WINM Forums :: The Library :: Shadow 19 - script. And, heck, Passengers too while we're at it

Shadow 19 - script. And, heck, Passengers too while we're at it
Anakin McFly
2009-10-02 01:11

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There appears to be a lot of differing views on this from the four different people whose opinions of it I've heard, so I thought I'd start a thread.

First off: compared to Passengers, Shadow 19 is a lot more mainstream sci-fi action with aliens and lots of stuff blowing up, whereas Passengers is more of an introspective existentialist piece. Anothing thing that struck me was that while Passengers hooked me from the first page and didn't let go, Shadow 19 took some time to warm up to the story.

Screenwriter and script reviewer Carson Reeves (no relation to Keanu, as he points out on his blog) said:
"Kudos to you, Mr. Spaihts. I never had multiple orgasms while reading the first ten pages of a screenplay until Shadow 19 (and I’ve read a lot of scripts)."
http://scriptshadow.blogspot.com/2009/09/shadow-19.html

My friend kleenexwoman suggests that he has a very good vibrator. and yeah, I definitely wouldn't go that far, and had not a single orgasm throughout the script, but scripts generally don't do that. Carson also rates this two things above Passengers, which I'd disagree with. Generally I disagree with his script ratings.

I still enjoyed Shadow 19 a lot though (possibly due in part to how I'm a gamer and Carson mentioned that gamers would like it because there's something about the wild blowing up of aliens that makes us happy on some level), and definitely want to see this made eventually, though after they're done with Passengers.

LucaM said that the story came across as very average and cliche, but I actually kind of liked that; it seemed sort of like a homage to all the classic old school sci-fi traditions, and in that sense the clicheness worked for it. It was like the sci-fi story, the integration of all of those separate plots into one, but modernised, which I thought was interesting.

I like how it manages to incorporate a lot of the classic scifi themes and plotlines into one story. Colonisation of alien planets, overcrowding of future worlds, aliens, identity crises from transportation by duplication, more aliens, scientist conspiracies, the idea of humans as the invaders, etc.

In a way it felt like Spaihts was paying respects to all the writers who had influenced him and his writing.

Regarding the rest of the story - I loved the whole existential thing with the transporter, which was something that got touched on in The Prestige (awesome book, awesome movie) but got sort of more fleshed out here. The whole question of what makes you you, and so on. not to mention that any scene with multiple keanuspawn is good by me.

I think that overall, once the post-reading-hype dies down, I still prefer Passengers, but regarding the fish - they'd probably receive this one a lot better seeing as how it's Keanu and sci-fi and action, which for many of them is what they consider his 'proper place'. :\\ Although I can already see the gifs of 'I'm so stupid' coming out, once they're done with 'I'm not an actor' from Henry's Crime. You heard it here first.

In terms of box office: I think Shadow 19 is more of a sure-hit than Passengers, which is much more risky though with the potential to be really great if done right. Shadow 19 is... safer, more of good solid fun with little room to go wrong and with definitely more mass appeal. Less original, but yeah... safe. Tried and tested formula, and still better than a lot of the crap that's being churned out these days. And it gave me several adrenaline rushes, which is pretty unusual for something that's not a movie.

(Meanwhile, Joel Silver is still attached to produce Shadow 19 if it ever gets made, which would make a lot of Matrix fans happy.)

Passengers is more of a quieter indie film of the sort that might however get a cult following, and I'll definitely be part of it; it also however would depend much more heavily on Keanu's acting, for better or worse. It might be the film that convinces a few more fish that he can act, but if he doesn't do a good job... :\\

LucaM
2009-10-02 02:06


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... it seems that me and Ani have to agree to disagree on all scripts but Passengers :D

I like Spaihts' writing style, and his humor. Not enough to have an orgasm (let alone the plural),though ;)
But then, it depends on what one is looking for when reading a script. I tend to play the movie in my head while reading. No particular faces, just 'avatars'. Okay, when an actor's name is already attached to the script, the inevitable happens ;). And yet. I can detach myself from that.
MY problem with this script is that none of the characters managed to 'engage me emotionally' ( was this the phrase Carson used for Henry? and yes, I'm on his case. :D ) And I see Vance as the square-jawed military hero... Armageddon comes to mind... And all in all, the script sounds like "Speed" before the major re-write. ( And before you ask me, no, I didn't read the original script. maybe these guys have it somewhere? )

I will admit that Spaihts knows how to build momentum, and I liked the way he wrote Shadow 19, the character. Actually, it's the only character I could somehow empathize with. Maybe that was exactly the point ? hmmm...

btw, apparently the reviewer for this script is not Carson, is Roger Balfour. read the comments on the blog, it's sort of explained there. And there's also an interesting discussion to which I totally subscribe. In order for this script to 'work', I say it needs a rewrite.
And I definitely have to read "Starship Troopers" And anything Heinlein. My sci-fi culture is lacking. Badly.

I liked the part with the 'shadows' , though... the "real" 19 who can't leave the jungle...or communicate with the aliens, tell them what he did for them... I liked the sadness of that.

hey, look what I found in the comments :
Thematically, it SEEMS like it wanted to tell a story about how only a SHADOW comes home and the real soldier stays (a metaphor on war-mentality). Specially since the ending is the perfect analogy for this, but this isn't really build upon. .
now that is an idea...


What can I say ? I like the 'existentialist' stuff. Can't understand it intellectually, but it appeals to something in me. eh, I'm a woman... ( how's that for cliche' ? ;) )

Passengers is much more to my liking.
But I think we'll see the new Alien movie before it... :((

matrixnospoon032009-10-02 03:07


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I just finished the Shadow 19 script (I know, I know... I have a midterm in 3 hours and I fell down on my willpower). I really liked it; I think Spaihts is a good writer, and I was pretty much on the edge of my seat throughout the reading of it. However, I still like Passengers more.

For some reason, I actually liked Ada. I know she's kind of there to fill the purpose of a love interest, but she did have a personality and goals of her own. As far as the hierarchy of female characters is concerned, she's obviously no Trinity, but there was more to her than just simply being the love interest, and I liked that.

I really liked the little touch at the end: "You know, I'm not what I used to be." ... "Neither am I." Don't know why that appealed to me so much, but hey. Overall, this was a good read. I hope I don't fail my midterm now.

seer
2009-10-02 08:33


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Well this is going to sound odd maybe, but Shadow 19 actually appeals to me more.. talking existentially, Passengers is a few steps below the level of the other. 19 is living a life that he knows is not reality, he knows he's not real - and so does Ada - yet there he is. And there's no way they're going to be able to explore the circumstance properly :(.

Passengers on the other hand is, in a way, a repeat scenario of any of the 'stranded' kinds of stories, except for the twist of Jim making the decision to interrupt Aurora's sleep and being responsible for her being 'stranded'. I sincerely hope that they give K free rein with the period prior to her awakening, because that mental/emotional situation is actually the best and most intriguing part of the story (at least for me). Once she's awake then it becomes "Gee, we're stuck here together, there's no way out, but we have food and water and shelter and somehow we've just got to make the best of it."

In my opinion - mind you - Passengers would have been a much better story had Jim never awakened Aurora, but simply spent how ever many years he could manage sanity dreaming the impossible dream of awakening her - so that the reader made the slow slide into oblivion right alongside Jim.. all kinds of places to go with that because it would all have been conjured up in Jim's head.

But of course such a story would not appeal to general audiences ;).

Anakin McFly
2009-10-02 12:19

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... it seems that me and Ani have to agree to disagree on all scripts but Passengers :D

What about Chef? I liked Chef! :D Ok, regarding filmed Keanu films: I liked the Speed script, I didn't like the Hardball script, even though Conor is awesome. I liked the scripts for The Devil's Advocate and The Lake House, didn't like that for Chain Reaction, preferred the draft of TDTESS, didn't like the script for The Watcher, the ASD script was meh, and I read the Matrix scripts too long ago to remember much about them.

MY problem with this script is that none of the characters managed to 'engage me emotionally' ( was this the phrase Carson used for Henry? and yes, I'm on his case. :D ) And I see Vance as the square-jawed military hero... Armageddon comes to mind... And all in all, the script sounds like "Speed" before the major re-write.

I actually thought of Speed too, while reading that. And while yeah, Shadow 19 was also the only character to really engage me, somehow that didn't bother me much; partly because I generally have trouble concentrating on too many characters anyway, and prefer it to be more focussed on just one or two that we're supposed to care about.

hey, look what I found in the comments :

Where were they? :\\ I can't see any comments. EDIT: Okay, I can see them when I use Firefox. argh IE.

But yeah, that's an interesting idea; I never thought of that. I don't even know if Spaihts did that intentionally. Reading through the comments, they do make some good points, and I agree that the script could benefit from a rewrite. (especially if I get to help out, but I've got two scripts of my own to worry about, one of which is 60 pages in and had yet to get a proper storyline.) Clearer themes, more focus, maybe less on the sci-fi homages such that it doesn't feel like plagiarism, more motivation for everyone, and so on.


In my opinion - mind you - Passengers would have been a much better story had Jim never awakened Aurora, but simply spent how ever many years he could manage sanity dreaming the impossible dream of awakening her - so that the reader made the slow slide into oblivion right alongside Jim.. all kinds of places to go with that because it would all have been conjured up in Jim's head.

Wow. You know, I would have loved that. The slow, mental destruction of Jim. First comes denial, then anger, bargaining, depression, and then acceptance... watching the stars go by as he lies on his deathbed...

Then again that sounds more like this story I wrote and that has been rejected by a bunch of magazines.

From the comments on ScriptShadow regarding the Alien prequel: "Having read both Spaihts' "Shadow 19" and "Passengers", I'm just... shocked. Both of those were good concepts that were poorly-executed in every respect: structure, dialogue, character, absolutely devoid of strong themes, and lacking in any sort of real tension or stakes."

whaaaat. Someone else:
"It amazes me that two people can look at the same script and see completely different things. In my opinion, PASSENGERS, by Spaihts, is a brilliant script. Well written, well structured, wonderful characterizations, sharp, in character dialogue. I could go on and on, but it would be pointless."


I really liked the little touch at the end: "You know, I'm not what I used to be." ... "Neither am I." Don't know why that appealed to me so much, but hey.

Me too. :D
inkhuldra
2009-10-02 14:26


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OK, so he's got Passengers, Shadow 19 *and* Cowboy Bebop lined up. Does this mean that he's planning to leave Earth for good?

Anakin McFly
2009-10-02 14:27

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It's the getaway after robbing that bank in Henry's Crime.
LucaM
2009-10-02 15:37


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It's the getaway after robbing that bank in Henry's Crime.

^^ ssssshhh ! ;)

LucaM
2009-10-02 15:40


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In my opinion - mind you - Passengers would have been a much better story had Jim never awakened Aurora, but simply spent how ever many years he could manage sanity dreaming the impossible dream of awakening her - so that the reader made the slow slide into oblivion right alongside Jim.. all kinds of places to go with that because it would all have been conjured up in Jim's head.

well, d*mmit, Jim's a man . They can't live on dreams only ;)

LucaM
2009-10-02 15:42


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What about Chef? I liked Chef!

I stand corrected ;)

seer
2009-10-02 15:47


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You'll notice that I did say however long he could manage sanity ;)
LucaM
2009-10-02 15:58


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oh. right. ;)
Anakin McFly
2010-06-09 23:49

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Bump, because apparently LucaM just reread Shadow 19 and has decided that it is better than it was on first read.
LucaM
2010-06-10 00:29


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... Ani and her big mouth. or itchy fingers. :D :D

okay, I plead guilty.

Been re-reading it and although it still reads as a teenager's wet dream about armored suits :D it's beginning to grow on me. I like the third act - and the ending.

You can’t come home. You can only send your shadow home.

somehow that line stuck with me.

LucaM
2014-08-04 00:57


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Shadow 19 reference in Egde of Tomorrow.
Thanks a bunch, Warner :|

http://i246.photobucket.com/albums/gg108/taifunu/IMDB%20stuff/vlcsnap-2014-08-03-15h21m57s114.png

http://i246.photobucket.com/albums/gg108/taifunu/IMDB%20stuff/vlcsnap-2014-08-03-15h22m07s251.png




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