Runtime: 95 Mins (Estimate)
This is our third of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 2014 movie screenplay reviews in the past month or so. I’m sad to say that none of them are impressive as Schwarzenegger movies. The first, The Expendables 3, was a positive review for what it is (rated 8/10 although removed via studio request), good as an action ensemble feature deliberately playing to it’s strengths/cast, but not great for a Schwarzenegger movie because his role is basically another cameo. The second, Sabotage (review, 6/10) read poorly in both drafts that I read, including Ayer’s revision. If that movie isn’t mediocre I’ll be surprised. Maggie is the third and the weakest. As ever, things are subject to alter between this (undated) screenplay and the final product. There’ll also be residual spoilers here and there.
The story here is about a teenaged girl (Maggie, played by Abigail Breslin) who has been bitten by an infected person during the outbreak of a virus. Her case is terminal, throughout the movie she is cared for by her father (Wade, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger). You’ll notice that I didn’t use the word ‘apocalypse’ nor ‘zombie’. Wrong genre/s. Firstly, while this could loosely be interpreted as such, it’s set prior to the shit hitting the fan/breakdown of society. Hospitals and schools are are still open for example, and people go about their daily lives. So there is no apocalypse. Secondly there are no zombies, simply ‘infected’ people who are terminally ill and pose a risk to living people – although they do ‘bite’ and desire flesh. Even then, those types don’t appear. I counted three. In that regard it has Chris Nolan written on it, as in it tries too hard to be ‘grounded’. That fucking hack has a lot to answer for.
So basically Maggie is a drama set on a farm. But even as a drama it’s not very good. No drama worth its salt should repeat itself over and over, this one does though. Maggie, sits solemnly in bedroom. One of her parents checks on her: “Maggie are you okay?”. 20, 30, 70 pages later, Maggie sits solemnly in bedroom. One of her parents checks on her: “Maggie, how are you feeling?” What is the point of this shit? Push some buttons, let’s get a fucking story going here! By the halfway point of reading this I felt bogged down in angst with very little ground covered. Think that season of The Walking Dead, where people sit around a farmhouse doing nothing, only weaker.
The mistake shouldn’t be made either of thinking of this as a Schwarzenegger movie. It’s called ‘Maggie’ for a reason, Schwarzenegger is merely a supporting character. He’s in around 60% of the movie, although his role is clearly significant. I think that fans of Schwarzenegger are going to be disappointed, unless you’re holding out to see him stretch his acting muscles. Likewise, people thinking they’re going to see a zombie movie will probably be even more baffled. Schwarzenegger zombie movie this isn’t. Fine, it’s a drama. But like I said above, it’s seems to be pretty weak at the knees in that regard too. It’s one part ‘Contagion’, three parts ‘Little House on the Prairie.’ I get that Schwarzenegger is trying to branch out, but I’m not sure this was a good pick at all.
I was debating on whether to rate this a 5/10 or a 6/10. Just to reel it in an reiterate that it’s still a screenplay, which is always just a foundation with room to flourish, I’m giving it a generous 6/10.