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Customer Review

59 of 67 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 3.5--Three Times A "Legend",, 8 Feb. 2008
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This review is from: I Am Legend [DVD] [2007] (DVD)
I was really looking forward to seeing "I Am Legend", from the moment I found out earlier this year. In preparation to seeing the movie, I watched Vincent Price in "The Last Man on Earth" and Charlton Heston in "The Omega Man". Even though the main ideas of the two prior versions were the same (last man, virus, night creatures, etc.), the delivery varied for their particular time. So I was intrigued to see how the storyline would be adapted to our time.

The first thing that struck me was the set. Growing up in New York City, it really hit me hard to see the devastation and isolation of the city that "Never Sleeps". The streets, the abandoned cars, the bridges, the U.N.,etc. It really hit home. Then we see a much slender, leaner Will Smith trying to cope with the fact that he was alone. His portrayal of Robert Neville is great. Very moving. I find the origin of the virus quite interesting as it comes as a side effect for a cure for cancer. The prior two movies used a plague (The Last Man on Earth) and germ warfare (The Omega Man) to explain the virus. The use of a cure that transforms into a virus gives it an ironic twist.

The film opens well, and continues that way until the introduction of the other two human characters, but that's about an hour or more of Smith, alone in Manhattan after a genetically-altered version of the measles has either killed or mutated the rest of humanity into super-violent creatures who prey on those unaffected, but only at night. They're killed almost instantly when exposed to sunlight. Smith, playing Robert Neville, was an Army Lieutenant before the virus was unleashed three years prior, and he spends his lonely days walking and stalking on the grown-in streets of Manhattan with his dog, Sam. At night, he locks himself in his apartment and attempts to find a cure. It's interesting seeing Smith carry the movie with only himself, Sam, some various wild animal species, and some mannequins. He does an excellent job, and I'm sure that's not an easy task for an actor. This is easily the most likable character he's ever played, and he brings a lot of great stuff to it, including humor and a scene that had me on the verge of tears.

Will Smith and the strength of the story outweigh the two mot glaringly bad things about this film. However, the creature effects are WAY too over-reliant on CGI, but then again, so are most horror films these days, so you might be used to it. Animatronics and foam rubber latex effects pioneered well over thirty years ago look a lot more believable than this cartoonish junk. And the other thing is the ending. It's not terrible, and it won't make you dislike the rest of the film, but the original story's ending is very sad and ironic, and this, like the other two adaptations, just can't seem to cope with the magnitude of the situation, so they always leave you with something WAY to hopeful for what we've seen throughout the rest of the film, and also, it seems that they're afraid to teach you the incredible lesson the original Matheson story had to offer. This is a good adaptation of Richard Matheson's 'I Am Legend.' So far, none of the three have nailed it, due to the inability to just use the story's ending, but this one comes close and is certainly one of the best of the three (the other two are good flicks so I recommend them all).
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 31 May 2008 14:46:23 BDT
Last edited by the author on 31 May 2008 14:46:43 BDT
I strongly disagree, the ending of this version of the film bears absolutely no resemblence to the book. It is a travesty of cowardly film-making. Of all of the film versions, the Vincent Price one is pretty much the book word-for-word, but it's also mind-numbingly dull.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jun 2008 00:07:50 BDT
Jenny says:
Filmmakers will never get books adaptations right so it all depends how close they get to them. This film wasn't so bad but it did have a lot of room for improvement. Anyway thanks for the input.

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Nov 2008 00:41:58 GMT
Jenny says:
This adaptation, like the omega man (I haven't seen the vincent price version) entirely fail to put across the point of the book. The film itself was a not bad piece of movie-making, but only if you pretend Mathieson doesn't exist.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Nov 2008 23:21:28 GMT
Jenny says:
Hello Jenny,- Before I had to response to this I had to double check to make sure it wasn't me posting twice ;-) "Omega Man" is a great film that I recommend to you cause Vincent done a expectational job on that role. Now this film was good of course and had room for improvement to what I already pointed out in my review but I had to hand it to Will Smith he held his own in this role and carried it well. Thanks for the feedback Jen.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2009 23:43:45 BDT
zargb5 says:
terrible film. Missed the mark completely for me. The dog was the best actor in the movie. The God's will ending was a cop out and i saw it coming early on. The Charlton heston version is about as close they've got , but to be honest i'd just stick with the book.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Oct 2009 07:24:16 BDT
Jenny says:
I hear you, appreciate the feedback!

Posted on 7 Oct 2015 15:46:59 BDT
There's no Ben Cortman!!! How could they leave out such a great character?!?!

"Neville! Come out Neville!"
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