Thursday, 27 December 2007

I Am Legend

Little to remember...

In the year 2006, a miracle breakthrough, the KV virus, is created and toted to be able to cure the likes of cancer. However, in no time whatsoever, this cure mutates into a deadly virus which changes its host into a grotesque creature. Three years after the outbreak, Robert Neville (Will Smith) is the last human left alive due to his immunity to the virus, and he is continuing work on a vaccine to help change those who are no longer human, dark seekers, back to their original selves, while they attempt to hunt him down during the night.

With an interesting post-apocalyptic story, I Am Legend comes as one of many adaptations of it's source material, but is arguably the closest in it's rendition. However this is not to say that it doesn't take any liberties it's in story telling so fans of the novel might be disappointed. Even as a moviegoer, it's difficult to understand why certain elements of the novel were changed. While the novels soul remains in most of the film, such aspects as the locale change, Neville's population group and even the concept of the creatures themselves, are altered. These are minor issues, but more important story elements are changed as well. The worst of these being the difference in time line as it seems strange that Neville attempts to contact other survivors by means of a radio system. The film goes onto a vast array of symbolic themes such as heroism to , and importantly, religion, and these help heighten the story's depth. This is well assisted by few moments of reminiscence on Neville's part, where he accounts the last few moments he had with his deceased family. The story also lacks a firm buildup going from a calmness to franticness in the blink of an eye, bringing up a major problem with the film: length.

Closing in on the two hour mark, the film goes from a slow restrained manner for three-quarters of its length, only to spiral into a uncontrollable mess. This cinematic experience works best with Smith is absorbed in his isolation and more of these scenes would have really helped heighten the emotional impact. As well, not enough time is dedicated to his experiments on finding the cure and worst yet, the director completely disregards this part of the films essence towards the end, which itself is a real letdown. Firstly the ending is sort of Hollywood-like in it's execution and would have worked far better if it were more ambiguous instead of being stated. The other problem comes from the films skewed concept of the theme of being a legend. Instead of using the heavily metaphorical designation from the novel, the cinema version falls into a heap clichés. This could be partly due to the rushed filming of a new ending merely weeks before release, but this should not be an excuse. If anything, it does give an incentive to pick up the DVD release, just to see how the original ending worked with the rest of the film, how it compared to the novel's ending, and how effective it would have been for a movie.

The acting is solely dictated by Will Smith for virtually the entire film, and praise must be given to him for his portrayal of the last remaining human alive. Acting itself is not easy, and it's even harder when you are performing a solo effort. Smith has the ability to shows his character' s aged loneliness with his only companion being his loyal dog, Samantha, and how this affects his everyday ability to function in a society of normality. His performance is also emotional and so when moments of sadness are dripped onto the screen, they are powerful enough for the viewer to care.

An important aspect of the film is it's computer generated images, but these range from excellent to dull. The introductory scenes, and those which follow, of an abandoned New York City, are superb in it's realism. It's a real highpoint in the film and really sets up the atmosphere to follow, but it's a real shame that another important aspect to the film' s CGI, the dark seekers, are painted in a bland and non-realistic manner. From their skin textures to their awkward movements, the dark seekers are noticeably misplaced in a film that does so well to contain it's believability.

A relatively clean film as only violence makes any appearance. It comes in various forms of shooting, explosions and attacks from the human-turned-creatures. All of these scenes are never bloody , yes blood itself is seen staining the floors in a couple of scenes.

I Am Legend has had a strange development period with it's origins back in 1994, and various other attempts to get the film into production.. Thirteen years later and it appears that Warner Brothers has finally got their act together and finished the film albeit its marketing was not exactly up to scratch.. Regardless, I Am Legend is a remarkable title with some classy acting and an intriguing storyline. It's a shame that it has visible shortcomings, such as length and CGI issues, because it is one of those few films that you really want to succeed, to prove that the final product is better then originally believed. Sadly, no matter how you view it, I Am Legend is merely a good film, lacking in reams of potential.


Screen Date: Wednesday 26th December 2007
Release Date: Friday 28st December 2007


Simon said...

hey Cruiz
the little bit of the reviews look great, but way too long for me! :P u mite want to consider not ruining the plot, such as in i am legend, wen u said the thing bout the virus, unless im spectaluraly uninformed! :P

CruizD said...

Hey Simon.
lol, alright, I'll work on condensing the review a little bit.

Hmm, ok I see your point on the virus plot point. I guess i have been following this movie for some time now that it didn't occur to me. Though I am sure that the films previews and trailers do make note of the virus :P

Thx for the comment - I'll be sure to see whether it'll help future reviews!

Simon said...

Hey Cruiz
Well, I only saw one trailer and it didn't say anything bout the virus, but anyway it doesn't matter.

If my advice helps, I'm glad to be of service. :)

I saw the movie yesterday with my friend Amanda, and it was so flipping scary and disturbing! Amanda loves horror movies, and even she screamed in this movie! (and yes I know, it's not a horror movie) Those mutant humans were awful!

Bonks said...

Cruiz, do you write the reviews? Is this a stupid question? God I hope not...
Have you seen Apocalypto? If so, what did you think?
Who created this 'website'?
Lots of love,

CruizD said...

Yeah I do write them myself :)
With the help of Google and Blogger I got me this nice little blog which I'm using as a side project while I'm studying.

Freemovies said...

The climax of the film is very rushed and the ending was typical clichéd nonsense. Pointless religious and philosophical overtones and dialogue are added to try and create a moral- based story, but just turn into fodder that is annoying to have to listen to.