I Am Legend!

“NO! I AM! I AM!!”

SPOLIERS inside…

I was really impressed with this film and with Francis Lawrence. Although he did some really slick videos back in his day, HE was the main reason i never really had any hopes for this film. I didn’t HATE Constantine, but i felt the guy kinda dropped the ball on that film (starting with casting the ever-annoying shia in basically the same role he played in i, robot).

Here, he shows the kind of restraint from typical conventions i did not believe he had in him. What i like about this film is what the ghetto crowds will hate: it’s slow pace, it’s layering of reveals, and it’s anti-cliche flashback sequences.

Case in point – normally i would not care about anyone they would cast as Will Smith’s family. For whatever reason, i just wouldn’t care. I don’t think there’s ever been a Will Smith family member on screen i could care less about. Especially since they usually are real, actually Will Smith family members. And even though the casting of his daughter here is no exception, it all works somehow. It was all unsettling. The sound design was great. And i loved how you knew things were going to go sour, but then when they did it turned out slightly different then you expected. And how Francis cuts away the second before. Very cool. Like i said, an example of what i was NOT expecting from Lawrence.

NYC in this film is unreal. THIS is an example of how Digital Effects should be used more. Very amazing to see actual familiar sites in their future distressed state. Going in to this, i expected maybe one or two money shots of times square and the brooklyn bridge and the rest all shot in close ups or some Toronto back alley or something. But – WOW – every exterior location is a REAL NYC location digitally madeover and it was really quite amazing to look at the detail going on in the background throughout this film.

Usually, Will Smith walks a fine line of annoying me or not annoying me. I can honestly say, (despite his apparently contractual work out shot) i not only enjoyed him in this but think it’s his best film. I really felt something in this film. Sure, it takes a little of Castaway here and a little Signs there, but it didn’t bother me at all. Actually, i was surprised that i didn’t mind the theme i hated so much about Signs popping up in this toward the end. This might be what Eros does not like – and i can totally understand why. I guess all the depressing emotional angst that came before the end themes wore me out to the point where i was sold no matter what.

MY ONLY TWO CRITICISMS: Something i thought was going to happen didn’t. And i was upset that it did not. When the woman does not know Bob Marley, i thought that we would realize we are even more in the future than thought. It would have been cool to know that it was actually further along, and he just lost track over the years – that time lost meaning in this lonely world…
The way it is now, it’s kind of gay actually – her not knowing who Marley is is just sort of a lazy way to get him to tell us, the audience, some of Marley’s beliefs and such. Poop.

also, more importantly,

The end should play out exactly as it does. When the woman and the child arrive at the giant gate at the end, they exit their vehicle in awe that it is actually there. At first hesitant, the woman knocks and looks at the child.


That would have given me a bigger chill, and i think it would have better served the themes of the ending of this film.

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No Responses to “I Am Legend!”

  1. cybergosh says:

    Oh yeah, one more gripe –

    I still wish that this was made when it was supposed to be made back in the 80’s when i kept readin it was Arnie’s next project (with ridley directing).  At one point I imagined, while i watched this, him saying, “His bark was worse than his bite.”

  2. mdhuff says:

    I’m with Berg.  I really liked this movie.  It’s not perfect, and I don’t like the ending (I read the original ending in script form) but I get why they did the ending.  But Chris, you’re right.  Lawrence did a good job.  It’s a good movie.  I was moved a few times, scared, invovlved, upset.  Well crafted.  And Berg’s ending is MUCH better.

  3. cybergosh says:

    What was the original ending?

  4. mdhuff says:

    The original ending….

    ***Spoilers below***

    The woman and boy show up, and everything proceedes as it does in the released version.  When the mutants attack his brownstone, she helps him escape out into the streets.  They’re on the run.  Huge aliens like scene of fighting through the city at NIGHT for the first time.  They end up back at Grand Central (remember the huge hole in the wall where he was dangling?) she says “in here is safety, trust me.” He does.  But then… it ends up they’re in a hive.  Huge.  Surrounded.  Reveal that SHE and the boy are one of the mutants.  The mutants have evolved, and now some (a select few) can go into the light.  She was sent w the boy to lure Smith into the hive.  They say that “God loves us more, be one of us.” He says fuck you and pulls the pin on a granade.  The End.

  5. cybergosh says:

    Hmmm – i dont know what to think…hmmm…cool in a way….did u know when you were watching it it would not be that ending or where you expecting that?

  6. Roger says:

    Saw it tonight. Liked the scenes of vacant New York, didn’t like the vampires. All of the character that they had in the books was gone.

    Also, I don’t like how they changed the story and theme of the original story. Even if it did fit with the title, it didn’t work for me.

  7. Eros Welker says:

    BTW – $76M.  Go go Legend (and $45 for the Chipmunks, dear god).

    Basically, and I knew it was inevitable, but I didn’t like the new people we met.  She kinda sucked, the boy was lame, and it just opened so many questions.  You and little Skippy drove into Manhattan, an infested warzone, and are able to rescue a military expert with a flare?  The same guy that’s been hiding out in an armored apartment that he’s afraid to reveal to the baddies? Really? I just don’t buy it, and I don’t like the Joan of Arc “God told me so” bit either.

    It just takes what is a really good tale of survival, how to survive, how it plays with the mind, how one man must deal with an enormous problem every day, and the struggles of one man versus the world and eliminates it all.  I loved Signs, thought the “message” worked well for that movie because that’s what the movie was about.  This movie is not about faith.  It was never about faith, so I didn’t care for it.  That alternate ending Matthor shares is good, and if that’s what happened, I’d be more okay with it (with more foreshadowing of the evolution) but as it stands, all it does is lead to Will’s downfall, so there’s nothing to like about it.

    Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this movie and really dug a lot of it; it’s just this little turn that I didn’t care for much.  And the ending itself (I can’t say I’d have preferred the Berg ending, as it would be too Children of Men-ish, and also make me nuts that there was no real closure). 

    And I don’t really like the way the creatures turned out.  I wish they were just Raged people, instead of bouncing, watery folk.  I also wish that more of their evolving humanity played a part; more than just the emerging leader.  I mean, wouldn’t you be freaked out if after 3 years these mindless animals set a trap for you!?  Will seemed to take it in stride.

  8. cybergosh says:

    All valid points, eros.

  9. CR says:

    I’ve have this beef with Signs since I first saw it – faith isn’t wish fulfillment.  Faith is believing even when bad things happen.  I always hated the ending of Signs even though I loved the rest of the movie, I thought if the movie wanted to talk about faith then Mel’s daughter should’ve died and in the end he became a minister again anyway.  I hate that the movie ended with the trite everything happens for a reason – now I see proof of that – therefore I have faith again.  If everything made sense you wouldn’t need faith.  Nuns on the Run taught me that.

    In the paper today there was the story of a little Staten island boy who escaped his burning house, only to run back in to try to rescue his pet dog and lizard still trapped inside.  They all died. Tell his parents everything happens for a reason.

    I loved I am Legend, but I agree the whole God told me lady was a lazy way to go the Signs route of wrapping things up neatly.  If God was telling her about the colony he could’ve mentioned in the same sentence what the vaccine for the dark seekers was. And told Will to leave for Vermont because come nightfall he’d have to kill himself or get chewed alive.  Normally I don’t nitpick like that, especially since He has the get out of jail free card of working in mysterious ways, but I think Will had it right when he told her there was no God.  The Meet the Spartans trailer is proof of that.

  10. DougGold says:

    Having just seen the movie, I finally got around to reading these comments and have to agree with them generally and will add the following:

    1. I’ve read that crowds of actors in prosthetics just couldn’t give the rabid performance needed for the infected, hence the switch to CGI.  I can understand that, but transforming NYC into a wasteland was so amazing that the infected looked really crappy by coincidence.  I kept thinking Will Smith was fighting a bunch of Resident Evil baddies come to life.

    2. I wish they did the original ending to A) keep the original meaning of the title intact, and B) make the infected just so much more interesting.  It seemed to me that the “leader” of the baddies was after Will Smith because he kidnapped his girlfriend.  He was clearly intelligent and Smith ignored that.  I expected him to start talking at the end and was disappointed when he didn’t. 

    3. At first I thought Smith trying to find a cure for 3 years was great.  He was a man alone trying to make up for a failure that doomed the world.  A hint of insanity here and there.  Loved it.  But then the cure that he developed got to the survivors and… then what?  They really saved the world with it?  They injected the millions of infected one by one?  If I were the leader of the survivors and someone told me there was a cure I’d have been like “thanks but we’ll wait until they all die off.”

    4. While these are complaints, I still gave the movie four stars on Netflix.

    5.  How did that woman drive onto and out of an island that had all its bridges blown?

  11. DougGold says:

    Er, “really crappy by coincidence” should have read “by comparison.” I’m really into malapropisms nowadays.

  12. Eros Welker says:

    CR – I hear ya on Signs.  That’s a good point that the whole point of faith is that you don’t need proof to have it.  You also need faith if you’re going to walk across an optical illusion or if you’re going to use a cross against Jerry Dandridge.

    Doug – Girlfriend?! I didn’t even think about that.  Haha, that’s hilarious.  Yeah, I’d give it four stars too, but I don’t buy that they couldn’t have used mostly human actors (with some CGI ones for clambering around) in those scenes.  I mean, between 28 Days/Weeks Later and the remake of Dawn of the Dead, I have to believe we can pull off human-esque infected.

    BTW, and I don’t know this from the book, but what are they actually called? In this movie, they’re Darkseekers, in Omega Man, they’re hemasites (or am I making that up?).  Whats the dealio?

  13. cybergosh says:

    Hey, i’m surprised that no one is mentioning that cool in-joke – the billboard in times square (seen after the lion family).  Awesome.  May 2010!

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