Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Voltron - Script Review

Post based on the Script by Justin Marks, May 2007, not to be used by Relativity Media.

The Verdict
The silly and absurd premise is tackled sternly in this action-heavy script, that suffers from a dragging start and flat characters

What's it about?
After the invasion of an alien robot army, a rag-tag group of survivors pilot mechanical lion robots to fend of the intruders.

Plot Summary:
The movie opens with Keith setting out to loot a helicopter that came down in the ruins of New York. He is disrupted by Dukane, a vicious gang leader, but both stop fighting when a huge RoBeasts, a colossal Robot in form of a wolf appears and attacks. Back at his base, Keith is visited by the owners of the crashed helicopter, the beautiful and mysterious Allura and her taciturn bodyguard. She demands to be brought to Mexico by Keith and his mechanic Lance. Not having something better to do, Keith agrees and the group sets off. Upon reaching the border of Mexico the group is attacked by looters, this is where we first catch a glance at the 5 Keys Allura is hiding from everybody else. Unfortunately a RoBeast picks up the signal of the Keys and follows the group into a military compound. Before the RoBeast can attack them, Allura disappears in the compound and come back, piloting a LionBot, a huge backyard-built robot looking like a lion. 
While Keith and Lance stay at the compound, the viewer gets bits and pieces of the background information. Allura is part of an ancient alien race, who hid a powerful energy source (the 5 Keys!) on earth, but the RoBeasts came looking for it. They have to repair the 5 Lionbots before the RoBeasts can destroy the camp.  When they finally attack, they totally overwhelm the five pilots, their only chance is to merge the Liobots into one huge robot, but before that can happen, Keith aborts the process, because he can not come any to close to him...
So, the RoBeasts destroy the compound and kill everybody in it. The group retreats to New York and with the help of Dukane repairs the Lionbots. They start to fight of the RoBeasts one by one and at first seem successful. But then, the RoBeasts form one gigantic Beasts, now Keith has to overcome his issues and merge with the other robots to form VOLTRON. The huge robots battle over the whole world and finally in space Voltron can kill the Beasts.
Down on Earth everybody celebrates the victory and rebuilding of our world starts.

The Project
On Comic-Con 2011 it was announced that Relativity Media had picked up the Voltron property to written by Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer. Legal entanglements prevented the movie to be made sooner. It is based on the american re-edited version of two japanese television series, that turned into a huge international franchise. 

The Silly Factor: At the core are 5 lion-shaped robots turning into a humanoid uber-mega-robot fighting evil alien robots with his blazing sword. Is it silly? Hell, it is! The script doesn't address this silliness in any way, like that's the only way you can fight back alien robots. In the finale one punch of these robots sends the other one around the world, so they stomp all over India, Egypt, France and so on.  The whole premise is a rather huge stretch for the imagination and credibility - and I don't know how to visualize this without it looking absurd.
Flat characters: It is a problem of most action blockbusters: the characterization of every protagonist is rudimental at best. Keith past is never addressed and thus his actions feel unmotivated and shallow, his sidekicks don't get much more depth.
But for the finale, when the group merges to form Voltron, the protagonists totally disappear and two silent robots fight it out. 
Voltron vs. Transfomers: Do we really need another big robot franchise? But when you take a look at the flood of superheroes in cinemas right now, it is a wonder there are not more huge robots fighting on screen. Transfomers also was heralded as silly and stupid.Being adapted from a line of toys, the story and characters were probably not the top priority for Michael Bay and his team. But those movies earned together more than a billion dollar at the box office, so I can see others want to jump aboard that train.

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