Sunday, December 30, 2007

Review: I Am Legend

My sister really wanted to see I Am Legend. Of course, this was when she didn't know there were zombie-vampires (or Ubervamps as we like to call them) in the movie. Unfortunately for her, she only found out while she was already watching the movie. I purposely didn't warn her as payback for making me watch Harry Potter and the something something of the Phoenix something (no idea) over the summer.

This movie, based on the Richard Matheson novel of the same name, is about a man named Robert Neville (played with conviction by Will Smith), who supposedly is the last human living in New York. See, there was this virus, created to cure cancer (if only it were that easy), but instead of actually curing cancer, it turned people into Ubervamps. The virus spread and the Ubervamps killed the non-infected, and somehow Neville managed to survive all this. Now he has pretty much dedicated his life to finding a cure to reverse the effects of this virus, without much luck.

I don't know where to start with this movie. I liked it, but don't think it's particularly great mainly because it has a rewatchability factor of zero. The first part of the movie has Neville wandering through a desolate New York with his dog Sam, going about what seems like their daily routine. I mean, he actually goes to the videostore and comments that he's halfway through the letter 'G' by now. IMHO, the only reason this part of the movie actually works is because of Will Smith. I can't think of any other actor who would be capable of carrying a movie like this all by himself. His talent and charisma makes this worth watching. Try to think of any other actor who could appeal to a broad audience and make this film open with $77 million in its first weekend. Smith rocked his part, because I could actually feel his despair and loneliness. While this movie may not be in my top 5 of the year, his performance definitely is.

The second part of the movie features the Ubervamps. I have to say, that scene where Sam wanders off in the dark and Neville goes after him is terrific. That was really scary. I've heard a lot of complaints about how bad the CG Ubervamps look. Their look never really bothered me. It bothered me more why they needed Dash Mihok (Romeo & Juliet, The Day After Tomorrow) to play the lead Ubervamp. It seemed kinda pointless since the lead Ubervamp doesn't actually do that much. Overall, I don't think this part of the movie is as bad as people make it out to be. That is, if you don't compare it to the book. I didn't know anything about the book when I watched the movie so I didn't have anything to compare it to. Afterwards, I did a bit of research and now I do feel this part is somewhat disappointing. In the book, the title comes from the fact that Neville is a legend to the vamps and they fear him. I didn't get the impression that was the case in the movie.

Actually, my biggest problem with this movie concerns the flashbacks. I feel we didn't get enough of them. Something was missing. Maybe a flashback or two showing how New York turned out the way it did and why (and how) Neville survived?

Overall, I enjoyed this movie for the most part, mostly thanks to Will Smith and his dog. A 3,5/5.

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