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Monday, July 13, 2009

'Rogue Star' Script Review

Tarsonites - before we begin, just a quick reminder, you can check out my 'Uprising' script review over at the Script Shadow. If you're into writing and reading screenplays, and you haven't already checked out his site, make sure you do. It's pretty much the 'only' site on the web that reviews the hottest Hollywood screenplays out there. Even Hollywood executives are taking notice. This guy knows what he's talking about.

"The Man. The Legend. The Enigma. The Shadow. Bookmark him"


"Rogue Star"

Genre: Sci-Fi/Horror

Premise: Set in the distant future. The crew of a mining ship decide to investigate a derelict alien spacecraft. When they try to salvage the vessel, they discover something that will put Earth in grave danger.

About: This spec had some heat attached to it when it did the rounds back in April of this year. Apparently, an A-list director was circling the project, but since then the project has gone cold, at least for the time being.

Writer: Jeff Black

When it comes to movie genres, contained horror is my thing, especially contained horror that revolves around one core element: survival. And when you throw in a spooky spaceship and a couple of alien bad guys - I’m so there. I really love this kind of stuff. Now, as some of you may or may not know, I’m a huge video game geek, and last year Electronic Arts released this great Xbox 360 title called “Dead Space.” If you were to pitch it to a studio, it would simply be “Pandorum” meets “Alien.” Or even “Event Horizon” meets “The Thing.” Rogue Star had a similar vibe, and I love nothing more than a dark, sci-fi/horror script. I still hold Ridley Scott’s Alien as one of the all-time greatest horror movies, ever made. Plus being a genre writer myself, I have a few similar ideas bouncing around, so it’s always good to see what the competition is doing. Fortunately, with Rogue Star, I have nothing to worry about.

This script was terrible.

Before we begin, the writer has to explain all this “futuristic tech stuff”, which I find, more often than not, comes off as annoying and cheap. In Rogue Star, characters wear “Mods” which are hair-thin fibres that run throughout the body, designed to enhance certain characteristics. The characters also wear “Vizion”, which are contact lens computer screens attached to the eye. You can receive data feeds and all kinds of kinky stuff via your Vizion.

"Yarrrggh! There's gold in dem hills."

Now, the problem with Rogue Star is not the writer’s ideas – fact is, he has some very cool ideas - it’s the execution of them. I don’t care what anyone says, you can have the most original hook for a movie ever conceived, but if you execute it badly, you’re screwed. Simple as that. By page 60 I was still trying to figure out what the hell was going on. Our main characters had boarded this alien vessel, which was built into a huge asteroid, and were still roaming its corridors. Nobody knew what was going on, me or the characters. I don’t think the writer did either. It was a just huge, boring mess, hurdling towards earth at a speed that was, quite frankly, not fast enough. The dialogue primarily consisted of characters bickering and joking with each other, and to top things off, once the big secret was out, they somehow managed to navigate the alien vessel, even though the aerodynamics and flight control system was totally alien. And when I say alien, I mean alien as in, WTF does this button do, kinda’ alien. How they figured all this out and managed to fly an alien ships back home, beats me. To be perfectly honest, by that stage, I was light years away from even giving a shit.

Look, I’ll leave the rest up to you guys. I just didn’t get this script. Maybe you will. I get what the writer was trying to do, but I think he flat out failed. I wasn’t expecting a masterpiece by any means, but I certainly wasn’t expecting something this boring either. I know there’s quite a few of you who will agree with me when I say – Rogue Star was a really great idea, poorly executed. Read it and be the judge.

Script Link: Rogue Star

[x] trash
[ ] barely kept my interest
[ ] worth the read
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius

What I Learned: If you’re going to do something, do it properly. Know your genre. Know it well. If you write horror, then make it horrific and scary, because if you don’t, potential buyers will only see right through you.