Voltron: The Movie
First Draft Review Essay
I have recently been given the opportunity to read the actual script (from page 1 to page 111) of the Voltron live action movie written by Justin Marks. I have already written one review; however that was based solely on second hand information received by a reviewer on LatinoReview.com. This time, my review is coming straight from the script itself, fair warning, there are plot spoilers. If you don’t want to know what happens in this first draft then please stop reading now.
The whole purpose of this review
is not to repeat the same old drab that the other reviewers have stated, but to
give the fans the real meat of the script, all the plot points that have yet to
be described for one reason or another (either to avoid spoiling or because it
will seriously piss off the fans). I’m
not going to use this review to convince you to see this movie or to boycott
this movie (that’s what message board debates are for), but to educate the fans
and clear up any misguiding rumors.
Ok, let’s start with the story summary. The movie starts five years after the Drule Empire invades the Earth. The time frame for this movie is near our present day (evidence for this will be presented further down in the review). At first, we’re not told exactly why they invaded but later we find out that after the Drules attacked because they traced the 5 lion keys to Earth. The Earth has all but been destroyed. Everyone is living underground, fearful of the robeasts that have decimated the planet. In a war torn
Lance sends Keith out to a
downed helicopter, where Keith is confronted by a rival survivor gang and a
robeast. After returning with the
supplies, Keith and Lance set to work on repairs to the tank. They are approached by two figures, Allura
and Hunk. Keith and Lance are hired by
Allura and Hunk to escort them from
Unfortunately, this also
attracts a robeast which chases them all the way to a military base/refugee
camp. Allura uses the Blue Lion to
destroy the robeast, but this attracts more attention. As our heroes struggle to finish building the
lions, the camp/base is attacked by dozens of robeasts. The lions are completed and launch a counter
attack, only to get defeated. The base
is wiped out the Voltron Force head back to
Most of the information in the summary above has been stated before by other reviewers. The following is all the ins and outs of the script that most readers and fans haven’t heard of or have only heard rumors of. Please be aware that there are plot spoilers in the rest of this essay. If you’re one of those that is looking forward to seeing the movie and don’t want to know what happens, then please stop reading now. Thank you.
I will start the rest of this essay with the main characters, beginning with Keith. Most of the other reviews have stated that Keith is somewhere in his 40s and has tattoos all over his chest and arms as icons of his past. This is true. Keith has also been described as being a loner, a reluctant leader who doesn’t want to do what he’s told. Marks makes him more like Han Solo in A New Hope, he’s only looking out for himself. What the other reviews haven’t stated was WHY he’s like this. There are a few scenes in the script that explain Keith’s behavior.
That morning, we went at the machines in waves. 100% firepower. It wasn’t enough.
If we could have communicated, allied with the other
armies, maybe we’d have stood a chance, but hell…American, French, Chinese,
After what I saw that day, we don’t deserve to survive.
This explains a little of Keith’s reluctance and his whole “I’m no ones soldier” attitude. He was once a soldier; possibly in the Navy (he has a Navy Cross tattoo). He was “lucky” enough to survive the One Day War and tries not to get too close to people or have anyone rely on him very much. In his room in the New York Underground is reminiscent of a jail cell. He has a HAM radio and a Catholic Crucifix in his room. There is no further indication of his religious preference, though a small religious conversation does take place with Hunk later on. We also find out about Keith’s past. It is revealed that Keith was once married and had a child. We can only assume that they were killed in the One Day War.
We zoom through Keith’s eyes
Into the inner workings of his mind, where neurons and synapses begin to MORPH into wires and circuits. We see brief glimpses into Keith’s memory: training in the military, glimpses of his father, a wife and child, flying a fighter plane against the machines, all disappearing under a raging fire as we -
Events such as this are rampant in the fandom and are found in many fanfictions. The consensus among Keith fans is that something tragic happened in his past and that is why he is always cautious and very protective of those close to him. Many fans were discouraged upon reading the description of the movie Keith; however, this insight into his past sheds light on his movie personality. Though the existence of the tattoos is still out of character, Keith’s past does justify his loner behavior, to an extent. Keith eventually comes around and embraces his leadership role.
Keith stares at the monitor. Frowns. A sense of duty rises in him. He knows what she’s getting at.
You ever been to outer space?
Hey, if the company’s right, I’ll go just about anywhere
Lance is the next character that
I will look at. Lance is described as a
young, black man in his 20s. Lance is
light-weight and he’s jovial, despite the conditions that he is living in. During the first formation sequence, we see
that Lance use to be a taxi driver in
Let’s try this. Why don’t I stay down here and chew your ear out, while you risk your ass on the surface? How’s that sound?
No thanks, I’m a status quo guy.
Lance is also an equipment guy and mechanic, skills that he shares with his cartoon counterpart. He was responsible for the retrofitted Abrams tank that we see in the beginning of the movie. There’s really not a lot to say about the movie version of Lance. He’s fairly close to his cartoon counterpart, except now he’s black instead of white. Also, the movie version shows more of a sense of duty, honor and loyalty than Keith’s movie version. I think the Lance character could work fine the way he is and really doesn’t need any changing.
Hunk is the next character that
I’m going to pick apart. We first meet
Behind her, the gunman lowers his shotgun and removes his hood. Strong, enormous Arab features. Mechanic’s hands o a soldier’s body. This is Hunk (40s)
There has been some discussion
over whether Hunk is or should be Arab.
The comic book series from Devil’s Due and the original cartoon made him
out to be more Asian-American. Again, I
think the ethnic background isn’t really important here. In the movie, Hunk has a wife and children,
which fits his cartoon personality of caring very deeply for kids. The most important aspect of Hunk’s character
though, is that for two-thirds of the movie, he never says a single word. Hunk doesn’t speak until the group reaches
the base/camp in
Hunk puts on a jacket. He speaks to the guards in pidgin. They point in the direction of where the noise is coming from.
It’s not until he is alone with Keith.
Tell me what it was like…
Hunk sits next to him. He cradles his infant daughter on his lap. She plays idly with his enormous fingers
…fighting in the One Day War.
The movie portrays Hunk as being intelligent, not just the hulking brute that loves a good bar fight. The cartoon gave Hunk a personality closer to Hoss from the tv show Bonanza. In the movie, he’s more of a freedom fighter, a gorilla warrior and a religious man who only wants to protect his family and friends. Hunk is also a strong soldier who knows that sacrifices must be made. There is a scene in which a robeast grabs one of Hunk’s soldiers and Hunk must ultimately sacrifice the soldier.
Hunk grabs the man’s hands, pulling at him with all his strength. He looks into his eyes. An old friend. A fellow warrior. He’s a goner and they both know it.
Finally, Hunk makes a grim resolution. The Bedouin nods his agreement. Hunk reaches to the man’s bandolier and pulls the pins from several grenades mounted on his chest. Then he let’s go, allowing the robeast to pick the man up in its colossal hand just as -
This behavior is a little extreme for Hunk, but it is a reminder of the grim reality of war; not every man can be saved.
Hunk is ultimately the reason why Keith decides to help Allura complete the robot lions and fight against the robeasts. Hunk tells Keith the story of Noah and it is this story that changes Keith’s heart.
Show me where you faith talks about being conquered by a race of alien machines. That I’d like to see.
Hunk gently jostles his daughter up and down. She’s beginning to fall asleep.
The Jews tell the story of Noah, to whom God assigned the
task of rebuilding humanity after the flood.
He sent him into the forest to find wood for his
“Build me an
You survive alone while the world crumbles around you. But what you do not see is that we all share the same future.
There is one
Hunk joins in the initial battle of Lion vs. Robeast. During the battle, he crashes into Keith’s Black Lion after they failed to form Voltron for the first time. After making it back to the camp/base, he discovers that the base has been wiped out. Hunk cries out at the realization that his wife and children are among the dead.
Hunk SCREAMS OUT in horrified pain, tears pouring from his eyes. He drops to his knees. The fire rages in every direction. He doesn’t even notice.
Pidge is one of the characters least like his cartoon version. The only similarities are their age and their knowledge of electronics. Lance discovers Pidge hiding in a supply closet in a General Store, where they all stopped to find something to eat. Lance noticed a lump under a pile of blankets. When he pulled the blankets back, he found Pidge.
A little boy
Emerges, undernourished and exhausted, clutching in his small hands a CARVING KNIFE! His name is SUZUSHI HIROSHI, which means “Tin Stone,” but we will come to know him by his affectionate nickname…PIDGE (11).
Scared of the strangers, Pidge tries to hold them at bay with his knife, but Lance grabs his wrist and Hunk gets him in a bear hug. Finally, it is Allura who calms him down merely by looking him in the eyes. Allura wants to take Pidge with them but Keith flat out refuses.
He’s coming with us.
Hey, we don’t have the space.
We’re not just leaving him behind!
He survived this long, didn’t he?
Allura glares at Keith. Finally he relents, putting his hands in the air and walking off.
While at the camp/base in
Pidge disassembles the temporary rig Keith has set up on one of the consoles and sets up a patch, causing the interface to run through the Speak N’ Spell motherboard.
He finds the POWER button and presses it again. The entire console lights up.
Keith and Lance exchange an incredulous look.
Under Pidge’s direction, Keith and Lance work on setting up every cockpit with Pidge’s own cut and paste, hack-assembled electronic designs.
As the robeasts launch their attack against the camp/base, Pidge is the first to emerge in his lion and attack the robeasts. This is not uncommon from the cartoon. In the episode where Lotor creates a robeast from trees, Pidge attempts to hold off the robeast long enough for the Voltron Force to get to their lions.
We learn, from a brief glimpse into Pidge’s memory during the Voltron formation sequence, that he was abused.
On Pidge: hiding in a closet from an old man, probably his father, who beats him with a belt.
Since Marks wrote the “probably his father”, it’s really anyone’s interpretation as to the identity of the old man. The fact that he has been abused is probably Marks’ justification for the fact that Pidge never says a single word throughout the whole script, much like Bumblebee in Transformers. However, as the movie progresses, we do see Pidge warming up to the Voltron Force, specifically Hunk.
Pidge shrugs playfully. Hunk watches him for a long beat. The he reaches out, hesitantly at first, and –
Pats him on the shoulder.
An affectionate gesture. A fatherly moment. Even Pidge recognizes it. Something he’s never had the privilege of feeling. He smiles.
Even as the movie finishes, Pidge says no audible lines. We interpret his meanings and feelings by his actions. It should also be noted that there are no references to his origin from the cartoon, which stated he was from Planet Balto. It would appear that Marks’ decided to throw this out entirely and make him a regular Earthling like the others.
Allura is a mysterious
character, her past is revealed to us slowly over time and it’s not until
two-thirds of the way into the movie that we really learn all about her. When we first meet her, she and Hunk followed
Keith back from the downed helicopter that was transporting her and Hunk to
Allura reaches into a nearby crate and pulls out a SEALED BOTTLE OF WATER. One of the supplies from the helicopter.
There’s more where this came from. A lot more. And enough propane reserves to power and entire city. Get us there safely, and we’ll give you as much as you can carry back.
Hey. This is our home, lady. We got people to look out for –
Keith holds up a hand to silence Lace. He’s genuinely intrigued.
Allura’s sole mission is to
build the five robot lions and use Voltron to fight off the Drule
robeasts. The whole reason she was in
Where was the red key?
We learn that Allura is from Planet Arus (one of the few times that it is mentioned) and that the keys came to Earth after Planet Arus fell to the Drule Empire.
We were in a suspended state. High-density freezing. We didn’t age.
Allura wants nothing more than
to complete the lions and drive the Drule Empire back. During the scenes at the camp/base in
And they don’t need your filthy hands ruining them.
Who are you calling filthy?
Look. You can go whenever you want -
and Sven, over the completion of the lions.
Red, black, and green are still offline. Yellow, maybe. But that’s a big maybe.
You’ve had six moths to finish the job, Sven. How could it take this long?
Do you see any supplies out here in the middle of the desert?
Allura shakes her head in disbelief.
None of this would be a time crunch if you hadn’t brought one of those things out here with you.
You think I did that on purpose?
Keith and Allura share a very Han Solo and Princess Leia relationship, specifically the relationship from A New Hope, as described in the scene below.
Fine. You want to bullshit me? I can play that game too. Just pay your end of the deal and I’m gone. No more Keith.
I’ll see to it you can leave first think in the morning.
Eventually, the two learn to work together and are able to form quite a fighting team at the end of the movie. During the formation sequence, we get to see part of her past.
It’s not just you.
On Allura: as a young child, on a faraway planet, being dragged into a space craft by Coran
The movie version of Allura is made up of about 50% of her cartoon version. She’s strong will, caring, and deeply devoted to those she’s close to and determined to complete her mission. However, her movie version is much more gritty, more gung-ho and much more mature than her cartoon version. She’s seen war first hand and has the emotional base of an experienced soldier.
Sven doesn’t get very much
screen time. We only seem him at the
Sven Holgersson (40s)
Well-groomed, intelligent European with impeccable taste, a cigarette dangling from long, thin fingers. He wears a thick industrial turtleneck. An air of superiority.
I financed the reconstruction of this hangar with money from my liquidated assets. A few months before the invasion. Gave us a place to operate with complete privacy. Which was very important, considering our project…
From what the script shows, Sven was placed in charge of getting the resources and labor to get the lions built. He is also one of the first to discover the robeast invasion. The following scene gives the exact date in which he first made contact with the robeasts and gives us the first real indication of the time frame of the movie.
Articulated rhythm. Recurring patterns. A complex mathematics, but interpretable given enough patience. It’s a language. This is my first encounter with the Drules. July 27th, 1999.
Sven is also a computer genius. In his private room, he created a computer system that he uses to listen to the robeasts’ communication signals. Sven is a lot like his comic book character in that he has the electronic and mechanical know-how of a security engineer. Unfortunately, just like his comic book counterpart Sven also turns against Allura and the others. As the robeasts attack the base, he shuts down the generators keeping the main doors closed. This allows the robeasts into the underground base where the lions are. Once the Voltron Force discovers what’s happening, Sven pulls a gun on them. Similar to his GoLion counterpart Sven gets killed, but not for heroic reasons.
They look up to see Holgersson sitting up, bleeding from his head, but still holding the 9mm, which Keith dropped in the chaos. Pointed straight at Allura.
She just stares back at him with fearless, steadfast eyes. For just a moment we think it might be the end of the road when–
A robeast foot suddenly comes crashing down on top of him!
Another character that gets very little screen time is Coran. Unlike his role as the grounds keeper and Allura’s “father figure” in the cartoon, Coran is an old soldier and is used mainly for explanation purposes. Coran explains the history of the keys to Keith and their significance.
The construction of the Mayan pyramids, hundreds of years
ago. And the Egyptian pyramids in
Those machines up there, they belong to an alien race called the Drule Empire. A civilization that grows by consumption. Namely, the consumption of technologies that a planet builds for itself.
On Arus, these keys were our life source. An energy so complex and so powerful that the Drules would do anything to possess it. That is why they attacked our home planet. But the keys exert their own free will. They travel on their own accord. When Arus fell, they traveled across the known universe in search of a safe home. That brought them here, to your planet. Twelve thousand years ago.
Other than being the explainer of things, Coran really doesn’t get to do much. Unfortunately, this is the only time we get to see Coran, because just like Sven, Coran is shot during the struggle between Keith and Sven.
CORAN HAS BEEN HIT
By the wayward bullet. He lies bleeding in Allura’s arms, the wound having hit him in the chest.
Coran reaches to her hands and takes them in his own. Squeezing them with all the strength he has left.
…make it so…
His eyes white. His grip lessens. He’s gone.
Allura can’t believe what she’s seeing. She wraps herself around his body, caked in blood, not even noticing.
The Drules and the robeasts have been a major mystery since the reviews started showing up. The Drules themselves are not shown, unless the robeasts are considered the Drules, but there is really nothing in the script to support that conclusion. The robeasts have been compared to the Sentinels in The Matrix. However, the robeasts are not all the same shape and size.
A COLOSSAL ROBOTIC FORM
Fifty feet tall, a horrible hybrid of metal parts, complete with some kind of awful face and GLOWING RED EYES, staring down at them. We’re not sure if this is alien or man-made but it’s terrifying.
This is a robeast
Everyone turns around to see a small house being crushed by the enormous foot of a –
SPIDER LIKE ROBEAST
Red eyes trained down on the monster truck. It SCREAMS OUT into the night.
Hunk leaps over several building towards Lance and the robeast when suddenly –
HE IS SNATCHED UP MID-AIR
By the colossal talons of an AERIAL ROBEAST. Just like the others, except that this one has wings! It carried him high above the building. Hunk maneuvers himself so he is facing it point blank and -
The one thing that makes these robeasts even more deadly than the cartoon versions is that they can regenerate any structural damage by assimilating the materials used in the construction of buildings. If a hand gets cut off, they can regenerate the missing hand by assimilating debris that’s scattered around.
Hunk sprints towards her while the robeast momentarily focuses its efforts on PLUNGING ITS ARM into the building’s wreckage to REGENERATE ITS MASS from the debris.
Within a few seconds it’s got another hand. Good as new. Like a lizard’s tail. It chases after Hunk once again.
What allows this to occur is an energy core within each robeast. This energy core can be seen when the five lion keys first come together during the riot scene.
AN ENGINE TURBINE
Flies over his head, headed straight for the rapidly growing energy core.
Nearby, several large tools, as well as different pieces of scrap iron, all surge through the crowd towards the energy core. The people duck and flee as the core grows larger and larger with each piece of mass it accumulates.
On Keith: watching in disbelief.
The metal BENDS AND RE-FORMS itself into a perfect sphere around the five keys, identically to how we saw the robeasts come together. The core itself -
To fully destroy the robeast, its energy core must be destroyed. This is done either by shooting the energy core, stepping on it (with the robot lions) or by slicing it in half (with the Blazing Sword). At the end of the movie, the hundreds (possibly thousands) of robeast from around the world shed their exo-structures and merge their energy cores into one giant robeast, which forces our heroes to form Voltron.
The lions and Voltron himself have been the center of the debate. Mixed rumors on how the lions look have been debated heatedly. Unfortunately, I cannot give any exact details as the script only says:
A GIANT MACHINE
In the shape of a colossal, 50-foot tall LION assembled entirely out of Earth-bound parts. A C-130H tailgate has been used for the mouth, complete with traffic spikes for the teeth. The glass dome of an A6E Intruder cockpit has been soldered onto the head. All of this stands on top of four legs, refashioned from four construction excavator claws.
It’s called a LIONBOT. A hack assembled masterpiece. A mech you could build in your backyard.
However, each lion does have a
separate color scheme and after the initial battle into
One thing that is explained is their controls. Taking a cue from the comic series, the lions rely on the thoughts of their pilots.
The lionbots operate via psychosomatic circuitry, integrating your mind with the machine.
Lance makes a gesture indicating “lost me there.”
You think, they move
The description of the lion keys reminds me of the keys from Voltron: The Third Dimension. But then again, no full description is made.
Small, ancient looking but with some kind of modern edge to them, almost like alien artifacts. Each of them has a different color: black, red, blue, green, and yellow.
There isn’t much in the description of Voltron either.
Along this new creation’s body, watching as metals, circuits, and wires miraculously mold around each other, forming a new shape entirely.
Their connected mass sails high over
A MACHINE-LIKE FACE, made of jagged steel and plate metal, with bright white eyes glowing deeply.
And as the energy field begins to clear, we see it has left behind a shiny, resplendent illumination…what was once rusted metal and hack-assembled bolts have now become a unified mass of gorgeous colors: red, black, blue, green, yellow…and the unmistakable CHROME.
The shape plummets to the ground, somersaulting around itself, its energy field dissipating as the figure bends its knees and –
Feet first, on the decimated ground of
Unfortunately, Keith doesn’t do his trademark “Form feet and legs…” monologue but he does do the “infracells up…” line. However, instead of saying the lines with the fluidity from the cartoon, there are pauses and actions in between the lines, much like V3D. I am pleased to say that the big fight scene with the robeasts and the lions in reminiscent of the cartoon series.
On the other side of the island, near the
You’re running out of space down there.
Not a problem
Suddenly Allura takes a giant flying leap, sailing over a low building and –
PLUNGING INTO THE
The robeast dives in also, forming fins out of its metallic scales as it disappears beneath the surface.
Well, that sums up most of the movie and characters. I just have a few thoughts on what I have read. My primary concern is the rating. As it stands, the movie would get an R rating rather than a PG-13 rating. There is too much cursing and violence for this to be PG-13. It’s not necessarily the amount of violence, but the graphicness of it. The scene where Hunk pulls the grenade pins so that the soldier blows up the robeasts hands would be a bit intense for younger viewers. As I stated, a lot of cussing for a movie based on an 80s cartoon, not exactly family friendly.
One of the major debates is the time frame in which the movie takes place. According to the scene where Sven says he first encountered the robeasts’ signals in 1999 and with the many references to modern day items, it’s likely that the movie starts somewhere between 2004 and present day. Items such as an Apple flat screen monitor being used by Allura at the end of the movie, the numerous handheld games that Pidge owned and the military weapons and vehicles that are shown.
In regards to Allura and Coran, it’s not stated whether Allura is the Princess or not. That is open to interpretation and possibly sequels. Coran’s death is a bit of a shock and rather sad. Although, the fact that Marks’ is willing to kill off a main character does show he’s got some guts.
Sven’s actions are a little rushed and rash. After all the time he spent funding the robot lion project, he suddenly decides that it’s not worth it and is willing to give up on it? It doesn’t make a lot of sense. Though, it is ironic that he dies by the foot of the robeast, something a little more dramatic would have been more appropriate.
Before reading this script, I had some serious apprehensions about the movie. Given what little information was released through the websites currently reviewing it, my hopes were pretty much diminished. However, after reading the script, I can see some potential in it. As a stand alone sci-fi movie it would work. As a Voltron movie, it needs work. Not really a lot of work, just some tweaking here and there and some alternate scenes. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t love this script and I still see a few things wrong, but I don’t hate it either. Like I said, it has potential if the right director gets a hold of it and a good script writer can polish it up. A lot of fans are still going to be turned off by it, but it is still possible to make a good Voltron movie.