Maggie Blu-ray Review
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s bread and butter have always been the action films. Sure he’s done some comedies as well, but that is not where he’s made his mark. We like seeing him shoot, run, punch or otherwise show off his brawn. This is only natural since bodybuilding was his way into Hollywood. In MAGGIE Arnold has to actually act in the film. He does a credible job for a really somber movie.
MAGGIE is yet another entry in the zombie field. The world is getting infected at a rapid pace. People don’t change completely for 30 to 60 days. The physical transformation is quite dramatic. The skin turns purple with veins. The eyes have a deadness to them. Regular food soon becomes uneatable for them and they crave human flesh. Their instincts force them to kill without remorse or feeling. Before the worst happens, the government wants to send affected people to quarantine. In quarantine that is where they basically kill the person and prevent them from spreading the disease. They kill them with a deadly cocktail that is quite painful to the person. Why the government hasn’t come up with something a bit more humane is not discussed. It forces people into a terrible situation where you have to either count on the government to kill your loved one or you do it yourself in a quicker less painful manner.
MAGGIE plays out more like a family drama than a zombie flick. There are zombies around, but they don’t dominate the landscape like other works. This comes down to three people. First we have Wade (Schwarzenegger) who is a stoic farmer and a hard worker. His first wife died and he remarried. His second wife Caroline (Joely Richardson) is a strong woman who bore him two children. Wade’s oldest daughter Maggie (Abigail Breslin) from his previous wife brings the crisis to their doorstep. She escaped to the city after she was affected. She told her father on a phone message not to look for her. Wade could not do that and he found her in a hospital where he takes her home.
There has always been a bit of tension between Caroline and Maggie. Now it is ramped up. Since Maggie isn’t her biological daughter, she can see things more from an outsider perspective. Caroline sends the other two children away to live with their aunt. Caroline does love Maggie as one of her own, but it really isn’t quite the same. She does try though. She rushes out to care for her when she falls off the swing. This leads to one of the more eye opening sequences. Crops are being burned and electricity turned off to fend off the infection. The cops are keeping a wary eye on Maggie and even tell Wade that they will come by later to pick her up for quarantine. They say they are looking out for the town by doing this.
Director Henry Hobson amps up the tension throughout with his music choices and how he films the scenes. There is no let up. He also chooses to film naturally with little light. He has stated that he wanted the film to feel like the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. He achieves this, but the effect is unrelenting and a bit depressing to watch. There needed to be some levity involved to break the somber mood. There is some of that sprinkled in, but not enough.
MAGGIE focuses on the transformation of a teenage girl and how she deals with it. Maggie knows she is going to die and she knows she is not going to experience everything in life. Breslin brings real intensity to the role. You can see it in her eyes as the transformation takes place. There is also a great chemistry between her and Schwarzenegger. You believe the connection that they have. Wade is ready to sacrifice everything for his daughter. He’s ready to take on the police and even his own marriage. He doesn’t care what happens as long as he protects his daughter. Schwarzenegger shows real depth and emotion. You can see him as an everyman instead of his usual heroic persona. Schwarzenegger will never be a great actor, but he certainly shows here that he can be a credible one.
MAGGIE is an interesting zombie film that explores the human aspects of the infection. It though was too unrelenting and depressing to really fully succeed.
Video: The director really went for the minimalist approach. The browns and blacks are the key components here with little color in between.
Audio: I had real problems with the sound throughout. It didn’t help that many of the characters spoke in hushed tones.
Commentary with Henry Hobson: Hobson’s biggest problem with his commentary is that he didn’t seem like he had enough to say. There are long stretches of silence throughout, making this a tough commentary to get through.
Making Maggie (18:14): The cast and film crew discuss the story and how they got involved with it. Some of the dialogue here is repeated in the separate interviews.
Interviews with Cast and Crew
Henry Hobson (8:16): The director touches on the zombie genre. He also relates what it was like working with Arnold, Abigail and Joely.
John Scott 3 (6:34): The screenwriter talks about his inspiration for writing the film. He also discusses working with the actors and especially Arnold in a dramatic role.
Arnold Schwarzenegger (19:48): He touches on several subjects. He relates that he could connect more with the character because he has kids. He says he couldn’t have made the film in his heyday with his competition with other action stars. Arnold also described what it was like working with the director and how it was a collaborative effort. He also talks about the story and working with the two women.
Abigail Breslin (7:19): She connected with her character with friends that have been sick and how other people acted around them. She also talks glowingly about working with Arnold and Joely.
Joely Richardson (8:10): She talks about her character and working with the director. She also discusses her work with Arnold and Abigail.
Deleted Scene (2:15): This is a scene with Wade and Caroline in the bedroom. They are talking about the situation with Maggie and how to deal with it.