Review of: dragon gate (rev.) 

reviewed by ydnar600 on 07/01/2008
Credited Review
dragon gate review Credited Review
Some DETAILED thoughts follow as I had them while reading to give you an idea of what I was thinking and reacting to as I went along in your script:

p31 no need to put with difficulty in parentheses, just make it part of the action description.
p32 Lin Chi picks grabs...
let's also try to lose the "...begins to walk." In action, you either do it or you don't.
p36 Why why won't anyone tell me...
Dark clouds have gathered overhead...past perfect tense? Present tense, active verbs: Dark clouds gather or maybe even roil overhead.
Jhao Chao follows...Chou
p37 I like the reversal here when he gets cuffed in the face

p41 as you
know doubt have doubt
p48 He's and alien creature...
p51 Jhao Chou casts and angry look...
p56 (driving Jhao Chou out of the
house) Show this in action
p58 I'm must save for the hard times ahead.
technically this is a montage here at the bottom of p58 to 59

p61 Ever been frozen in crystal? Now you have.
This seems out of place with the tone you've set previous. Is it to denote some sort of opium-addled funky groove? I'm also sensing this a midpoint break of the story. I can dig it.

p70 Ching Ch'ing is focused the rock.
p71 Chink...word choice?
p72 Lung Po come to the door...comes
p75 Jhao Chou’s insides freeze. ...yeah, you can't really film this
p76 The the leaves of the young poppies...ya gotta proofread, man
You know, I'm thinking here it might be nice to get a little update on Myo Rei, if for anything else to break up Jhao Chou's routine in the narrative. You did it a bit with the eunuchs and Ching Ch'ing but I think I'd like to see more

p77 This one and his endless
boasts!...get out, go unpack the
This one and his endless boasts! Get out...go unpack the mules!
...that is, watch your punctuation and again, proofread.

p80 lites...lights
p82 this is a nice moment with the scrolls from Myo Rei but it might have more impact if somehow we could have a scene with her writing, you wouldn't even have to see WHAT she's writing and then tie these two elements together
p83 you have alot of passive verbs here: is beating, are burning, is being the way, are these British soldiers? If so, describe them...describe them anyway

p84 alright i don't buy that if Jhao Chou knocked out 5 soldiers, you say right after that he's not a skilled fighter...these two events don't connect

p86 After the Commander " that Good might flourish in China...", how about ending that statement there. Then he looks once more to the statue and walks out. I say this because I don't particularly buy what he says next. In other words, it might be best for him to say nothing else and let us, the audience, fill in the gaps as to his motivation.


burning poppy field description...nice

p91 Gratitude?...I've failed you.
...please lose the unnecessary ellipses

Overall, it might be nice for you to state how much time is left like, say, SUPERIMPOSE: 1 YEAR LEFT or something like that. This would give us a sense of time instead of just weeks later and such. How much time IS left at this point?

p94 perfects attention...perfect
re: the Lung Po dragon...very interesting...not sure if I get it exactly but an effective payoff to that thread.

Concept: I dig the concept. The thing about it is I'm not sure what the rules are. Is this fantasy? I suppose so. In that case there's a need for a suspension of disbelief like one would find in movies such as "Crouching Tiger...Hidden Dragon". That said, it might work to establish those rules earlier. Instead, i'm having a bit of cognitive dissonance with the first half, which was based in "reality" and the rest which was a kind of opium-infused funky groove.

Story: I think you have the requisite setup, conflict and resolution. I think you left the resolution for the reader which was a brave choice and a good one I believe. I'm not totally sure I buy the ending but that's just me. I also wonder about hinging the whole story on sculptures...i kept wondering while i was reading if the stakes were high enough. And it's just now occurring to me, and forgive me if i get this wrong, but what was the deal with the eunuch's man soul? Was that resolved? I didn't get that it was and it was made to be an integral part of the story.

Dialogue: I was able to discern who was who from their dialogue and their words were useful in forwarding the story and situation in each scene but given the period/fantasy/foreign nature of the characters, as long as you have dialogue that services your narrative you're going to be on good footing.

Character: The relationship between Jhao Chou and Lung Po was something I'd seen before but I can't say that's a detriment. Doing the wacky with the opium was effective. Lin Chi's "betrayal" was justified in the end and resolved in a sense by his death. Jhao and Myo's relationship was effective as well and you kept it short and sweet though I would like to have seen some more of her struggle in the interior of story to keep us grounded in a bit of her journey.

Structure: You had the requisite story points. It reads well. The payoff was effective. Some punctuation issues, misspells and other minor nits...some I mentioned, some I didn't. Either way, proofreading is needed. Actions lines were good and not too long or prosaic. There were good reversals so far as characters were concerned especially with Jhao and Lung Po. To give the narrative a bit more momentum you might think about giving us some sort of countdown while Jhao is out and about...that made me a bit lost as to the timeframes involved. The budget for this story would be pretty high, I think, then again, if the Chinese can do these epic period/fantasy pieces and do them well on a moderate budget, i don't see why this one couldn't follow suit.

Good luck with it,


Other Reviews by ydnar600 121

  • A review of Squirrel Impossible
    by ydnar600 on 06/28/2014
    Dialogue: You have a bit of repetition in dialogue made even more conspicuous by the conspicuous lack of exclamation points. It just looks weird and reads weird like Old Man Farley at the top of p108 (and lots of other places) Story: I think I like this story a bit better than Anna and the Mirror. One of the things I’ve had to do is reset my expectations a bit due to this... read
  • A review of Funeral March
    by ydnar600 on 06/13/2014
    I’m guessing this is a first draft so hopefully I won’t be too harsh in my assessment of some of the more fundamental elements of your screenplay. Concept: Fantastic concept, though derivative of at least three genres (as i mention later), the marching band at the funeral is something I’d like to see. Characters: You have likable characters. The dynamic between Sam and Liz,... read
  • A review of The Giving Folk (V2)
    by ydnar600 on 06/11/2014
    Below is my running tally of things I was thinking as I read: Certainly here on page 66 that I can't really see a reason for a montage. I don't see a reason for establishing shots of Jim's car. Peaks...should be peeks like peek-a-boo… Not like a peak of a mountain. Too many parentheticals like here on page 79. Why the upward inflection, is it necessary? Page 84 I lose... read
+ more reviews