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Maggie is the type of film which reminds you that despite how many movies, TV series and video games focus on zombies, there are still ways to make stories involving them remain fresh enough to be enjoyable.
Review (with Spoilers) – Below
Characters & Story
Wade (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is a farm boy, turned man, who has 3 children and currently is with his 2nd wife Caroline (Joely Richardson). But, with some sort of zombie apocalypse going on, unfortunately, the rebellious eldest daughter Maggie (Abigail Breslin), the only from his first marriage, has found herself bitten and transforming. Something Wade has accepted, for he isn’t the only parent losing their child, but as for the matter of how to handle things when she ultimately turns, this is something he is still wrestling with.
While I have never been a huge zombie fan, films like this help me understand the hype behind shows like The Walking Dead, and it helps me understand how after decades, or more, since the introduction of the zombie monster, people still flock to see them in media. Though all things considered, while Maggie turning into a zombie is part of the plot, the main thing worth focusing on is the relationship between Wade and Maggie and how, with age, it seems Schwarzenegger has become a better actor.
For, like most I’m sure, when I see or hear Schwarzenegger’s name, I think of The Terminator, or else his stint as governor. What I don’t associate him for though is being a compelling actor who could do more than be an aging action star. However, in this film, there is a soft side to him and him being paired with Breslin, and a zombie movie, I think allows him to ease his way into the film. After all, while this may not be an action movie, he is still tasked with killing zombies, as well as protecting his daughter from those who would seek to take her away from him.
Though, again, this isn’t about him fighting or fending off outside forces. At its heart, we see a man who is losing his eldest daughter who is the last living thing which has survived since his first wife died. Yet he knows when she turns, she could possibly end his life or the life of the two other children he is responsible for. And Schwarzenegger beautifully portrays this complexity, and Breslin helps him mold this beautiful father/ daughter relationship which really gave me hope that for future movies of this ilk, like The Last of Us, this film may just be only a taste of what can be done with such a dynamic.
To be perfectly honest, there were times I got bored with this film, as I waited for something to happen, and I felt a bit indifferent as Maggie’s boyfriend was introduced, and later on quarantined. If only because, as beautiful as the relationship between Wade and Maggie was made, everything else in the film just seemed to like the same vibrancy. For example, you can tell Caroline isn’t at all comfortable with Maggie, since she is bitten, and Maggie isn’t the most fond of Caroline, but even with the woman having scissors in her hand, tempted to maybe kill Maggie, neither the score, or the impression we are given about Caroline, really makes you think she may do anything.
Then, focusing back on Maggie’s boyfriend, Trent (Bryce Romero), honestly as much as we knew part of her getting infected dealt with her running off somewhere, and her being your average rebellious teen, it seemed like her social life was slapped together as we watched it play out. Or, another way to put it, the whole situation with Trent seemed almost purely for foreshadowing the inevitable, and the worst that could happen to Maggie and Wade, vs. showing how sad it is that both of their young lives will soon come to an end. Either by the methods used in quarantine, or else by someone killing them.
Overall: TV Viewing
If you focus purely on the struggle of Wade, and the issues forthcoming when it comes to Maggie, this is a good film. However, once you through Maggie’s relationship into it, and add in Caroline who is a so-so addition to things, the film seems like it perhaps should have been an hour or so and cut everyone else out of it. Hence the TV Viewing label since while this is a good film, the almost unnecessary additions, seemingly put in the film to increase the time length, don’t do hardly a thing to keep your interest.