I Am Legend (2007)

April 5, 2008

The movie starts out simple enough. A genetically engineered virus goes terribly wrong and wipes out all of humanity except Will Smith. Sounds normal enough, except for the zombie monsters who live like vampires, only coming out at night. They can’t talk, and they normally rip people to shreds, except when they’re hatching devious plans to trap Will Smith with a well-placed mannequin, a car and some wire. Clever little beasties, but not clever enough to use umbrellas or other sun-blocking devices.

Aside from the zombie silliness it could have been a reasonable movie. A man who has lost everyone he ever loved works desperately to find a cure, slowly losing his sanity and humanity as well. Together with his dog they explore a post-apocalyptic New York hunting deer, planting corn and driving fast in previously traffic-blocked streets. I wonder if he moved all the cars himself, or if everyone was kind enough to pull to the side of the road before they died or turned into zombies. Did I mention in the 3 years since humans died out, New York grew plants and weeds from straight out of the streets and bred an amazing array of wildlife? It must have been nice of the zookeepers to let all the lions and deer out of the zoo before they died as well.

The ending surprised me a bit, but not in a pleasant way. It reminded me somewhat of Signs, where the butterfly would cue Will Smith to say “Swing away, Merrill”. Instead he senses it is a sign from God to quickly give the cured zombie’s blood to Anna and then kill himself in a most unproductive way. Where Anna and the boy escaped to, I have no idea, nor do I know why Will Smith could not have come along too.

The ending I was expecting was for the Alpha Male to break through the glass, only to come for the female, his mate, and they all walk away happy. From what I understand, this is the alternate ending. Unfortunately I did not watch the alternate ending, but had I seen that instead of the theatrical ending, I think I would have been happier.

Another possibility would have been for Will Smith to chuck the grenade through the broken glass and to dive in the little cubby hole, thus destroying the zombies in the room and possibly saving himself. The intent of self-survival would have been a bit more believable than simply letting the grenade go off in the little glass room you’re standing in.

Finally I would like to stress once again, for all directors out there who plan to use CG in your films: It’s not ready yet. Your film looks fake, it looks dated, and 20 years from now when people see it they will think “Wow, what crappy effects!”


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