I Am Legend Theatrical Review
Based on the book by Richard Matheson, and a remake of the film The Omega Man starring Charloton Heston. The movie follows the "last man on earth", Robert Neville (Will Smith), as he struggles to survive in a apocalyptic new York city that has become a barren wasteland by day and a feeding ground for "infected dark seekers" at night.
At the beginning of the film we see a desolate New York City, starting to be taken back by nature, and a small red dot zooming across the screen. This red dot comes closer and we are introduced to Robert Neville and his companion, Sam as they hunt for food throughout the streets of New York.
The movie pretty much stays on the same track for the first 1/3 on film, focusing on how Robert survives as the last human in New York City, how he deals with no human contact, and how he survives. The intrigue and drama on display is palpable, but then the movie, in classic "B" Hollywood form, crashes off course even with Smith driving the film with his talented acting.
The second act of the movies the proceeds to introduce the audience to the villains/victims of "I am Legend", "the dark seekers". The vampiric/zombie like former humans that once inhabited New York City as residence. These characters fail to resonate and simply do not complete the arch that the film makers were trying to complete. More annoying than cool, more laughable than scary, they are a true Hollywood product of "group think" with suits sitting around an executive table trying to come up with what will "sell."
All in all it is hard to point where exactly I am Legend fails. Will Smith does an amazing job as Robert Neville, his dog, Sam, is well liked, the sets are amazing, and so are the special effects. However, everything just does not fit well. Even at 100 minutes the movie seemed to go on too long. As all too often when movies are made not for the creative spirit which should drive production, but rather churned out to make a quick buck, the audience is left wondering if the magic is there anymore.
Legendary films of the 80's and 90's based on creative original stories and ideas are what drive us back to the theater in hopes of finding new legend. I Am Legend, legendary it is not. Richard Matheson's book provided a great premises for a post apocalyptic film focusing on the pshye of a character, yet we might have to wait for the next remake in about 10-20 years to finally get it right.
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 100 minutes
Distributed By: Warner Bros.
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