An excerpt from my script review for Seventh Son which will be available 2/16/15:
2.) Plot Stability
The script was vastly superior to the film.
The version I read is in no way perfect, but it was an entertaining story that worked better than the final product I fell asleep at in the theaters.
Page 5 – Right from the get go, we’re introduced to the world AND to the Spook. (Often called “The Spook” in the script, but “Gregory” in the film.)
He’s carrying a sack, but from the inside it sounds like a girl screaming for help. So here’s this dark clad figure, who appears to be carrying a little girl away to do God knows what to her.
Holy shit! What’s going on? Write stuff like this, forcing us out of our comfort zones, and you’ll grasp a reader’s interest almost from page 1.
Page 8 – Same with Gregory’s abilities being presented in the script.
In the movie, we see Jeff Bridges playing his typical “drunken tough guy” character, but in the script we’re get a character who’s competent and takes his job of protecting people from evil seriously. No stereotype drunken bar fight.
Lastly, as far as establishing Gregory’s character, it’s also a VERY strong plot point in the script that Gregory makes the conscious decision to sacrifice Billy, in order to keep Mother Malkin secured in her cage.
Page 20 – Script does a nice job of handling back stories, especially on Mam and Tom. This gives us an idea of WHO they are, instead of film forcing us to assume generic stereotypes for this genre.
Creating the World
Where these other stories succeed is by creating the world in which the story lives.
Game of Thrones has Westeros, Lord of the Rings has Middle Earth.
Each have particular rules, races, locations that are unique unto themselves.
The SCRIPT does a good job of presenting this world to us, and it’s a shame the final product took all that away.
Page 31 – Witches speak and hypnotize via this strange language based on hisses and clicks.
Page 40 – We’re presented with a superior first test for Tom, in that he has to sit inside a haunted cabin in a circle of salt. The protection granted by the circle lasts only momentarily, and he sees the world this tormented spirit lives in, in this case a ghost who ate his fellow villagers, eventually being boarded up in his own house and starved to death.
Page 74 – Turns out Gregory has paintings in his library of all his former apprentices, and just how long they lasted. Even finishing one of Tom, with the end date left blank.
Page 98 – Then the whole “ghast” business. Instead of walking through a spooky forest, the notion of a ghast (a spirit who doesn’t know it’s dead) develops with the backstory for Joshua, Gregory’s dead little brother. It turns out Joshua died due to Gregory walking away from his Spook duties early on, and Joshua dies at the hands of Mother Malkin as a result.
All of the above little bits and points IMPROVE our stories, and I’m completely baffled why they were left out of the final product.
Is it cool the movie witches could turn into different types of dragons? Sure, but not at the expense of a unique and functioning plot.
The one thing they kept from the script was the apprentice requirement of a “seventh son of a seventh son” which, in this world, gives the individual special abilities. (Neither really goes into why, though.)
Want the full review? Follow this link to the Seventh Son script analysis.
And be sure to check out our Notes Service, where I give my detailed thoughts and suggestions on your script.