside the box and do whatever they wanted with them. We're living in a day and age where these sort of effects can now be used so eloquently and so masterfully to make comic-book films look even more like their source material. And talking of comic book accuracy, bravo to the costume designers of this film, I might have read maybe one or two Doctor Strange comics in my lifetime but even I got chills when you first see Benedict Cumberbatch in full costume for the first time.

I was really surprised by how much I liked this one, I went in hoping for something better than Ant-Man and came out watching one of the best Marvel origin stories since the first Iron Man film. Seriously this film is brilliant, I even liked it more than Captain America: Civil War. I think in a world where superhero films are now being mass produced it's nice to have something that feels different, this is why people took to Deadpool so well and its why they're also going to take well to this one. More of this Marvel, more of this. I'm giving Doctor Strange a rating of  4.5/5.  Best superhero movie of the year. 

What did you think of Doctor Strange? One of Marvel's best or just another superhero film? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!