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film news

Shadow 19 script review offers Alien insight

Posted by Patrick Sauriol on Monday, September 28, 2009

Ever since it launched this past February, Carson Reeves and his ScriptShadow website have been one of the internet's undiscovered gems. Reeves, a wannabe screenwriter, makes it his mandate to review screenplays and grade them on a five point scale. What makes ScriptShadow all the better to people like me that live to find out about new movie projects is that the majority of what the site reviews are scripts that slip under the radar or that are specs, meaning that the writer wrote the screenplay as an example of their writing.

Shadow 19 is today's script being reviewed on ScriptShadow and it comes from writer Jon Spaihts, the guy that's been hired to come up with the story for Ridley Scott's reboot/reimagining of Alien. Spaihts seems to be the go-to guy for hard science fiction premises in Hollywood: he's done Passengers, a spec about a man and woman who awaken prematurely onboard a colony ship that will take decades to reach its new planet, that has Keanu Reeves attached to star in it. Shadow 19 is even more hard SF than Passengers, and if you're one of those people that are asking for original alien worlds, cool futuristic battle action and a hook that delivers, Shadow 19 is the movie that you want Hollywood to make.

Spaihts' story is set in the distant future. Captain Conrad Vance is a member of the Offworld Marine Corps for the Allied States who is about to go into battle against The Hegomony. There are two superpowers on Earth fighting each other for what's left of the natural resources spread out across the solar system. The script opens with Vance and his squad suiting up inside their giant weapons mechs and about to be dropped into action on the airless moon of Dione in orbit around Saturn.

But if you're thinking that the movie is going to be all about the battle between the States and the Hegemony, you're wrong. After Vance wins the day for his side he's shipped back to Earth to be used by the Allied States' science division. They have need of his special battle experience for he's the kind of Marine that always finds a way to overcome any obstacle, and the scientists have a helluva big problem for Vance to figure out.

In secret the Allied scientists have created and sent a giant terraforming machine to a distant planet called Erix. The idea was to take this living world and reshape it so that humans can live there. After the terraforming machine got to Erix and landed, something went wrong with one of its factory-sized components. The scientists need to send someone there to fix the machine and get it back online. Vance is their man.

Part of the machinery on the terraforming platform is used as a transporter, but it's not the kind that you see on Star Trek. That's the first great hook that propels Shadow 19 from being a Starship Troopers or Aliens ripoff done for today's Halo generation. There's more, such as the incredibly aggressive biodiversity that will face Vance on Erix, the challenge of surviving the local alien creatures and humping the 125 kilometers to the terraforming machine and another twist that comes later in the story. It's a great script and the severity of Erix's plants and animals, which are essentially biomechanoid killers, may have been what sealed the deal for Spaihts to work on the Alien reboot.

It's likely that we will never get to see a Shadow 19 movie. I haven't heard anything about it being sold or developed anywhere but that doesn't stop me from wishing that someone can come along and make it. You can read the script too and see if you agree (and for as long as the link lasts.)

-ScriptShadow.
Daltons chin dimple
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Posted: 14 years 41 weeks ago

Sounds awesome, they should make it!

....says "Kill Bond, NOW!"