THE INKWELL OPPORTUNITY, INC.
TITLE: Amber Shadows and the Missing Wands
AUTHOR: Wendy Willett
GENRE: Fantasy, Young Adult
LOCALE: Fantasy world
DRAFT DATE: 2009
Amber is a young witch who goes on a mystical adventure of white and black magic. She must use her quick wit and budding magic powers to conquer an evil witch who holds her family hostage. When Amber discovers her great-grandmothers spell book hidden in her attic, she calls upon her two best friends Jasper and Mariana to help her solve the mystery of her parent’s disappearance. On their journey they encounter Humphrey, a dwarf, and his two brothers, Hobnoby and Humperdink who join up with the teens in order to get there sister back who they believe was kidnapped by the same evil witch who is responsible for Ambers parents disappearance. With the spell book in hand, Amber, friends and dwarves set off to solve magical riddles and puzzles with magic and cleverness in order to get there family members back from the evil witch.
Jasper, Marianna, Amber and then the cast of three dwarves set off on an adventure through different dimensions, real and imagined, they encounter mystical animals and people. The witch sets up traps that the teens and dwarves must conquer in order to move on to the next. It is in a way like a video game. The suspense and challenges have the appeal of a video game. They must conquer a Dragonian sea dragon, ferocious vultures, traps; each one of the teens is tested. They must conquer their own fears and overcome odds in order to save one another and get to Amber’s parents.
The characters are unique and interesting. Amber is portrayed as a bright, powerful young female who must call upon her inner strength to lead the others and overcome evil. Her serious character is complemented by her best friends Jasper and Mariana and the three dwarves they encounter. Jasper adds a boyish charm to situations, always jumping to conclusions and getting flustered with his magical powers. At one point, he punches the wall and Mariana just looks at him and tells him he is ridiculous for thinking that would solve anything. The dwarves create great physical comedy and break the tension of seriousness of Amber’s quest. The dialogue is well constructed and the young wizards are well developed. The relationship between the two girls and Jasper is endearing, cure and quirky. It has a young adult humor that adults can also enjoy.
The description of setting and mood are wonderfully vivid and create beautifully layered worlds of the surreal and real. The use of light and magical colors in the script helps convey a vivid imaginary world. The repeated use of gold throughout the movie creates a structure and the stunning swirling murals examples of the many magical illusions described. The movie incorporates all of the senses, taking full advantage in order to create a fully fantastical world where imagination/magic and reality float back and forth seamlessly.
The balance between the dark and the light/comedy and drama is very successful.
The dark elements of the script include spiders scurrying at nightfall, dead bodies scattered along the street and bats bodies burning. These elements create a serious and suspenseful attitude to the script that allows the movie to transcend into a movie that both children and adults can enjoy.
The game-like structure also adds to the success of the script. They must outsmart the evil queen by winning her game and they have to explore different dimensions in order to find where the witch is hiding. In order to solve the puzzles, the teens must call upon their wits and cunning, and not just their magical powers. This battle between good and evil reveal a positive and universal message in which creative thinking and conflict resolution win over evil and violence.