I Am Legend [Retro Review]

January 11, 2010

I haven’t read the book. I wasn’t interested in this movie when it was released. I’m not sure why but it was just something about it that didn’t excite me.

I rented I Am Legend from Netflix and they didn’t send a DVD with the alternate version. I read about the alternate version on Wikipedia. According to people who have read the book, the alternate version is more like the book but still not close enough to call this a really good and satisfying re-make.

On its own, I Am Legend is a slow movie. It seems like it was more an exercise in watching Will Smith doing cute Will Smith stuff in a deserted New York with a dog. I thought the scenes where Will would hunt deer using a car and a shot gun were clever; post-apocalyptic hunting and gathering, I like it.

Too much of the movie was spent following Robert Neville around in his daily routine of being the last human in New York City. I liked that but when they tried to whip a story up in the last 20 minutes, everything fell apart.

I didn’t like the faces of the infected human zombie things. They looked like zombified versions of the evil robots in iRobot. The use of The Mummy‘s mouth-stretch effect was tired as well. (Thanks @oddernod) They also physically moved like EVERY scary thing that we’ve seen in movies for the past five years.

Robert made a routine of visiting a DVD store and had mannequins arranged in a way that created a social setting for him. The zombies figured this out, used one of the zombies as a trap and caught Robert. Robert escapes the trap, is injured and BUTT SCOOTS to his vehicle. This was so unrealistic…. ok the whole movie was unrealistic but this is where my suspension of belief just went out of the window. Adrenaline would kick in and he would have run for his life. I’ll let that go.

The best thing about this movie is that I got Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds stuck in my head for days. It’s the best ear worm that I’ve had in awhile. I also like the way Robert compares Bob Marley to a virologist. It’s crazy and far-fetched but I liked it. …I also want a dog. The Shrek thing was weird too.

When Anna and Ethan show up, the whole movie turns to crap. I like that a mom and her son has somehow survived without a scratch, looking clean and un-battle weary. When I say like, I mean NOT. Her “God lead me here” bit drained me of all energy and I wanted to shoot myself. I thought the whole butterfly mentions by his daughter were going to lead to a wacky cure, not be a tattoo on the neck of a delusional woman who has unreasonably survived unscathed only for him to give her the cure, he blow himself up and she cruise on up to Vermont to live happily ever after in a compound of human survivors… with really low walls. Why were those walls so short? Those zombie things can jump really high. ….and how does Robert hand her a vial of blood and that’s it. Doesn’t the blood need to be on ice or something for the sample to be usable? Why did he feel the need to blow himself up? Did he love the dog that much? He could have fit in that space. What if they needed more data because the vial of blood was unusable because IT WASN’T ON ICE??? …and while I’m on a run-on sentence tear, why couldn’t he shoot those damned deer? I could have walked and shot one of those things drunk. I’m from Texas and these things are in my DNA but still. I’m going to leave the nitpicking alone, there are SO many more but those are the ones that I had to vent about.

Overall, I had to try to like this movie. I’m not sure what happened here but it was a big mess. I liked Will Smith, his acting was flawless but something else wasn’t right. Because of the pacing and the way the story was told, I think the ending to this particular story was perfect. To try to make the zombies intelligent was too little too late in the last five minutes of the film. The only thing that’s good about this version of I Am Legend is that it totally leaves open an opportunity for another re-make to be made. Calling JJ Abrams.

On a side note: I’m not entirely sure that I’m comfortable with Will Smith putting his children in his movies and our sci-fi films. They are always cute and never do a bad job. It just seems like he’s taking advantage of us.
The Karate Kid looks like it may be good so I’ll shut my trap and reserve my judgment.

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  1. willsmith says:

    @borg343 if you like zombie movies, it’s good. No Shaun of the Dead, but fun.

  2. scorched_toast says:

    they’re not zombies, they’re actually vampires that are evolving or evolved.

  3. fancyfembot says:

    In the movie, they look like and behave like zombies.

Doctor Who

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