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Logline: An under the radar organization known as Space Central designates a task force of three competent but sophomoric male astronauts and three female researchers with attitude, strength, and martial arts prowess to defeat fallen angels who have escaped and are devoted to taking over Earth.

Dark Matter Review

 

Overall Impression:

Space Crusaders is a clever mashup of sci-fi and biblical fiction. The script ably covers the base elements of a good rescue mission story: damsels in distress, check; rescue crew of devil-may-care mavericks, check; cool new ships and weapons, check; possibly immortal foe, check. The writing is buoyant and playful enough that the script’s shortcomings are largely forgivable, though there are a few: The plot is a bit thin at times, the sci-fi and religious underpinnings lack depth, and the characters can feel one-dimensional. Overall, Space Crusaders is a fun, frisky and slightly slapdash little morsel of sci-fi goodness.

What We Found Most Effective:

 

Fantastic premise for a sci-fi.  We really can’t recall quite this mix in anything we’ve watched or read.  There is a ton of potential in the concept.  We love that it takes place on/near earth and within the solar system – everyone usually opts for “a galaxy far, far away”, but this approach is great.

What We Found Least Effective

  • Jefferies, Kavanagh and Doyle feel interchangeable.

 

  • Neither the sci-fi nor the biblical backstory get much of an explanation.  We’d love it if you gave us something to sink our teeth into!

Suggestions For Improvement:

Big Picture Suggestions

 

  • Differentiate among the three main character’s personalities.  Kavanagh and Doyle feel like the same person, albeit with different skill sets.  Granted, Jefferies is the serious one, but how else is he different?  So much the better if you can find ways to differentiate the three that add depth and roundness to the characters.

  • Jefferies doesn’t have a strong emotional goal.  There are hints and innuendo that something deeper is driving him, but we wouldn’t hold back in this regard.  Lay it out there for the audience – this is so often what helps us engage and keeps us flipping pages. Ideally, we’d love to see emotional goals in place for Kavanagh, Doyle, Samyaza and Jones too (each to a greater or lesser extent depending on his/her importance to the overall story).

  • We love the sci-fi and the biblical backdrop.  But, they each lack depth.  For example, on page 24, you explain away faster than light travel with “we’ve overcome those stumbling blocks…” It was a cheeky line that made us chuckle, sure, but it left us wanting more.  Similarly, the new laser weapon isn’t explained (even its function/effect isn’t really elaborated).  The effect for us was to cheapen the later use of the weapon (it’s basically the equivalent of magic).  Regarding the fallen angels, their backstory gets a few paragraphs of elaboration.  Since their motivation is key to understanding the antagonist’s drive, we think more here would be better than less.

Odds & Ends

 

  • Pg. 1. Typo. “The stop to chat.”

  • Pg. 7-11. A couple thoughts on the team-intro montage:

  • It’s not strictly necessary, but our OCD acted up at the lack of parallel construction between Upright’s V.O. description of each of the three characters and what happened in the scene.  For example, Upright describes Kavanagh as an astrophysicist and pilot, which left us hungry to see Kavanagh do either some cool astrophysics stuff, or some cool piloting, or both (or to fail at both, for a laugh).  But instead, the scene is Kavanagh riffing on a remember the Alamo joke.  Just seems like a missed opportunity to reinforce how cool Kavanagh’s physics/flying skills are and to help us buy into the character.

  • The team-building montage is a cliché, which we’re totally fine with.  Part of great screenwriting is embracing the cliché and finding a way to add something.  You don’t necessarily have to recreate the wheel (though if you think of a way to do so, that’s awesome), often it’s enough to just add some little zest to make it pop in a way that sticks with people.  That said – we think you could meaningfully improve the script by inventing some way to set your script’s team-building montage apart from all the others we’ve seen.

  • Pg. 13. “Alright they’re ass clowns…” we snorted diet coke out our nose on this one. Great line.

  • Pg. 17-24. This passage is a highly impressive piece of storytelling. You succinctly – and simultaneously – establish (i) the primary plot structure, (ii) the female lead, (iii) the antagonist, (iv) cool new tech, and (v) an entire mythological structure.  Plus, we dig the concept: Fallen Space Angels.  Totally rad.  Great work!

  • Pg. 25. Typo. “…a pick little me up.”

  • Pg. 31. The jump from being tractor-beamed in by an alien space ship to crashed on a plant is jolting.  Why are they suddenly on a planet and not in the enemy ship’s docking bay?  Perhaps that was the point, we're not sure.

  • Pg. 39. Wouldn’t the identity of Samyaza (i.e., that he is an angel, etc.) be classified?  Might be a good source of additional tension between Jefferies and Jones to have him tell her that information on Samyaza is classified, need to know, and she doesn’t.  As it is, we can tell from the outset that Jeffereis and Jones are destined for each other, but there's no friction or emotional tension, it just feels like a foregone conclusion.

  • Pg. 37-42. Two observations: 1) From the bottom of 37 to the middle of 42, there isn’t a single action entry. So, for roughly 4-5 minutes, we would just be watching talking heads. We understand the structural need for the “planning scene”, but it still has to play interesting on screen. One thing that can help breakup the monotony of a long dialogue sequence is to give one or two of the characters something to do, e.g., pace the room, eat an apple, clean a weapon, do pushups, take a pee, trim their nails, etc., then take that simple task and play around with it – just something so the audience has a visual gag working too.  2) Our heroes make a few logical jumps a bit too quickly/conveniently in the planning sequence.  We don’t mind the end result of the plan, the logic just flew a little fast and loose and we had a trouble maintaining suspension of disbelief.  We were waiting for Rick Moranis to grab the camera and ask "Everybody got it?" ala Spaceballs.

  • Pg. 44. Why would the explosion buy 30 minutes? Why not an hour, or 5 minutes? If that specific amount of time is important, try to back it up somehow (it will bug the nerds if you don’t).  If that amount of time isn’t important, then no need to be specific in our opinion, just call it a distraction.

  • Pg. 46. Typo. “…a parking area full of can only be described as…”

  • Pg. 51. Jefferies seems to have a lot of biblical knowledge.  You may want to work in some plausible basis for that.  We were left wondering why and army/astronaut guy would know so much about it.

  • Pg. 51. We don’t think you need to put in all the Latin text for the song.

  • Pg. 58. Typo. Samyaza dialogue, “to join out other followers…”

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