Saturday, December 22, 2007

Film Review: I Am Legend

I Am Legend (2007) starring Will Smith, is a zombie movie. It focuses on U.S. Army virologist Lt.Col. Dr. Robert Neville, who is alone in an empty New York City three years after a mutating virus exterminated the human race.

The virus changed all that it infected into savage, flesh-eating killers -- who then turned on the uninfected in a feeding frenzy. These zombies aren't like those in the George Romero movies. They are much faster, stronger, and agile than normal humans. They are also semi-intelligent, and even cunning, at times. They are, however, extremely sensitive to light, and therefore hide in the shadows during the day. The night, however, belongs to the walking dead.

Accompanied only by his dog, Neville struggles in his underground laboratory to find a cure that will reverse the virus and return the zombies to their normal, human state.

Will Smith's performance was impressive as the failed messiah -- the man who was supposed to save the human race from the virus and who still clings to the faint hope of "fixing" the problem. It is the first movie, to my knowledge, which features Smith with gray hair. The movie will help Smith age as an actor. Some actors, such as Michael J. Fox, are never able to move past youthful roles, but Smith shows the potential to do so. He's come a long way from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

I have written a spoiler on this page. I have written it only because there is a scene in the movie so ghastly that had I known that it was present, I would NEVER have taken my wife with me. Be warned.


JD said...

I have yet to see this, but read Matheson's book. I know the book refers to the creatures as "vampires," so I look forward to the similarities and differences. It also seems that this movie more closely follows the storyline of the book than Heston's version, Omega Man, and is much better than the movie version of Stir of Echoes. Thanks for the review and spoiler. I will now be better prepared when my wife and I see it.


Allen said...

I haven't seen Omega Man. Personally, though, I thought the vampires/zombies were more horrifying in "Last Man on Earth," because they retained their power of speech, and called the main character (played by Vincent Price) by name.

verification: hivespyh. n. a bee-keeper.

JD said...

Allen said:

"I thought the vampires/zombies were more horrifying in "Last Man on Earth," because they retained their power of speech, and called the main character (played by Vincent Price) by name."

If I remember correctly, they did so in the book too. That is why it was well written and a little scary.


DogBlogger said...

Thanks for the spoiler. I'd heard that it happened in the book, but I didn't know if they'd do that in the movie, too. With the way things are around our house right now, I'll definitely skip that one.

Andrew C. Thompson said...

I took my wife to see this movie last week, and I agree with what you write about that 'spoiler scene.' In fact, I think the presence of that scene makes it one of the most depressing movies I've ever seen. I don't mind gritty realism (if you can use 'realism' to describe a zombie movie), but it's hard for me to watch a flick with practically no redemptive aspect to it. Some might argue that the combination of the movie's penultimate and final scenes constitute some sort of redemption, but it didn't work for me.

John said...

I haven't read the book, but the story reminds me of a novella that I once read in which everyone on earth died except for one scientist, who labored mightily to resurrect humanity.