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I Am Legend


I Am Legend (2007)
IMDB Details I Am Legend

Craft (Look & Feel):
I Am Legend is definitely one of those films where the backdrop of the locale/setting is as much a character in the film as are the casted roles. The post apocalypse New York setting in IAL is among the best I've seen. My chosen career involves heavy use of blueprints, CAD drawings etc, so I always naturally find myself looking at architectural details (which is a hobby of mine) as I watch a film. The building scapes were very artfully done and I personally couldn't pick apart anything that was fake looking. I especially liked the weeds shooting up through the pavement, the abandoned scaffolding and window washing equipment left scattered about, and the Brooklyn Bridge scenes. I thought that the lighting (and lack thereof), the artful placement of abandoned vehicles, etc all encompassed a flawless backdrop for this story.

Obviously, the premise of this film and its projected success or failure is dependent upon the performance of a single lead actor. I personally felt that Will Smith was a great choice for this role and I believe that he delivered and then some as Dr. Neville. This role is about far more than a guy surviving by himself in a post apocalypse world filled with monsters (natural and un-natural). I think in this context Smith performed beautifully but was hindered by his supporting cast (CGI boogeymen) and a faltering storyline. Now, about those boogeymen, they were awful to put it in a word. The CGI is actually better in many video games I've seen of late and IMHO NON-CGI beasties are far more frightening than those created in cyberspace. To draw a comparison, I'd face 500 of those horribly executed CGI vampire/zombies in I am Legend over exactly one of the zombies from the 28 Days/Weeks series. The things that inspire fear in human beings are obviously mysterious to whomever marked the checkbox for creatures on the film's to-do list. To me, this was the most serious negative aspect of the film. There's no compassion for the zombies and barely a connection to humanity from them. They don't look like former humans who I would pity in the situation they're in, nor were they scary.

Toose's Take:
I like the premise of the movie (story/book) quite a lot. There is a lot of juxtaposing going on and examining things in different lights is always interesting. For example, Dr. Neville is in a position where he's always avoiding the dark yet he seems to be in the dark (figuritively speaking) about the gravity of the situation he's in for most of the film. Of course he does comprehend it in the end but you'll get no spoilers from me. I also personally took this story, as filmed, as a lesson in faith. In my faith, we're taught that we're created for a purpose and that the steps along our path are meant to build us up to that. Dr. Neville, conversely, is always taking things into his own hands to fix and much of this ends badly for him. Of course I'm not saying that in a situation like Neville is in that one should just sit back and wait for a divine resolution, but his regrets from start to finish were indicators (to me) of him losing his connection to faith. On the other hand, of course, it's easily understandable why he did lose faith, it's all too human.

In the end, I found myself pining for what this film could and should have been. The new Hollywood, in their rush to use CGI, seems to have forgotten that in order for a story to be truly powerful we, as humans, need to connect to both sides of a conflict. If there was any humanity at all exhibited by the creatures, perhaps a flash of recognition of what once was or something of the like, it would have multiplied the power of this film tenfold. Frankenstein was a powerful film because we felt compassion for the creature as well as for the creator. This one had the potential to be great but ultimately fell flat.