Now these are just my views, I am not some professional script reader.
From the title I kept thinking this would be a Western, like Cowboys and Aliens, but this is influenced from a very differing Sci-Fi film.
From the very start of the script this film really feels like Independence Day, from the many screen text readouts, to the White House Situation room. It has the scope of a Roland emmerich film. But what was much more interesting was your small band of Native American characters, and the alien tech relationship to Native American culture. I thought that could make an interesting variation on the alien invasion movie.
The script reaches the conventional 120 page limit, but it feels like you are squeezing your story in to keep within that limit. I have a feeling that your previous drafts were a lot longer.
You have a lot of intricate scenes, especially in regards to the goings on with the air force and military, you have to really pay attention.
It’s wordy, which is very hard not to be for a Sci-Fi script. There is a lot, a lot of description of the military machine that reacts to this unknown alien threat. Sometimes it feels like a set of instructions. Your paragraphs should not really be more than 3-4 lines.
The triangle formation at the start was cool, but maybe over descriptive. I think your script would be helped a lot by simpler slug lines. Do we really need to know that we are at this particular air facility, or this particular air carrier?
The dialogue sections are very long, I think a lot of them could be more than halved. A lot of times characters are actually saying what we already know. Something that I myself have been accused of myself in my scripts.
I have also been accused of writing stuff rather than showing stuff, a problem I see a lot in fledgling screenwriters. You say that Barnes is the only one the President trusts. You show this through their interactions, you don’t need to state it. Slazinky is clearly a brilliant feminist from how she comes across in her first scene, and we know the President can’t stand her from how he reacts to her. There is a hell of a lot of exposition in the dialogue, and looking at it, I think a lot of it did not need to be there. Remember, less is more, leave it to the reader’s imagination.
Some dialogue is predictable (like ‘No shit Sherlock’) Some dialogue is very amusing, like the old Indian guy, sometimes it brings the tension and the tone down, and no one suffers more from this than the President. I thought President McMullen was a heavily over exaggerated figure. His ‘accented’ dialogue really effects the tone and makes it at times feel tongue-in-cheek like Mars Attacks. I really didn’t like the presidential administration, reminded me also of ‘Pixels’ movie.
I would give the characters a bit more leeway in describing ages rather than ‘intern 22, put intern early 20s’. Your protagonist is ‘okay’. Didn’t feel that there was anything that made Danny a memorable protagonist. The relationship with Wilma could have been explored a bit more. I think you should give your poor white pothunters some dialogue and names. They do so much; they are not just extras.
The alien spacecraft really, really reminded me of the ships in ID4 that Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum fly. I thought you could have made the translation of the Omakri panels on the spacecraft more of a challenge for our heroes. It would put an obstacle in their way. In fact, the alien language links to native culture, is a strong theme that could be explored a lot more Although it was a very action packed scene, Wilma and Danny in the alien ship, I thought that they easily defeat the aliens in Act 3. The award ceremony at the end really reminds of the one in A New Hope, but I like the twist of the stealing of the alien ships.
The sequel-set up is too obvious and makes the story feel unresolved. The fact that our heroes have hidden the alien ships from the US government is enough for setting up another story. I am still pondering if I thought it was or was not a good idea not to show the aliens at all.
You capitalize a lot of nouns, I would take them all out. They’re distracting.
You’ve got too many text readouts, all throughout the script, some repeated. Do your really need so many?
The biggest problem, I feel is the huge Act 1, the long period where nothing really happens. We see the Obelisks drop on the Earth, and then there is no alien activity until Page 53. There is a simple solution here I think. I would get rid of a lot of stuff in the first 30 pages, get rid of a lot of the military stuff, the president (maybe just have the Secretary of State). Your story is not really about the US Army, it’s about this band of quirky Native American folk.
Some other things:
- Your ‘A TITLE:’ should read SUPER: , and it should be on a separate line.
- Just use one name when writing characters. DANNY KEEPSEAGLE should be DANNY. PRESIDENT MCMULLEN should be MCMULLEN.
- Slug lines should be simple, like EXT. ANTARTIC – DAY. And other details should be in the following action paragraph.
- In the text readouts, why do you show many different time zones?? E.g. 4:18 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. 1:18 p.m. New Zealand Daylight Time
So that’s my advice, focus on your likable band of protagonists. Good luck with it!
P.S. is Omakri a made up tribe, I could not find anything on the internet about them.