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Christopher Webster [Celluloid 10.19.09] post apocalyptic movie review script action adventure

When a post-apocalyptic knight fights a battle-worn polar bear for a dinner of dead rabbit within the first two pages of a screenplay, I'm basically sold. Literally any old rubbish could have followed in the next hundred or so pages of Wynter Dark and I'd still have had that one glorious visual stuck in my head and been completely desperate to see the film come to fruition.

Luckily, the script for Wynter Dark comes stuffed with all kinds of violent apocalyptic high-adventure and is easily one of the most ambitious, action packed scripts I've read in a long time. To put the sheer grandness of it all in perspective, I'd like you to think about what it might look like to take the entire last act of Kingdom of Heaven and play it out on the snowy wastelands of Hoth. Yep, swords and catapults in the snow baby. Keep that visual in mind as you read on.

Wynter Dark takes place thousands of years after a polar-shift created a second ice age on the planet. Left with some semblance of the world before, a new civilization has blossomed - one that is positively medieval.

The world is now divided into three ruthless empires: London, Tokyo and New York. In each, war, betrayal and the superstition of the "technocrats" rule (kind of similar to The Tudors actually). The events of Wynter Dark take place right at the point when all those empires have come together in final conflict over who will rule it all. A fleet of war ships from London, made up of converted aircraft carriers, is barreling across the ocean, and the mysterious and deadly Japanese samurai legions are rumored to be on the move.

The place of the final conflict? A walled up fortress called New York City.

However, it is a long way off from this arena of political intrigue and war that we meet our main cast of would-be adventurers. Outside a small snowy village, a boy named Jason is saved from a band of wolf-worshiping cannibals by a knight-of-the-realm named "Godsell." The pack's leader, "the White Wolf" is left alive in order to stand trial back at The Capitol. Joined by a mysterious cloaked woman named "September Mourn" the group make their way across the dangerous frozen landscape to ultimately become integral to the massive conflict in the last act.

All the crazy elements that make up the world of "Wynter Dark" make it feel a lot like a large scale fantasy film like The Lord of the Rings, but it's completely grounded in reality. There's no magic, mystical beasts or powered amulets given to the hero by an old wizard. The closest you get to fantasy is the introduction to a violent tribe of de-evolved humans call "Nomen" who make life difficult for the heroes (as you can see in awesome concept art below).

So no, Wynter Dark isn't quite a fantasy film (though the combination of western plot devices and massive scenes of medieval sieges will certainly make it easy to market as one). It's an adventure film through and through. Full of larger-than-life heroes and epic battles, the movie teeters between being a straight-up cliff hanger serial film and a serious, adult actioner in all the best ways. It actually reminded me of Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series, in terms of how well it manages to remain grounded despite all the insane anachronistic s#!% going on in it.

However, combining these elements will also prove to be the touchiest aspect of filming this movie. A post-apocalyptic world in which people talk like they're from the court of Henry the Eighth could wreak havoc on some viewers' suspension of disbelief, so I suppose if I had any advice to give Resolution Independent (the Australian production house in charge of getting this project off the ground) it would be to really concentrate on finding a unique blend of both colloquial and turn of the century dialog to make the film stand the test of time.

The copy of the script we have is dated April 2008 and I know for a fact it's been re-worked a bit and that there are a couple big-name actors currently in negotiations. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to dig up who they are yet. You can bet that as soon as we do we'll be the first to let you know.

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zenseeker (13 years ago) Reply

Sounds epic, and will never actually get filmed.


rcdude (13 years ago) Reply

I love fantasy things, and pa stuff. So this looks like it will be a good treat.


berkeleyhills (13 years ago) Reply

A producable screenplay demands a strong visual style. The best of them also have this wonderful, and rare, ability of making those visuals slightly different for each reader while moving the story along. The shots do push all the buttons from Warhammer 40,000 Genestealers, Frazetta's mythic polar bears and is that a bit a Combine structure I see near Lady Liberty? Anyway, they had me at polar bear...


ugh_doom (13 years ago) Reply

Would love to be able to read this screenplay. Feel like sharing? theblackpattern AT gmail


AtomicPlayboy (13 years ago) Reply

Sounds an awful lot like the Sword of Shannara and sequels by Terry Brooks, only more overt about the PA setting (Brooks' series only gave subtle hints about the post-nuclear nature of his fantasy world, except in The Druid of Shannara, which pretty obviously took place in the ruins of a city).

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