Friday, October 28, 2016

I Am Legend (2007)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

WARNING: This review gives major details about this and other movies that may influence your decision as to whether or not to watch this one. As the movie is based on a book that has been made into two other movies, this decision may have already been made. Continue watching at your own risk.

First came a book by Richard Matheson called I Am Legend. It was about a man immune to a plague that was trying to find a cure. From that book came several (credited) movies and possible an entire genre.

The first movie was called The Last Man on Earth and featured Vincent Price as Dr. Robert Morgan, a man who was bitten by a bat and thinks it’s given him an immunity to a worldwide plague that’s killed his family. He spends his days seeking supplies and his nights hiding from humans that have become vampires. He manages to find a few other survivors and eventually saves humanity, but dies trying.

The second movie was called The Omega Man. It starred Charlton Heston as Colonel Robert Neville, a man who has a vaccine, giving him immunity against a worldwide plague that’s killed almost everyone. Neville finds a few survivors, manages to save them, but ends up dying in the process. Notice a pattern here? I was a bit reluctant to see the movie called I Am Legend because I kind of figured it had to follow the same basic premise.

This time, it’s a cure for cancer that’s the cause of a worldwide plague in 2009, which wipes out much of humanity. Lt. Col. Robert Neville is the last uninfected man in Manhattan. He’s also a doctor that’s lost his family. He didn’t create the virus, but he has…drum roll please…an immunity and wants to use that to help those infected, who have become vampire-like mutants. He has some success on rats, but not on humans.

For the three years between the outbreak and the start of the movie, Neville spends all of his time with his dog, Samantha. Together, they go out together during the day looking for food and ‘renting’ movies. Neville has placed mannequins throughout the city so he can have conversations with them. At night, he has to hide in his house from said mutants. He has entire house on lockdown to protect himself. I’m not going to go through the rest, as you have to assume that the movie either follows the first two or it doesn’t.

Will Smith has come a long way since Fresh Price of Bel-Air. For most of the movie, we get to see Neville alone. This has to be hard for Will Smith, as his only costars are a dog and several inanimate objects. This couldn’t have been easy, as a good deal of acting involves playing off of other people. According to IMDB, there are two dogs credited as playing Samantha. (I’m assuming one was the adult Sam and the other was Sam as a puppy featured in a series of flashbacks.) I remember reading that Smith wouldn’t let many other people around the dog playing the adult Sam so that they would have a stronger bond.

As for the mutants, it was a little obvious to the untrained eye that they were CGI. They were supposed to be actors, but the actors just couldn’t get rid of all emotion. It didn’t really detract from the movie, as they weren’t shown that much. Otherwise, the special effects were great. I heard that most of the emptiness of New York City was done with computers and I didn’t even notice it.

Of the three movies, I’m torn between liking this one and The Omega Man the best. This one looked more modern, but it also looked more Hollywood. It had all sorts of fight scenes and explosions. The Omega Man seemed to be more about the plot and the characters. Heston was able to interact with the infected. Here, it was man against beasts.

I would definitely recommend seeing The Omega Man, especially if you’re going to see this one. It’s up to you which you see first. As for the rating, Last Man on Earth gets four stars.

No comments :