Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence.
Directed By: Frances Lawrence
Screenplay By: Mark Protosevich and Akiva Goldsman
My name is Robert Neville. I am a survivor living in New York City. I am broadcasting on all AM frequencies. I will be at the South Street Seaport everyday at mid-day, when the sun is highest in the sky. If you are out there… if anyone is out there… I can provide food, I can provide shelter, I can provide security. If there’s anybody out there… anybody… please. You are not alone. -Robert Neville
This entire movie seemed full of hopelessness. Everything was lost. In the vastness of Manhattan, Robert Neville appeared to be the last man alive. After three years his hope in finding someone else, or curing the disease that had infected those who were left was waivering. The only thing left alive was the morphed creatures that haunted the night where Robert hid in his fortresslike home waiting for the frightening hours to pass. With no human contact, and only a dog as his companion, his mind slowly begins to deteriate and his carefully structured existence along with it.
The film was centered around fear, both visually and psychologically. As far as visually was concerned, it was abudndantly successful. The appearance of the vampire/zombie’s were hardcore. In the sense that they really retained some of their human features and even expressions and didn’t seemed completely monstrous. Of course, that was until they moved or howled. Obviously, this isn’t a cheesy horror flick and steps were taken to make sure these creatures looked and moved in a way that was anything but typical. The time was taken to really seperate and define them as something very different from other movies of this nature. Their behavior was peculiar and interesting. I thought we’d have some typical mindless zombie creatures running around looking for blood. But these were not the undead. They were still human, evolved into something even more horrible. They were not only intelligent, but they had certain abilities, such as amazing strength, speed, and agility. They could smell blood from an enormous distance. It called to them like a needle to a junkie. They worked together and stayed together, not unlike unaffected humans. The main difference between us and them was violence. This to me, made them even more terrifying, as humans are dangerous enough as is, without those abilities.
There was a definite message behind the obvious. The things that weren’t said, the things that were symbolized. Days after I watched the movie I found myself asking questions like, how far from a possibility in reality is something like this from ever happening? If we continue to battle nature with science, are we going to inevitably lose a battle we never had the weapons for? It was obviously just a movie, but nontheless the validity in it’s statement is there. In my eyes the “monsters” weren’t some freak of nature, or overflowing of hell, they were US, and what we’re becoming, what we will eventually turn into. But even with that being said, I felt like there was hope in the final message, that even in our darkest hour, the few of us that fight, can still win, and still change things. I felt like that was why the Bob Marley side theme was thrown into the mix.
There have been questions about the ending, and I concur it felt a little rushed and a little anti-climatic, especially after seeing the far superior alternate ending that really rang true to the novel the film was based on written by Richard Matheson. The alternate ending connected everything together in a much smarter way, and ended in a much more pure fashion. Even with a theatrical finale, I Am Legend was still better than 95% of what’s been released in the last two or three years.
Will Smith played his solitude with the skill of an Oscar winning actor (I believe he at least deserves a nomination, but his performance will more than likely go unchecked). If he couldn’t sell it, this movie wouldn’t have worked. Though, he did have a pretty outstanding co-star, the German Shepherd Sam. The first signs of his beginning to “lose” touch were in the video store in the morning with the mannequins. The scene was awkward, but it hit you to the core when you realized how completely alone he had been, and for so long. The next scene that builds on this is when Sam runs after a deer into a dark building, it is also then we understand where these “humans” go during the daylight, but it exemplifies his attachment to his four legged friend, and what he’d risk for him. It’s a pivotal scene for ones that come later in defining his affection for Sam and why he reacts as severely as he does after a tragedy takes place.
Ratings And Suggestions
While the story didn’t may it’s rightful homage to Matheson’s literary work, this is still an amazing film. It was psychologically terrifying and had incredible depth, and very keen metaphors. Throughout the entire movie I was entertained, intellectually stimulated, frightened, got to enjoy good action, and even had a laugh (Shrek scene). This one will be on my shelf when it comes out on DVD. Three And A Half out of Four Stars