Monday, May 11, 2015

[Review] Maggie

Buildings are deteriorating, crops won't grow anymore, and there is a dangerous virus spreading throughout the land. In other words, considering the post-2010 trends of dystopian cinema--it's zombies. Wade (Arnold Schwarzenegger), instead of being a deeply developed character, is more of an archetypal dude dealing with the circumstances. His daughter Maggie (Abigail Breslin, Little Miss Sunshine) is tragically infected with the virus. The disease is gradually progressing, and they're left with a small list of options.

There have been so many screen takes on zombies that it pretty much has its own subgenres now, whether it's over-the-top camp, straight-on horror, comedy hybrid, parody, plague science, or the gritty and bleak survival tale. Maggie falls into gritty and bleak survival mode (or just slowly dying might be more accurate), and there are certainly a few eerie scenes, but unfortunately the film isn't nearly as thrilling as anything that the TV series "The Walking Dead" has already accomplished.

The film moves at blood-droplet-seeping-through-a-bandage pace, and some stretches take too much time to get anything across. It's as if the script wasn't long enough, so the production needed a lot of lingering and filler to meet a feature-length duration. The film is also notably quiet for big sections, which makes sense in the story's world considering the dwindling population, but for our own film-viewing it ends up on the sleepy side. It seems as though director Henry Hobson set out to make the most subtle zombie film ever, and he might've been successful, but that doesn't mean it's all that compelling.

The makeup work is impressively grotesque and realistically painful-looking. The lighting is fittingly dim and there are some interesting shots, but the constant close-ups make things a little awkward. Not awkward in a sense that Schwarzenegger's beard practically scratches you through the screen, but awkward in a sense that it's constraining and monotonous to watch and a mostly an unnecessary choice. The shallow focus works in that it seems to reflect the blurry vision that one might have when they're slowly "turning", and the sorrow-filled soundtrack of strings is a nice touch.

Schwarzenegger is actually pretty decent in this low-key serious role, but chances are his fans are rather looking forward to seeing him in the setting of Terminator Genisys.


No comments:

Post a Comment