Robert Neville is a scientist who was unable to stop the spread of the terrible virus that was incurable and man-made. Immune, Neville is now the last human survivor in what is left of New York City and perhaps the world. For three years, Neville has faithfully sent out daily radio messages, desperate to find any other survivors who might be out there. But he is not alone.
|Title||:||I Am Legend|
|Release Date||:||December 14, 2007|
|Genres||:||Drama, Horror, Action, Thriller, Science Fiction|
|Production Co.||:||Village Roadshow Pictures, Original Film, Weed Road Pictures, Warner Bros., Heyday Films, Overbrook Entertainment|
|Production Countries||:||United States of America|
|Writers||:||Mark Protosevich, Akiva Goldsman, Richard Matheson, Mark Protosevich, Akiva Goldsman|
|Casts||:||Will Smith, Alice Braga, Charlie Tahan, Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Willow Smith, Emma Thompson, Darrell Foster, Joanna Numata, Dash Mihok, Samuel Glen, Pedro Mojica, Marin Ireland, Alexander DiPersia|
|Plot Keywords||:||saving the world, lost civilisation, post-apocalyptic, dystopia, matter of life and death, alone, helplessness, virus, pandemic|
I Am Legend Reviews
- Extravagant wrapping around an empty box.by 17 December 2007on
699 out of 1137 people found the following review useful:
I hope this is the last incarnation of Richard Mathesons's brilliant classic. Why does Hollywood have to mess with perfection? I was anxious to see it, having read the book several times, and I'm a fan of Hollywood's first impression of the original tale, The Omega Man (1971). I've also seen 28 Days Later; On The Beach; The Stand; Fail Safe; Threads; and The Day After several times each. I guess you could say I love the Apocalypse as a theme.
I've been a fan of Richard Matheson almost since I learned how to read. Besides Rod Serling, he is the man behind many of the classic Twilight Zone stories (second only to Serling himself), and has penned other novel-to-film classics like What Dreams May Come; A Stir of Echoes; The Legend of Hell House (paralleled, if not plagiarized, by Stephen King with his Rose Red); and countless screenplays. Where American Sci-Fi fiction is concerned, he is right up there with Isaac Asimov, Michael Crichton and Ray Bradbury. Stephen King and Dean Koontz are great too and I enjoy their work, but they write pulp. Unlike Matheson, Crichton, Bradbury and Asimov, there are no lessons or morals from King and Koontz. It's just entertainment.
This brings me around to my critique of the movie I am Legend. As entertainment, it works just fine. Will Smith is just okay, like the Chevrolet of Acting. He's predictable, and does what you want him to do. He brings no depth or personality to the protagonist at all. He's just a body. As for the other actors.......well, they are mostly CGI or creatures. Oh, yeah....there's a dog too.
For the second time in film (The Omega Man being the first), Robert Neville is portrayed as US Army medical officer who is intimately familiar with and is partially the cause of the virulent disease that has turned the world into bloodthirsty homicidal maniacs. In Matheson's book, as well as in The Omega Man, there is a biological warfare element. In the current film, the virus has more benign origins, but that's all I'll say. Matheson's literary Neville is just a blue-collar guy who is smart enough to try and find an answer to the catastrophe. That theme is what made the book so compelling. No state of the art laboratory, no heavy credentials. Neville was an ordinary guy who was caught up in extraordinary circumstances. By night, he holes up in his modest but heavily fortified LA home, blasting Beethoven and getting drunk to drown out the howling hordes of quasi intelligent vampires who want to kill him. By day, he hunts them down in their lairs and kills them in their sleep. He is actually the bogeyman....the terror by day, a daymare. "Brush your fangs, junior, or Neville will come and get you in your sleep!" Think about it. What does the title I am Legend really mean? Apparently, Akiva Goldsman has a very different opinion.
Obviously, Hollywood decided long ago that CGI and special effects will trump a good story every time. Like a child's video game, imagery has become the stimulus. It was briefly interesting to see Manhattan as deserted and overgrown, but the special effects seemed to be what the movie was relying on. Take them away, and there was nothing left. Was the movie bad? Not at at all, but it would have been more accurate to title it as Home Alone 4: WTF am I doing here?. Matheson's tale was botched again. So badly in fact, it bears no resemblance to the original book. That's ashame. Call me a purist, but why does Hollywood have to rework a classic, or inject so much "artistic license" into a plot that it becomes something utterly different than what was originally created? M. Night Shamalayan showed us what is still possible with superior writing, directing, and minimal special effects. Just watch The Sixth Sense. Here we have a film that had huge potential, given over to a mediocre screenwriter/producer and a relatively unknown director whose only experience was with music videos and the forgettable bomb, "Constantine." I think that the egos, greed, and arrogant laziness of the producers and screenwriters have a lot to do with the dumbing down of great original fiction.
There are a number of key elements from the book that this film virtually ignores: The overall vampire legend itself, Neville's personal struggle to save his little family from the dust-borne plague; his undead wife returning to him; the daily vampire hunt; his former carpool buddy and neighbor, Ben Cortman, who has become his nightly nemesis; and most importantly, the near fatal "stopped watch" incident, which even The Omega Man indirectly paid homage to. All of these items would have required the screenwriter and producer to do some actual writing, rather than letting the CGI guys take over the production.
Some ironies to consider: The book itself was only about one hundred and forty-odd pages long. Three movie attempts essentially blew it. The Omega Man wasn't close either, but was far more original in execution than the current version, in my opinion. The Spaghetti thriller, The Last Man on Earth(1964) with Vincent Price, was almost perfect where the story was concerned. Unfortunately, it was so low budget that the production quality made it almost unwatchable.
Matheson spun an enduring classic in less than two hundred pages. It was the quality of the material rather than "pictures;" or special effects, that made the story. What ashame that this movie couldn't have done the same. If you're into apocalyptic Sci-Fi, you'll probably enjoy this film. But don't expect too much.
- Surface is great, but...by 15 December 2007on
555 out of 864 people found the following review useful:
This film could easily have filled 2.5 hours of content. Why did it only last 1.5? I want more back story. I want more character development, especially toward the end. I want to know more about what happened, and how Will Smith's character is dealing with it. In short, I just want MORE.
All in all, this film left me feeling a lot like I did in Spider-Man 3: A lot happened, but none of it was really EXPLAINED.
It's a shame, really, because the concept is golden... and Will Smith's films usually feel quite epic and full. I'll definitely pick up the novel... hopefully it will give me the depth that I want.
- Gut-wrenching movie full of adventure and heartby 14 December 2007on
610 out of 993 people found the following review useful:
I just saw this movie today, the day it opened here. And was deeply, deeply moved.
I've got to start with the scenes of a deserted New York City post-apocalypse. These were so very, very moving; and very, very convincing. The clips in the trailers for the movie were good, but you really have to see the full panoply of close-up shots, distance shots, etc to really appreciate the sheer scale of what this movie is depicting. There's something of On the Beach and Resident Evil and of any number of disaster movies and zombie movies here. But none of them do justice to the New York depicted here. This is a New York City we see large-scale and micro-scale in order to show us the environment in which the main character is acting.
And Will Smith is simply brilliant as the sole survivor, Robert Neville. Will delivers movingly and convincingly on a script that really focuses on giving us a picture of "what it would be like" ... to be the last man on earth, living off the land in NYC. This is the real strength of this movie: there's really not a lot of blood or gore or zombie scenes at all. Yet I was riveted as Robert goes through his "typical days" in NYC. Every moment was full of pathos and full of menace, too. And occasionally we got some relief from Smith's trademark humor that blended seamlessly with the rest of his performance to give us "what it would be like" with a powerful delivery that just leaves me almost breathless.
There's an effective use of flashbacks that partly tell us the story of how we got to where we're at in this grim New York City; and the flashbacks also serve to give us an overwhelming contrast between Life Before and Life After the apocalyptic disaster wiped out the city. Yet use of flashback was sparing, which I found all the more effective.
Cinematography was excellent throughout, the storyline and script are brilliant, the use of a dog, Samantha, as a key actor was perfect to show us both Robert as companion and Robert as lonely, isolated survivor.
I won't give away the ending, but think it was satisfying as far as it goes, but not nearly as appealing, from my angle, as the foregoing material. That brings up my one complaint: the title. By the end of the movie, we have some sense of the meaning of the title. Yet it still seems to me to feel cheesy and really unworthy of the movie.
But that's a minor plaint. If you haven't seen this movie, and would enjoy seeing a really powerful story about a survivor in post-apocalypse New York City, hey, go check out this flick. It's really worth it.
- An acting buffet of Will Smithby 14 December 2007on
513 out of 810 people found the following review useful:
If I could sum this movie up in one sentence, it would be this: Go Will. Will Smith is the driving force of I Am Legend. His performance as Dr. Robert Neville is impeccable. Living in a deserted NY city, his acting is reminiscent of Tom Hanks in Cast Away, but instead of a volleyball, he has mannequins and a faithful German Shepard named Sam. His basement, a retro-fitted, high-tech lab to find a cure for the disease that has turned the population of the entire planet into mutant, zombie-like, hive mind, blood-thirsty monsters, and, for some reason, Robert is immune. His days, spent hunting. His nights, sleeping with a high-powered rifle and hoping that the mutants don't find him. Keeping the movie flowing are well placed flashbacks that show what happened to Robert's family and why he is there. The movie falters a bit at the end, maybe at the last 5 minutes, but it doesn't ruin the plot or acting put forth. Containing wonderful cinematography and CG, I Am Legend is a spectacular film that I will be seeing again! PS - Shout out to my NY National Guardsmen in this film! Great job!
- Really well acted, well done filmby 14 December 2007on
443 out of 682 people found the following review useful:
At first, I thought that this movie would be okay at best, abysmal at worst. But I was pleasantly surprised to see Will Smith, "Robert Neville," give a spectacular performance, full of emotion and anger, and bordering a bit on the insane side. I take off points only because it seems like a film that's been done before (and it has, I know, but I don't mean literally). What sets it apart from the rest of the post-apocalyptic man made human killing virus that zombifies people films is the depth of Will Smith's character. With cross-cuts to dreams and the portrayal of Robert Neville's loneliness, the audience connects with him on both a deep mental level and a more surface level driven by pathos. You both laugh and cry with him, you jump out of your seat when he gets scared, and you cheer for him throughout. I walked in expecting a zombie shoot-em-up and settled into something much more thought provoking and intense. It wasn't perfect, but it certainly deserves a look, even if you're not into the whole undead thing.
- "Legend" really separates itself from all other post-apocalyptic films.by 14 December 2007on
421 out of 658 people found the following review useful:
Is it me, or does every movie that portrays the future, it's always some post-apocalyptic setting or the fall of man with man itself to blame? Not a lot to look forward to is it? Anyways, after years of being let down by so called scary zombie/virus movie genres and other blockbuster thriller debacles, "I Am Legend" really separates itself from the group.
Without giving too much way, Will Smith plays a sole survivor of a world dominating virus created by man that was originally created to cure cancer. Three years into the "new" world, Smith (who was a former doctor) dedicates his life to survival, finding a cure....and talking to mannequins. In order to find a cure he seeks out the infected, who only come out at night, and hoping to correct man's mistake.
"Legend" was the first truly scary movie I've seen in some time. Realism is the main factor in scary movies in my opinion. If it can happen, than that's pretty scary. Also, Smith's portrayal of despair and borderline insanity of three years of seclusion added to the effect. With the exception of his dog, Smith had no live contact with constant failure attempts of his cure only leading to his insanity. It had a "Cast Away" feel to it with his dog as to Hank's volleyball and his house reminding you of that stranded island.
The action/suspense scenes coupled with superb sound direction were also heart pounding and unexpected which added to the "scare" factor. Whenever Smith engaged with the zombie-like survivors, there was that claustrophobic feeling that I haven't felt since "Alien." My only real complaint was the overuse of CGI over real actors for these characters, but with their speed and strength that these things showed if may have not been possible.
"Legend" overall is one of the better movies of 2007 and a must see. Not Oscar-worthy by any stretch of the imagination, but it's certainly entertaining, realistically tense and maybe even thought provoking.
- Should have been betterby 29 December 2007on
283 out of 395 people found the following review useful:
The 1954 sci-fi/vampire novel "I Am Legend" by Richard Matheson has now been filmed three times: as "The Last Man On Earth" in 1964 originally scripted by Matheson himself (which I have never seen), as "The Omega Man" in 1971 without the vampire elements (which I have viewed three times), and now with the original title and expensive sets and special effects. This time the seemingly sole survivor of the worldwide pandemic Robert Neville is played by Will Smith who is an actor with real charisma and charm and considerable box office appeal who has beefed himself up for the role.
The main strength of this version is the location shots in a deserted New York City (a move from the Los Angeles of the book and earlier films) and, although the filming of these scenes apparently caused traffic chaos and much anger for local residents, they chillingly set the tone for this dystopian thriller. To see the silent streets around Times Square or South Street Seaport or the lone scientist fishing in the Metropolitan Museum of Art or playing golf on the "USS Intrepid" is to view this heaving metropolis as we have never experienced it before. The German shepherd dog who is Neville's sole companion deserves an honourable mention for showing greater thespian skills than most of the extras and stunt men.
The principal weakness of the movie, however, is the realisation of the surviving victims of the virus. The CGI characters are almost as silly as they are scary but, above all, they are presented as more animalistic than human. "The Omega Man" handled these characters much better presenting them as sad as well as scary. The other serious fault is the lack of clarity in the narrative - at times, it is simply unclear what is happening and why and a longer director's cut would be welcome. Finally the references to Ground Zero and God may play well with American audiences but will not be so resonant to audiences elsewhere in the world.
- A missed opportunityby 23 December 2007on
731 out of 1326 people found the following review useful:
Let's get the obvious stuff out of the way - Will Smith is excellent, as usual. The scenes of an abandoned New York are amazing, in much the same way as the shots of a deserted London in 28 Days Later.
Now on to the disappointing stuff - the CGI work throughout the film is terrible. 14 years after Jurassic Park, and this is seriously the best they could do? I could live with the CGI animals, but the CGI 'infected' are just beyond belief. They all look the same, they all behave in ways that are clearly opposed to the laws of physics, and they all look as though they've stepped out of a cartoon or a computer game.
It's hard to overstate just how unconvincing the CGI work is; about half-way through the film stops being 'real' and turns into an absurd mix of the real world and sub-par animation. It's more 'Mary Poppins' than '28 Days Later'.
Real people with prosthetics would have made a much greater impact, and may have added some genuine thrills into what is otherwise a fairly dull film.
The ending - and I won't use any spoilers - is very weak. Ultimately, 'I Am Legend' is a wasted opportunity; worth watching, but only just.
- I Am Legend: The Movie With So Much Potential That Was Ruinedby 15 December 2007on
153 out of 188 people found the following review useful:
Normally I have an opinion on a movie when it's over, I can reflect on it for a few minutes and then I'm done with. It becomes cataloged in my brain as 'awesome' 'pretty good' 'worst.movie.ever.' or a host of other standard issue classifications.
Not so with 'I Am Legend.' I can't recall the last time I was this frustrated by a movie.
It had so much potential to be so great, and then just fell apart in the last third of the movie with every summer blockbuster/zombie movie cliché known to man, run one after the other.
The movie creates a fantastic atmosphere of post-apocalyptic New York and requires your patience as Will Smith's character begins to unravel as the monsters around him begin to become more aggressive and intelligent. Before heading out to see the movie, I did some research on the book the movie is based on and the reason it is such a well known classic story is because of the twists, perspectives and grim ending. What you find out towards the book is that Neville really is the last man on Earth, and the rest of society are now these zombie/vampires, and Neville's ability to walk around in the daylight and kill them has basically made him the monster. He is the one feared by them, he is the villain, and they will stop at nothing to eradicate this day walker who preys on them.
Keeping that in mind, I was super impressed by how the movie seemed to be heading in that direction with that head Zombie guy's heated animosity towards Neville as if it were personal (and perhaps the zombie Neville captured were his significant other, thus lending the zombies an actual 'society), and not merely 'meee hungry for flesh.' The movie basically went right down the tubes when Will Smith decided after he had to kill his dog that he was going to go on a suicide mission at the docks playing Destruction Derby with his Explorer. All of the haunting, edge-of-your-seat suspense and fear created brilliantly with the scene in the abandoned bank, and with the zombie dogs clamoring for the last sliver of daylight to cede, and creepy subtle atmospheric effects throughout went right out the darn window and we suddenly found ourselves in '28 Days Later.' With some random chick coming out of nowhere to somehow scare off 100 angry zombies (who had just blown his UV truck to hell mind you; but apparently she had outfitted a better one than an incredibly resourceful Military Soldier/Scientist), carry Will Smith, who weighs twice as much as her, into her car, and somehow drive them to safety.
So we find ourselves in an incredibly uncomfortable scenario with the Brazilian chick and her creepy Columbine son, and some Bob Marley metaphors laid on top of terrible dialog. Then, instead of a suspense-ridden in-the-dark atmospheric climax, with heavy breathing, flashes of gore, heart pounding scene, we're left with cheesy CG explosions, zombies body slamming people, no one keeping a gun on them when there's about 50 scattered across the house, and other usual stupid horror/action movie miss-steps.
We finally find ourselves with Neville, back against the wall, Zombie leader separated from Smith's neck by a rapidly deteriorating inch of glass and I'm hoping the movie will be somehow salvaged with a great twist, a grim conclusion, or at worst, a convoluted piece of foreshadowing from the first twenty minutes of the movie being pulled out of the scriptwriters pie hole to be played out here. (I personally thought he could have awakened the zombie girl he was curing and seen if the reaction of the intelligent zombie would have caused a reaction, or if some communication could have been made between Neville and his antagonist who at this point we've come to realize is moderately intelligent). I'm an idiot for expecting anything but 'yo, hide in the chimney while i blow myself up.' Don't even get me started on the Utopian Vermont safe-haven, seriously. You're going to tell me 1 million zombies couldn't overrun some 20 foot walls spanning what would approximate 2 miles of land? Christ. I could have written a better ending in 20 minutes on the back of a cocktail napkin.
- A mixed bagby 13 December 2007on
174 out of 253 people found the following review useful:
Just finished a pre-screening here and I'm actually pretty disappointed. The first half of the movie was great and started to build something interesting despite the glaring lack of any background regarding the story. Yes, I realize that you get a few flashbacks but the writers decided not to include any flashbacks of how the disease started, no clips of people progressing through the stages of illness, in essence, everything that led to the point Will Smith ultimately arrived at.
*SPOILER ALERT* While this certainly was a drawback, it is nothing compared to the non-events that surrounded the relationship between Smith's character and what seemed to be the head of the vampire/zombie/darkstalkers. Just as the plot was beginning to develop between them, the film took an epic dive right around the time Smith's dog died. There was absolutely no further development and even though the darkstalkers seem to show some intelligence and evolution, the movie is concluded with their leader banging his head against the glass and screaming like an idiot. It all leads to an ending that seems like a cop-out and left me feeling wholly unsatisfied. *End Spoilers*
There were definitely some great parts, the cinematography was fantastic and the computer generated scenes of a dilapidated and "uninhabited" New York were amazing. It most certainly was scary and there were times that made me jump though the animation on the darkstalkers was not particularly impressive; in fact, it reminded me a lot of the movie "The Mummy" with Brendan Frasier. Smith once again proved himself a very capable and believable actor. The first half is great, though the second will definitely leave you with a bad taste in your mouth. My advice: leave halfway through and you won't be disappointed!
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