Maverick bomb-squad guru and avid pot-head Chase Malachi must dismantle a self replicating, psychosis inducing doomsday device that reduces entire universes to sub-atomic dust.
SummaryThe world of Bomb squad guru and tokemaster Chase Malachi has always been a bit surreal. but nothing can prepare him for the outlandish journey that begins with a phone call at work ,researching an improvised microwave bomb, and getting stoned when, his partner DEVON calls him about a mysterious device on a running timer found in an office building.
He gets there to find a massive conglomeration of circuitry harvested from the electronic devices in the building, everything about it defies description. nothing he does stop the timer, yet there are no explosives present, none can be found in the building.
When the "bomb" goes off it's not with explosive force, but with a decaying and disintegrating of the entire world, indeed the universe, Chase and Devon included.
then the story appears to reboot, in what turns out to be a slightly different parallel reality, as Chase again encounters the device, this time with a growing sense of deja-vu about the thing, which is now larger, and more evolved in its electronic chaos.
Chase tries different methods this time, yet still the timer counts down to zero, and we see a more bigger, more cosmic look at the disintegration of the universeAs
As Chase is "reincarnated" repeatedly, each time, his memories of other time-lines where he tried to disarm the "bomb" become more solid, a girl named Faith, an alien in human form sent to help him understand the bomb, and an interdimensional parasite known as the Metaphage, who thrive on on the very law of entropy that the bomb uses to destroy us, will invade the planet, spreading rapidly through multitudes of human bodies in which they can only survive for a short period of time To hunt down Chase, Devon and Faith.
Every time they encounter the device it's a bigger, more advanced, and more bizzare. As it grows it causes a phenomenon called graviton psychosis, anyone near the bomb exhibits disturbing suicidal and homicidal behavior, and ironically enough the psychosis is linked to cannabinoid receptors, Chase and Devon are only able to interact with the device unaffected because the THC is acting as an antidote.
but It's temporary. graviton psychosis gets worse every time, the Metaphage come at him faster every time. If he doesn't figure this bomb out soon, he never will.
First of all, I apologize for the length of this review. I found this tough, as there are many things to love, and yet a number of significant flaws, in this story.
Some aspects are highly original and there are moments that are simply inspired. There are a lot of cinematic and visual moments and some solidly novel sci-fi fare. It is obvious that extensive research went into several innovative concepts. However, there are some plausibility issues, some poor character development, and a few craft and story points that detract from the read.
The overall concept is fairly solid, although I do think another pass needs to be made so some aspects don't look so contrived. At first glance, the plot device, in that being high prevents graviton psychosis, seems really cool. But the mechanism is very on-the-nose. If there
really were localized gravitational effects, this would preferentially affect our vestibular and proprioceptive systems, leading to nausea and balance problems rather than a very, very, specific molecular pathway as is THC reception. Surely the mechanism for psychosis can be more creative than this. It's just all too convenient for a stoner-based movie.
And the most important message Tesla had — for the fate of humanity — is that Chase should visit his mother more often. Come on. This squanders a decent set-up. And, finally, Devon as a primordial god... with self-esteem issues? OK, that's kind of cool, if a bit lame. He's somehow omnipotent, but needs a gun? And whines about minor things. Even having a brain that weed affects doesn't seem like lord-of-all-universes material.
I like the mention of the Cobalt-salted thermonuclear device. However, there's no sense in deploying this device via a container ship. Szilard's thought experiment for the Cobalt bomb requires atmospheric dispersal, for maximum fallout. The yield from a fridge-sized thermonuclear device is not high enough to cause the necessary global dispersal. You're better off deploying a much larger yield device from a plane or high-altitude drone. I know the point of this is to give an existential threat, but it would be more believable if the idea of this particular bomb was to make the city inhabitable for 130 years (which is entirely plausible!) In many ways this is more terrifying.
One other thing: entropy isn't really a substance, as such. It's simply an accounting system for thermodynamic systems. So to state that a dimension is 'pure entropy' or there was a residue of entropy doesn't make a lot of sense, because it's an abstract concept.
There were some great scenes, although a couple of craft issues often detracted from them being 'well-written' (see below). Some excellent description:
"The black sky, the ruined city, the gashes of molten slag running, and a final wide shot of the precinct building's crumbled hulk, blooming with tentacles that race in branching tides across the land, to every horizon."
"Hundreds of tentacles bloom and flail from Todd's headless neck, like evil party streamers"
There were some truly funny and great lines:
"You see? This is why we need that border wall." (after finding out about the nature of the hyper-dimensional beasts)
However, the dialogue and descriptions are too-often molested by redundant commentary, attempting to shoe-horn the reader. In some cases, it feels like an attempt at explain a joke before getting to the punchline:
"as he makes a pair of cannabis puns" (followed by dialogue containing said two puns)
and other times telling us what to think in the action lines:
"making us wonder where we are exactly"
"and we will soon find out why this is so"
"because he's a square and a douche"
"And in an ironic nod to Groundhog Day"
"Been seeing a lot of blue things lately"
My advice here is to just let the often excellent dialogue and vivid description do its job, and otherwise get out of the way.
Personally, I got tired of how many times we went with "Hey, look at this supposedly serious cop smoking yet another joint!" It's not at all shocking to note that people in high-stress occupations tend to self-medicate, and sometimes that bleeds onto the job (cops are no exception to this). I got it the first few times.
There were a couple of terms and concepts that I thought were inspired. The Metaphage is a great concept, and I think 'Entropic Dawn' would be a great title for the script (or a band).
I very much like the concept of the visual motif to give the protagonist (and the viewer) a key to the ever-stranger twists with each new universe. I love talking about Image Systems. However, I'm not sure I'm sold with the motif being merely a color.
The pacing was pretty darn good, especially through the rollicking second act. It perhaps could have done with a B-story, as either Devon or Faith would drop out.
The main character, Chase, was fairly relatable. However, Devon seemed something of a caricature. Pretty much every other character could have done with better introduction and description... which brings us to Faith. Her introduction is:
"She's younger than Chase, 20s maybe. And significantly HOT, so there's that."
This type of description back-fires in two ways and significantly detracts from the read. Just describe what Faith actually looks like, as you're wasting precious real estate by projecting your opinion without taking care to describe your character. Your idea of hot and mine are probably different; they're in a movie, so it's a given that they're likely fairly good-looking to most people. Also, remember that many of your readers are likely to be female. This kind of lazy description is likely to alienate them, plus anyone who can put themselves in their shoes. And her character stays as a Mary Sue, disappearing, with little interaction, before the end. Do this better. Perhaps write a few scenes from Faith's POV to see how it looks. The Captain and Todd fare little better. Take some time to actually describe them. They're people too, it just happens that this is not their movie. Give them a quirk or two. Your audience will thank you for it.
I have to say I really felt quite unsatisfied with the climax. The set-up of the existential threat was very good, but Tesla's vacuous moralizing, and Devon's transformation into a whinging primeval god (a literal deus ex machina!) with self-esteem issues did not live up to the promise of the first two thirds of the script.
Finally, where is this placed? At one point, we get the unhelpful "THE RUINS OF CHASE'S CITY". Just pick a city. Be specific. Seems like L.A. to me. But Denver might be more interesting. It won't dilute your story, in fact it will make it ring more authentically.
In summary, there is a lot to love in this script and I feel there is a lot of promise and some deep and original concepts. However, I feel that the great set-up and rollicking pace is let down by some implausible plot devices, anemic character development, and an unsatisfying climax. I would look forward to reading a major re-write, if that were to happen.
I hope this helps! I hope this wasn't too brutal, as there were many things I really liked about this story.