Video Review: I am Legend

Director: Francis Lawrence (Constantine)
Novel: Richard Matheson
Screenplay: Mark Protosevich, Akiva Goldsman
Producers: Akiva Goldsman, David Heyman, James Lassiter, Neal H. Moritz, Erwin Stoff
Starring: Will Smith, a cute dog
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running time: 101 min


check out the trailer after the jump…


Click “play” to see the trailer:

Links:
IMDb profile – full cast and crew
Official Site
Flixster Profile for I am Legend

Andrew James
Podcaster. Tech junkie. Movie lover. Student. Also, beer.

29 Comments

  1. Great review and apparently we have the same exact problem with the movie. It was fine, more than fine really, until the last 20 minutes when, as you point out, it turns into a Hollywood happy ending type thing. I'm curious about the original ending of the movie considering that they did some last minute re-shoots – wonder if the original was a little darker?

    I really like the way Lawrence and the editors cut the backstory into the film – it was fluid and a nice break from the one man show. I even liked Smith's performance which I completely bought as a guy loosing his mind after three years of being alone but again, all the good stuff was somewhat trumped by the cheesy ending.

    I had hoped for much better but I'm really OK with the way it ends up. I can bring myself to overlook the ending for the rest of the film which I think is really quite good and kudos to Lawrence for the remarkable jump from Constantine to this. As much as I love Constantine (a big part of that is cheese factor and the other half is the lead) this is a superior film.

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  2. Have I mentioned how much I hate this film lately? Perhaps because the story is such a good one, perhaps because the first 20 minutes (minus bad CGI deer) promises a movie the rest of the film is unwilling to deliver. Just to rub salt in the wounds there are signs scattered around that the film wanted to go the good-sci-fi-social-commentary route, but then, much like the recent Body Snatchers remake, it feels that there has to be a dumb action film with dumber science to please the movie going public.

    And an out-of-left-field christian sacrifice religious element doesn't help anything.

    Worst. Ending. Ever.

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  3. Kurt – you're missing out on Constantine. Ha! Not really actually – it's still full of bad fairly bad cgi but I'm a Keanu supporter (even if he's rarely good) and there's a fair bit of cheese factor that makes the movie work for me. Not to mention Tilda Swinton rocks as Gabriel and Peter Stormare is the Best Satan. EVER.

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  4. There's that wink again! Gotta love that wink. Makes me smile every time.

    @ Marina – Tim Curry in Legend is the best Satan EVER.

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  5. Echo the love for Storemare & Swinton. I just never bothered with this one, as I've been in comic-book film fatigue since about 2005. I just don't bother with them anymore, and There just seemed liked better films than Constantine out there.

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  6. I also kind of enjoyed Constantine. Should Kurt rush out to get it? Of course not, but it's a fun little film – and considering I'm not a huge fan of either of the leads (Reeves, Wiesz), that says something.

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  7. I think it's hilarious that you have a Hurly Burly poster on your wall back there in the review. That oddball stage/film hybrid that got totally lost in the shuffle on its release, probably because it wasn't great or anything, but damn if it is not a fun little oddball dohicky.

    Of course, talking about the accoutrements (in your apartment or on your person) is at this point (post-cinecast ranting) more interesting than dwelling on the stale-swill that is I Am Legend at this point.

    But just to contradict myself, I watched OMEGA MAN last night, and damn if that film isn't 100% solid entertainment from start to finish. It's equal parts kooky and sincere to the point of pure bliss (particularly the christ-like ending) from where I"m coming from. I had forgotten just how delightful the albino-cult was, or Charleton Heston's clumsy exposition moments were. The Hest lip-synching WOODSTOCK – the irony, the joy. I like the LAST MAN ON EARTH for its good social sci-fi elements, but I'd have to say for balls out entertainment, you can't beat the 1971 version. Yet another reason to dismiss I AM LEGEND and its pandering stupidity.

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  8. Still have to check out "Omega Man". I KNOW for a FACT my local video store has it. Maybe I'll add it to the weekend watch pile.

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  9. SnowLeopard. For an interesting switch-up, watch them in reverse order, I swear you will be happier that way at the end of things.

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  10. I have not seen Omega Man, but I did get a chance to watch Last Man on Earth last night… I was laughing throughout the entire movie, it is really campy. Is it just me or does Vincent Price seem like the least manly last man they could have picked? Must be his lisp.

    Andrew you were dead on: "Morgan, come on outside Morgan"… thats a drinking game if ever there was one.

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  11. Oh, wait to you get to OMEGA MAN! It makes LMoE's camp look like a mere pup-tent compared to Charleton Heston's circus pavilion!

    Despite the acting and 'zombies' in LMoE, I do still consider it one of the great Sci-Fi classics.

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  12. I've said it before, but there was 45-minutes of really good stuff here. I hated the CGI vampires. HATED them. I didn't like the last act of the film either, but the stuff with Will Smith, in the city, with just him and his dog. Gold.

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  13. Jonathan, I tend to agree with you, I'd shave it down to 25 minutes of good stuff (mostly in the visual department, although I did dig the weird vibe of the 'breakfast scene' with the woman and kid). But when the bad stuff is this fuckin' bad, it tends to cloud out the good stuff with an angry red haze.

    :)

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  14. spoilers ahead….

    I was a bit annoyed at the cinema-stupid choices Will Smith's character makes in the film, most obviously the continuing down dark vampire filled hallways even after seeing a pool of blood. Also the cinema-stupid screenplay: can someone explain to me why, once the light had finally disappeared, the actual vampires had not rampaged out to attack the injured Neville, instead of just letting the dogs go out? He kills the dogs, and suddenly he is driving home. I guess the vampires had more important things to do?

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  15. I pretty much enjoyed the movie all the way up to he point where he meets the girl. The breakfast scene is good (reciting Shrek was kind of humorous), but after that, it goes downhill. Still, for an hour or so it is pretty good. Damn, the visuals of that city looked sweet.

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  16. Loved the film up in till the girl and the boy arrived. Then I was seriously annoyed.

    Spoiler ahead…

    As for Will Smith continuing down the darkened halls, he was looking for his dog, the only thing that was holding that guy together. Peoples attachment to there pets can be a seriously strong bond. Add the fact that he has no one else but his dog, I totally get why he'd continue on into the dark. It was his only family, his only friend. What wouldn't a person do?

    After he ends up losing the dog, he ends up losing his mind, and decides to kill as many vamps as he can before he is taken out. He had nothing left to loose.

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  17. I agree with everyone else, the movie pissed me off as soon as the lady and boy showed up and the ending was pretty craptacular but I still liked the film. I figure that if I can get over the nasty endings of both "War of the Worlds" and "Sunshine", I can deal with this ending as well. And yeah, the cgi animals and 'zombies' was pretty lame, it wasn't as distracting for me as it appeared to be for everyone else. Agreed – it would have been better with real people but I didn't mind the computerized baddies.

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  18. Yeah, I agree with colleeny. I have no problem understanding Robert going in the dark halls after his dog. I thought that was pretty great actually and it really showed a lot about his character and not just the bond with his dog, but his emotional state.

    As far as CGI goes, generally, I say only use CGI when absolutely necessary. CGI, with rare exceptions like Lord of the Rings, can really take the magic out of movies. I'm not against it and think it DEFINITELY is needed a lot for movies like Spider-Man and whatnot, but if it's not necessary, then why use it? Sure, it's easier than applying make-up for hours every day, but these are $100 million plus movies… they're not supposed to be EASY. I just think of Jim Henson movies like The Dark Crystal and how much work they must of put into that to make it so magical and believable, and well… that's how much work and passion I wish people put into every movie.

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  19. Thought "I Am Legend" was pretty good despite the cgi vampire-zombies. Completely agree that CGI monsters do not really work. Did anyone else think they looked exactly like "The Mummy"?

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  20. NYC is the last place you would want to be with 'vampire' like creatures running around. Even in the daytime there would be huge areas of shadow due to all of the tall buildings. And then there are the subway tunnels giving the monsters easy access all over the place during the day.

    The CGI monsters were a mistake and so was the CGI deer and lion stuff. The filmmakers could have just paid some Discovery channel producer for some nature footage and used special effects to add it to the film. Would've been a hell of a lot more belivable.

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  21. I guess I have to dissent a bit from the consensus here. I enjoyed I Am Legend, and didn't have a problem with the end, except for the last two minutes with Anna and Ethan finding the compound in Vermont. I would have ended it with Neville taking out the darkseekers with the grenade, leaving it to the audience's imagination whether or not Anna escapes and finds other survivors.

    One thing I would have liked to have seen is a flashback scene that shows the last of Neville's human companions succumbing to the darkseekers before he finds himself alone in Manhattan. When he stays behind to deal with the virus, he presumably had other personnel working with him. One complaint I have with the movie is that you never see anyone actually get killed by a darkseeker, so a flashback of Neville seeing one of his assistants get ripped to pieces would have been cool.

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  22. That’s the problem with this story and every adaption to film….how to deal with the ending….

    In the book, the whole point is the fact that I Am Legend is the fact the NEVILLE is now the hunter in a new world of vampires. They are scared of him while he hunts them during the day. Like we used to fear a vampire, in this new world, they fear a human. Hence – I Am Legend.

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