I Am Legend

November 10, 2008
By
Horror movies are cinematic trash. There isn't much you can do with it. Scare the audience. If a horror movie can do that, it's a good horror movie. This is not the case with I Am Legend. Based on the short story of the same name, I Am Legend explores the world of a scientist who has discovered the cure for a disease which has turned everyone into creatures! As a result, he has become the last man on Earth and is working on a cure for his cure.

Most might argue the point about horror movies being complete trash. The George A. Romero movies have a "message" in them about how humanity sucks and such and somehow, it's a step above the horror film despite having the same qualities like other horror movies such as blood, monsters, and a gloomy mood to the whole thing. A horror movie is a horror movie no matter how many stupid life lessons are crammed into it.

Is I Am Legend filled with any morals? I'm not sure. The film opens up with the announcement that the cure has been found and showing scenes of Will Smith working out his body that a man can only dream of. Here, one of the film's biggest problems take place: the CG effects. They use CG effects for everything in this movie and it just comes off looking like a pre-rendered cutscene of a bad video game you picked up from the bargain bin. They use it for anything that's not human. Why? They spent big money on this, and it looks like it was only made with half of it. What did they do? Blow it on ice cream? They even do it with the zombie/vampire creatures. Other horror flicks like 28 Days Later, or Dawn of the Dead were made with a cheaper budget, and they look much more extravagant than I Am Legend.

Another problem with I Am Legend is the character development. It's forced upon the audience in flashback sequences. Here, you'll see Will Smith's pain as he watches his family boards into a helicopter that conveniently gets attacked and explodes. That's not the problem. The problem is, all of this is wasted around the 2nd half of the movie where he spends his time throwing bacon at the wall, singing along with Bob Marley and expressing his love for Shrek. I was almost interested, now I just learned this guy is a complete jerk.

I've mentioned that I Am Legend is not scary. I Am Legend throws what I like to call "out of the closet" moments. You know what I mean, when monsters pop out unexpectedly jump out making a loud noise. I Am Legend does this a few times. This is not horror. These moments just startle you. There's a difference. Horror is when something unexpectedly grotesque happens. Being startled means being annoyed when you least expect it. There are a few moments that will make you jump but never enough moments where you feel genuinely terrified.

The biggest change between the film and the story is the ending. The film ends with "blockbuster movie syndrome". They throw in a happy ending because that's what the audience wants and that's what the audience got. A lame ending that most people didn't like. In the story, the ending was completely different. In the book, he swallowed the cure and the vampires ate him apart and were cured after that. Now knowing what cured them, he became a legend, much like vampires in our world today. In the film, Will Smith gives the cure to the two survivors that miraculously showed up out of nowhere, blows himself up with the vampires, then the two survivors go to a survivor colony and forever the scientist is a legend. Two completely different meanings. There's a reason why the title was "I Am Legend". Not "I Am A Legend".

Overall, this film had a good, if not flawed first half, then became garbage the second half. If not for the survivor colony, or any other survivor, this movie wouldn't have been half bad. Will Smith is great, but that's like putting whip cream on rat poison. Should you watch I Am Legend on a movie night? Definitely not. If you want a horror movie that does the job right, I recommend 30 Days of Night. It's a piece of junk sure, but the vampires make the movie work and work well. They are terrifying creatures that can really make you go in your pants. You know, like a horror movie should.





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winterguardluv94 said...
Nov. 29, 2009 at 2:10 pm
I Am Legend was a great movie, different then the book,i am omega, but still it was well directed and well acted. I cried watching this movie.
 
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