Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hanna - Script to Movie - Part 1

Hanna from Script to Movie by Tristan Mahlow /></a></div>
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Post based on the script ‘Hanna’ by Seth Lochhead.

Today I’ll be starting a new feature: In a first post I will read a script and analysis just as usual, but I’ll follow that up by a second post comparing the script to the final film. I’ll be writing about the structure (using Blake Synder's Beat Sheet) and discuss the changes made to the story

The Verdict:
I adore the clear and precise language, but the plot falls very flat, because the characters have no motivation or depth at all.

What’s it about:
A teenage girl, trained by her father to be the perfect killing machine, has to travel across Europe in order to make it home again.

First Image:



Hanna (14) glides through the trees, a bow strapped to her shoulders. Her camouflage causes her to fade in and out of the background. She floats through the trees as if she were a ghost.

After the introduction to Hanna, the script cuts to Marissa, a stone cold secret service agent, who picks up a signal in Sweden and sends some men to capture Eric and Hanna. The next few scenes shows the “normal life” of Hanna: training, hunting, fighting until ---

-- O'Reilly arrives at their cabin, capturing Eric and Hanna. Both escape from their confinement, but were hold in separate prisons. 

Read Act Two and Three after the break:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Break into Two:
Hanna finds herself in Turkey, fleeing from the guards, that are close behind her, with the help of a French family picking her up in the middle of the desert. They bring her to the hotel, they are staying at and there Hanna lives the life, she never had.

B-Story (+Debate, perhaps?):
Hanna gets comfortable. She befriends the couple, which owns the hotel and the French girl in her age. The couple even offers Hanna to stay with them, but, alas, that would be a different kind of movie. In order to give her reason NOT to stay, a mean loan shark appears, threatens the hotel owners and is killed by Hanna. Hanna is dropped off at the train station before Marissa brutally kills the hotel owner and his pregnant wife. In the meantime returned Eric returned to the cabin in the woods, waiting for Hanna.

Hanna arrives in Istanbul and finds the embassy, which she is supposed to go to. The Ambassador helps her getting a passport and she takes the next bus to Sofia.

Bad Guys Close In:
At the next station of her travel, Hanna is not able to afford the bus fare. Suddenly two of Marissa’s agents jump in and pay for her, as they were ordered to bring Hanna back to Sweden.

All Is Lost / Dark Night of the Soul:
Hanna arrives at the cabin, but her father, fatally wounded, orders her to turn herself in. Hanna doesn’t understand, but has no more time as Eric burns down the cabin with him still in it.

Break Into Three:
Hanna is captured and brought to Marissa. In the van the little girl can overpower her guards and wreak havoc on the whole office, until –

-- Marissa and Hanna finally confront each other. In one last deadly fight, Hanna can kill her mother Marissa.

Final Image:
Hanna visits the French girl, now a free and normal teenage girl:

Hanna and Thea stare at each other for a long moment. Rain begins to fall.
All is right in the world and it’s going to be a nice day.
The End

What did work?
Lochhead has a great style of writing; he conjures up precise images and can fill them with emotions. I was really shocked about the horrible death of the pregnant woman and his other flashes of intense violence.

What didn’t I like?
My biggest complain about ‘Hanna’ would be the lacking motivation for the main character. Hanna gets captured at each Act Break, not acting on her own will. The main problem might be that she has no goal. Something should have been stated at the beginning. As such she just reacts to the things Marissa and her men do.
The whole back-story was left fuzzy and did not deliver enough empathy with the characters, nor gave us any explanation for the actions of Marissa. ‘So why should Hanna kill Marissa’, I asked myself throughout the script. On the last page, Hanna explains herself:

My father told me about her [Marissa, her mother]. He would tell me stories about her. I decided I didn’t like her.

The next post, coming up in a few days, will compare the script to the final movie and I am surprised how different both are.

So, see you next time!
- Tristan

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