After stumbling upon an alien signal, a tree-hugging MIT graduate must save the planet before resource-hungry invaders wipe out the last of humanity. Independence Day
I think the inciting incident needs to be adjusted to include the threat. Currently, he’s just stumbled upon a signal…. but that doesn’t tell us the aliens are trying to kill us. It actually makes a slight disconnect between the inciting incident and the goal. To me, the inciting incident is the discovery that the aliens are hostile. This is what sets up the goal of saving everyone.
Independence Day is an ensemble film. Arguably, Will Smith and Bill Pullman are joint protagonists too. I think we need these to understand what’s going to happen throughout act II. Otherwise, if I’m reading this like I had no knowledge of Independence Day, I’d be wondering how an MIT graduate saves the entire planet in an action film. Add the president and an ace fighter pilot and suddenly I start seeing how it’s going to work. It can still be framed around David though, it just becomes part of what he must do in order to save the world.
“wipe out the last of humanity” – this, to me, suggests there’s not many of us left.
“save the planet” – how? What actions sustain us through act II in order to achieve this goal.
Stick with it. It’s difficult to write and review a logline for such a well-known movie because the majority of people know the plot.
Thanks for pointing out my “Doh!” moment which was referring to the sequel.
That said, I still think that formulating any logline for the original film that satisfies the standard requirements and rules is problematical. For example, one of the standard rules is that the logline should focus on one protagonist. However, as mikepedly85 points out, in this film it requires an ensemble of people with diverse talents to rise to the crisis and achieve the dramatic goal of defeating the aliens. No one character can do it by himself. Saving the world requires a team effort.
Furthermore, I suggest that in a logline any character description should serve either one of two purposes. Either it should 1] define a character flaw that that will cause that character to fail unless he over comes it; or 2] define a character strength that the character will need to triumph in the end. Any description of character that doesn’t satisfy either purpose is extraneous, doesn’t belong in a logline. (Even though it may serve a useful purpose of adding character color and complexity in the script.)
In this case “MIT graduate” implies a necessary character strength: the character has the intellectual bandwidth to decode the mysterious signal. However, what purpose does “tree hugging” serve in either advancing or retarding the character’s progress to a solution? None that I can see. So, imho, it is extraneous to the logline.