The external storyline of Aquariana is quite strong, with visually vivid conflicts and memorable supporting characters. It's been about a week since I finished the read, but many scenes are still etched in my memory.
My recommendation for the next draft is to turn inward, especially to the motives and conflicts within Leif, as well as to his psychological growth over the course of this adventure.
Essentially, Leif is no different at the end of the story from where he started, except for being more adept with a harpoon. Given what he's undergone, there should be some sort of change, whether you adopt a traditional arc or not.
Normally the nature of the antagonist defines the course the protagonist's inner journey. Although avenging his father's death drives Leif, there's little use of Ardan's character (and little development of it) to create a kind of foil or shadow side for Leif. Ditto for Culter, who's more of an antagonist than Ardan (until the climax) since he hinders Leif from accomplishing his revenge.
Normally a subplot (a B or C storyline) can bring out the inner workings of a protagonist. The romantic relationship between Aquarianna and Leif (both before and after he learns who she is) could accomplish this, but there's little conflict between the two--which is typical for most of a romantic plot or subplot--and no development. To some extent, Leif's freeing of Aquarianna before he confronts Ardan constitutes a sacrifice that gives some insight into his character, but (as we find out), Leif simply continues his quest for revenge. He never seriously abandons this quest to protect his love.
You could also do more with the male bonding between Leif, Torm, and Renard as a C story--the groundwork's already there, but it's not integrated with a main theme / arc.
The lack of a parallel internal journey makes the pace of the story seem frenetic and unmeasured. As a result, the final scene and revelation of Aquarianna's name on the boat's stern seems less like preparation for a sequel and more like a reminder of what's missing from this segment of the saga.
More Titanic, less Moby Dick should bring out the deeper nature of your story--a depth that permeates the script as potential but not as development.
A satisfying and illuminating inner journey married to an exciting external quest should make Aquarianna a classic script and a great film.
Review of: Aquarianna (v2)
reviewed by AlCielo on 11/21/2010
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