I Am Legend – Review

16 Oct

In 1954, author Richard Matheson released a novel by the name of I Am Legend, which was a surprising hit and played a big part in developing the zombie genre, which now seems to be infecting all sorts of entertainment mediums. This novel also inspired many different movie remakes being 1964′ s The Last Man on Earth, 1971’s The Omega Man, and finally, in 2007, I Am Legend, the first film to directly reference the original source’s title.

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In 2009, it was believed that a new strand of the measles virus could be used to cure cancer. In 2012, virologist Robert Neville (Will Smith) is the only person left alive in New York City, and possibly the world, because of this “cure.” There rest of humanity has been turned into carnivorous mutants called hemocytes, or “darkseekers.” With his trusty canine companion, Sam, Robert scours the ruins of Manhattan for food, more importantly, a potential cure for humanity, so the world could hopefully return to something similar to what it used to be.

There are a lot of positive and only a few negative points to I Am Legend. I guess the first thing I should mention is Will Smith’s performance, which truly is the backbone to this film. Much like Tom Hanks in Cast Away and Sandra Bullock in Gravity, Will Smith is the only human on screen for most of the film. There are a few characters in flashbacks and at certain other points in the movie, but everything really rests on Smith. Let’s just say he’s come along way from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. His performance can often times be funny, but also incredibly human and tragic. His inner anger and loneliness that is vented throughout the movie actually becomes the most interesting part. Of course, I can’t forget to mention that Sam may be the best animal character since the animals in Homeward Bound.

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The biggest flaw that this movie has, in my opinion, are some god awful CGI scenes. The effects and composites in the evacuation of Manhattan look great and the desolate New York City looks great too, but for some reason or another, the darkseekers look absolutely horrible, especially in closer shots. The designers had a lot of material to work with in making these creatures look cool, and they get a really nice introduction, but everything else they do looks like something out of an early Xbox 360 game. I don’t understand how the scenery can look so great using CGI, but the motion capture creatures look terrible. It makes me think that the less of them that was seen, the better the movie would be.

Even with the terrible looking creatures, the real force of the movie is the idea of possibly being the last person on the planet. There are great scenes where Smith’s character talks to mannequins that he has set up in a video store. These scenes are anything but funny, and it really shows the mental decline that can happen with the situation in a very unique way. The entertainment of this movie doesn’t come from the scenes of horror, but from the human emotions that are the foundation for the entire story.

Darkseeker

 

The problems with I Am Legend, are mostly in technical failures with the mutants. They looks sloppy, to say the least, but they mostly just look like unfinished products of the something that is cool. Every other aspect succeeds in surprising ways. The hopelessness that you feel watching this and the isolation of Smith’s character all feel very real and powerful. I’ve heard complaints that there are a lot of differences between this movie and Matheson’s novel, but I can’t really complain about that since I never read the book. Still, to those who haven’t had the chance yet, check out I Am Legend.

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4 Responses to “I Am Legend – Review”

  1. horrorfanatic95 October 16, 2013 at 6:58 pm #

    I love this movie!

  2. Joachim Boaz October 16, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

    “I’ve heard complaints that there are a lot of differences between this movie and Matheson’s novel” — I don’t get why people complain. THEY are DIFFERENT mediums which means only so much can be delivered in film form. Also, the director and writers are inspired by their source material — they in no way “transmit” the book to the screen but adapt it…. A pet peeve I guess.

    • myworldvsthemovies October 16, 2013 at 11:55 pm #

      Good point. It’s wouldn’t be exactly easy making a perfect remake of a novel into a movie, word for word.

      • Joachim Boaz October 17, 2013 at 1:28 am #

        Even if it’s word for word it wouldn’t be a “perfect” remake — just think about how much the individual “act” of reading adds to your experience. Your imagination fills in the gaps… It’s impossible to have a film that actually translates a book to the screen 100% authentically 😉

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