Sunday, November 13, 2016
Arnold Schwarzenegger's Art Zombie Film; Why I Enjoyed It
I often wind up talking about movies I’ve seen. Movies are quick and a single scene can pack so much story and depth of concept. I can encourage someone to go see a movie and know that I’m not pressing a 300 page commitment on them.
That brings me to the film Maggie. Directed by Henry Hobson and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Abigail Breslin, this film struggled to find an audience. Imbd has an average rating for it of 5.6 out of 10. Rotten Tomatoes is about the same. Only 32 % of viewers liked the film. So before I explain why I did like it, I’d like to discuss a few reasons I think it flopped with critics.
There’s no foreign language or highly complicated metaphors, but it is an art film parading as a zombie film. Oh, and if you’re expecting Arnold to kill zombies with headshots from his trusty shotgun, you will be disappointed. There are a few brief moments of action, but this film is not about fighting zombies. This film is dedicated to care and concern for his teenage daughter Maggie. So what I just told you is that this film violates genre norms. That’s always a risky gamble. In this case, I think most critics and viewers didn’t ‘get’ the story.
The other key flaw to this film is the pacing. It’s slow. There are neat story payoffs at points in the film, but some viewers may feel a little cheated. And if a viewer goes in expecting an Evil Dead or Walking Dead sort of thrill-ride, they will be disappointed.
So here’s why I liked Maggie. Arnold is just a father trying to help his daughter. He’s not an action hero and he’s not perfect. I realize that many stories have portrayed zombification as a virus. But I feel like this was more realistic. The virus has stages of progression. Zombies are called ‘Turned’. And zombies are not undead. A broken neck with kill one just as easily as a headshot. There are horror elements to the film. You have a sense that something awful is happening to people. But instead of wanting to shoot them, the viewer is invited to empathize with them. The climax of the film is why I decided the film is good. I won’t spoil that here.