Review of: Children of the Revolution 

reviewed by J. O'Hanley on 03/22/2012
Credited Review
J. O'Hanley
Solid children's movie undermined by third act revelations. Credited Review
Good evening! I found your screenplay to be a fun read, and I thought it had a number of things going for it. But... and I have to imagine I'm not the first to bring it up... I was very much put off by the too pat resolution. And though I'm by no means pro-War, I wasn't thrilled with your treatment of this theme. More on that later:

Concept: I liked it plenty, the idea of children of mounting a (non deadly) attack to protest war. And I like the idea of a creature made of disparate pieces of scrap metal coming to life. I ultimately didn't really picture it as animated though. Even with the attack on the end, there doesn't seem to be enough to justify it as anything but live action.

Characters: I thought you were highly successful with Ella. She was this appealing and spunky character who was overall more resourceful and clever than the rest of the boys. I really liked how keen she was to be included but how well she took it in stride when she wasn't. Billy and Jack were solid as well, and Billy's increasing fanaticism and Jack's apprehension, and the tension that grew between them, was handled well. And I really like the idea behind Stix, that he is the embodiment of all the soldiers who have died. I'll admit to being somewhat overwhelmed by the cast though, to the point where I mainly had to zero in and actively identify with the core characters only. It seemed like there was a lot of people who were around only to participate in the final battle.

Dialogue: Also pretty good. A minimum of awkward exposition, and quite a bit of charm in some moments, particularly the initial GHQ scene.

Story/Structure: This is where I ran into problems...

First of all, I am a firm believer in the idea that you can introduce somewhat mature themes into a movie targeted at children. And I believe that overall, they'll respond far more to a story that does not talk down to them. You seem to have the same mindset, considering the movie is about war and the possibility of losing one's parents. But I feel like you incorporate those themes, and then oversimplified them. I wish there was no such thing as war, and I realize from the perspective of these characters, it all seems so senseless. But there are certain realities that you don't address, and it seems too easy to flash forward to (or cut to a dream of) Billy as Prime Minister, having found a "better way." How exactly did Billy find a solution for World Peace?

Second, the "It was all a dream" thing. I don't necessarily have a blanket negative reaction to this kind of ending. They can work if they're thematically significant, if they influence the character in some profound ways. I saw that in the script, Billy had the realization in the scene with the Prime Minister that violence just brings about more violence. Great, but if the solution for what he could do different was in there as well, I completely missed it. And I don't know if it was enough to make up for you essentially taking away everything that happened to every other character in the course of the movie, not to mention the all-to-easy return of Billy's dad, alive and well.

Again, that did take away a lot of what had come before. It might work anyway for a lot of others, maybe they have problems too. But whatever you do with "Children of the Revolution," I think you've got some good material to work with. Best of luck!

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