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Sentinels

Author: Todd Ludy
Genre: Science-Fiction/Fantasy
Storyline: 8
Dialogue: 9
Characterization: 9
Writer’s Potential: 9

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Logline:

A group of teenagers discover huge, ancient robots underground and are forced to use them to stop an impending alien invasion.

Synopsis:

Fourteen-year-old PERRY RYAN has just ruined his chances to go to Space Camp by failing a class. Instead, his mother BETH forces him to work at a ranch owned by the father of the school bully, BUTCH GILLESPIE. That night, Perry hears and sees strange things coming from nearby Sacred Mountain. Perry and his best friend, CHARLIE, go to explore Sacred Mountain. Butch chases them. They find strange, futuristic chambers and a huge command center that leads them to — three huge, humanoid robots that can be controlled by one person.

They keep this a secret, learning the controls and having fun with the robots in the empty desert basin behind the mountain range. Perry blows the secret by telling his wheelchair-bound brother, RAY, all about the robots and the command center. Soon enough, their secret is completely blown by obnoxious Butch, who takes his robot out for a ride and is spotted by plenty of people. He even harasses twin F-15s escorting a stealth bomber. With Ray guiding them from the underground command center, Perry and Charlie come to the rescue of the stealth bomber, which is damaged and falls out of the sky. Just as they’ve rescued the bomber, the robots are attacked by other, similar robots — from outer space. These robots are armed with powerful weapons. They manage to take down Perry’s robot, but in the process one of them steps on the stealth bomber, which explodes and takes a few of them down.

In the command center, Ray learns from the computer — and tells Perry, Charlie, and Butch — that around 12,000 years ago, a group of aliens known only as “the Scourge” began invading other planets. The sentinel robots they’ve discovered were designed as a defense; reactivating the robots is what has caused them to return, and they intend to destroy anything — and anyone — that has helped to bring them back to life. This leads to a wild battle against the “Scourgebots.” Charlie and Butch are worried they can’t take out the Scourgebots with Perry’s robot down. Ray encourages them to try; in the meantime, they manage to fix Perry’s robot, which shows up at the eleventh hour. Unfortunately, it’s still not functioning that well. Perry is almost killed in an attack against one of the Scourgebots — when a swarm of battle-scarred Sentinels descends from space to provide aid. The lead robot tells Perry at the tide of the war against the Scourge is turning, and his skill in destroying the Scourgebots would make him a valuable asset on the frontlines. Perry agrees to go with and help fight.

Comments:

This screenplay really works well because, rather than being fully plot-oriented, the author gives each of the characters goals and struggles and finds a way to make those robots help them overcome their problems. Perry going off into space to fight is somewhat bittersweet, but it works because that’s been his goal since the beginning of the story. The only real suggestion for improvement is to tighten up the pacing. It’s a 120-page screenplay on the dot, and yet not a whole lot seems to happen. It’s a nice, well-constructed story, but it could be trimmed to make it all move a little faster, without damaging the integrity of the structure. The dialogue and characters are great, though.

Posted by D. B. Bates on November 15, 2006 1:37 PM  |   | Print-Friendly  | Professional Script Coverage

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