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I Am Legend

I Am Legend

Genders: Sci-Fi, Thriller, Drama

Director: Francis Lawrence

Writer: Mark Protosevich, Akiva Goldsman

Actors: Will Smith, Alice Braga, Charlie Tahan, Salli Richardson-Whitfield

Year: 2007
Run time: 1h 41min
IMDB score: 7.1
Updated: 6 hours ago

Movie infomation

Movie name: I Am Legend

Genders: Sci-Fi, Thriller, Drama

Imdb Score: 7.1

Runtime: 1h 41min

Released: 14 Dec 2007

Director: Francis Lawrence

Writer: Mark Protosevich, Akiva Goldsman

Actors: Will Smith, Alice Braga, Charlie Tahan, Salli Richardson-Whitfield

Box Office: $256.3M

Company: Warner Bros. Pictures

OfficialWebsite

Imdb Link

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Trailer


Review

An acting buffet of Will Smith

8/10 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!

one year ago

Gut-wrenching movie full of adventure and heart

8/10 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.

one year ago

Extravagant wrapping around an empty box.

5/10 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.

one year ago

Surface is great, but...

6/10 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.

one year ago

Really well acted, well done film

9/10 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.

one year ago