I Am Legend (2007)

iamlegend_2007_poster
I Am Legend (2007)
  • Time: 101 min
  • Genre: Drama | Sci-Fi | Thriller
  • Director: Francis Lawrence
  • Cast: Will Smith, Alice Braga, Charlie Tahan

Storyline:

Robert Neville is a scientist who was unable to stop the spread of the terrible virus that was incurable and man-made. Immune, Neville is now the last human survivor in what is left of New York City and perhaps the world. For three years, Neville has faithfully sent out daily radio messages, desperate to find any other survivors who might be out there. But he is not alone. Mutant victims of the plague — The Infected — lurk in the shadows… watching Neville’s every move… waiting for him to make a fatal mistake. Perhaps mankind’s last, best hope, Neville is driven by only one remaining mission: to find a way to reverse the effects of the virus using his own immune blood. But he knows he is outnumbered… and quickly running out of time.

2 reviews

  • This movie is a remake of the 1970’s original ‘The Omega Man’ with Charles Heston, and I had pretty high expectations for this film, and for the first 50 or so minutes of the film my expectations were being exceeded. Although then things started to get a little haywire, but I’ll get to that in a minute first I have to tell you about why the film was so good to start with. First of all I have to stress how well done the rundown and abandoned New York City was created using real and computerized images, also all the animals such as lions and deer look amazingly realistic. In case you don’t already know, I Am Legend is about an infection that quickly spreads across the globe leaving Will Smith’s character, Robert Neville, alone (apart from his dog Sam, who is great), his family dead and him trying to discover a cure to make everything better again (his character is a doctor). Will Smith is at his best in this film, showing well the effects of isolation. Although I think that the film should have done more back story on Robert and how the infection fist started, those flashbacks by Robert are very exciting.

    The effect of not being able to see the infected at the start is well done, leaving you tense in some suspenseful scenes, though this is all ruined when the ‘zombies’ are revealed looking like their out of some sort of video game, and also when fellow survivors find Robert (Will’s character), they couldn’t possibly be more frustrating, the women actress is alright but the kid is unbearable. I won’t give too much more away, but I will tell you that the ending is terrible, having some infected ‘leader’ banging his head on bullet-proof glass like an idiot. I Am Legend could have been so much more and it really is a disappointment.

  • Last night I finished reading I Am Legend. I picked it up mostly because I read about the alternate ending of the Will Smith movie, which some criticized for not following the spirit of the book.

    I have mixed feelings.

    (warning: spoilers for both the book and movie follow)

    In the pro-book corner: Conceptually, I’d argue it’s vastly superior to the movie. Robert Neville is an ordinary guy coming to terms with the fact that he may be the last (uninfected) human on the planet. In between bouts of depression and alcoholism, he visits the library and attempts to teach himself about blood disease, infection, and germ mutation, clinging to the weakest threads of hope that he might find a cure.

    For three long years he is alone with the vampires, deadly but slow-witted blood-suckers who surround his home by night. As part of his daily routine, he travels from one home to the next, searching bedrooms and closets and chimneys and freezers, destroying the vampires as they sleep.

    Eventually, he sees the unthinkable – another human person, a woman, walking around in the daylight. While he’s still suspicious of her, he takes her in and explains his progress towards finding a cure. But soon she’s revealed to be “one of them” sent to spy on him, and this is where the most interesting theme is presented: Who’s the real monster here? He’s been traveling from house to house, slaughtering these “vampires” – people with an ugly but apparently manageable disease – in their sleep. He is the creature society now fears; he has become legend to them in the same way vampires are legend to us. He recognizes this fact and stops fighting, deciding they should be allowed to rebuild the world in their own fashion.

    The movie in many ways is over-simplified; the vampires look like monsters and act like monsters, and in the theatrical version, you never have a clue that they’re anything else. The alternate ending shows a slightly more human side, as the pack leader is shown trying to rescue the woman Neville has experimented on; but the moral ambiguity of Neville’s quest to rid the world of vampires is lost. The reference to “legend” is reduced to the heroes-as-legends trope already palatable to audiences, and we’re left with the implication that the survivors will now manufacture a cure.

    Where the movie wins is with Will Smith’s performance, which has an emotional resonance entirely lacking in the book. Additionally, Neville’s connection with the dog and his subsequent loss adds a sense of hope followed by a devastating blow the viewer feels keenly (assuming said viewer is not a ROBOT, that ish is poignant as hell). In the book, Neville’s solitude and his dry detachment from even his own memories makes it hard to relate, or even feel much sympathy.

    Ultimately it’s hard to say which is better, the book or the movie. I’d argue that they’re different enough in tone and intention that you could enjoy them as two completely independent stories.

    Rumor has it there will be an I Am Legend 2 (sequel or prequel, TBD) soon, which I think is a huge mistake. We’ve seen plenty of outbreak movies, and this one would essentially be another take on 28 Days Later. A sequel wouldn’t make much sense either, as Neville’s dead. The movie-verse would probably show echoes of themes seen in The Walking Dead. A sequel to the book’s events wouldn’t leave much to work with either: vampires are building a new society, and without a protagonist grounded in reality, it would devolve into a fantasy.

    Presumably the screenwriters know that as well, so maybe they’ll surprise us. As the 6th highest paid actor in Hollywood Will Smith probably doesn’t need to take jobs just for the money, so hopefully any sequel he participates in will be worth watching.

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