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I AM LEGEND (ULTIMATE COLLECTORS...
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Reviewed by: Ryan Doom

Directed by: Francis Lawrence

Starring:
Will Smith
Alice Braga
Dash Mihok

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
The last man on earth fights for survival in New York City amongst vampire-like mutated-zombie-type people.
Is it good movie?
I love the idea of I Am Legend. I love the book by Richard Matheson. I love The Omega Man with Charlton Heston (and to a lesser extent, The Last Man on Earth with Vincent Price). With that said, I donít love Will Smithís I Am Legend. Itís a sound movie that effectively captures the right tone and has great pacing that doesnít induce ADD. Viewers can feel Smithís pain and loneliness and utter despair as the only living human in New York City. The tension rarely lifts with the silenced city and constant possibility of attack.

With that said, something lacks in I Am Legend. Itís difficult to pinpoint exactly what lacks, but if forced by a marathon of Fresh Prince videos, Iíd say most of the fault lies on the CGI bad guys. Try as they might to make them scary, intimidating, and real, they donít. They look like CGI. Every time a vampire/mutant appears, I think computer. I think fake. Not fear. To be honest, Iím not really sure why directors rely on computers characters when they could use humans, or at least mutated, altered ones. If he had used real people as villains, the movie would have had that missing sense of dread if done right.

Donít misunderstand me. I think I Am Legend stands as one of Smithís finest efforts. For a genre sci-fi flick, he adds a sense of realism and pain that elevates it above trash and creates an effective and believable character. In case you havenít seen it, Smith plays Robert Neville, a military scientist who attempted to save and stop an outbreak from spreading. Unfortunately, the virus overtakes the world and three years later, Neville is alone in NYC. Everything and everyone stopped. Except Neville. He continues to live on, working out, scouring the city for goods, fighting bad guys, hunting for food, and searching for a cure. His only companion is his German Sheppard Sam and he holds conversations with mannequins. Things for Neville change, however, as the creatures start evolve and begin battling Neville, plotting for his downfall.

Thereís been much talk of the alterative cut of the movie, which mostly comes from the ending. I enjoy this new version more (spoiler!!) where Smith doesnít blow everybody up with a grenade but uses science to save the day. I think itís a better solution that fits more effectively. While I love the other versions of I Am Legend, I only like this one. Maybe itíll grow on me. Like a virus.
Video / Audio
Video: Widescreen presentation

Audio: Presented with the power of 5.1 Dolby Surround
The Extras
In addition to the bonus features, this pretty, pretty looking set also contains some cheesy bonuses: six art cards (worthless) and a lenticular(paperweight), which is like a moveable film strip. Oh, and a digital copy, too for your own entertainment.

Commentary with Director Francis Lawrence and Screenwriter/Producer Akiva Goldsman: Thorough and interesting track thatís effective and informative. You know, itís tough trying to come up with new things to say about commentary tracks, but Lawrence and Goldsman play off from each other well. If that means anything. I did enjoy that Lawrence bags some of the animation in the movie. Glad heís not blind.

Deleted Scenes with Commentary: Roughly 20 minutes of twelve unused scenes. For most of these thereís a reason they were cut, sequences that only slowed the film and enhanced character development. Good commentary with Lawrence and Goldsman.

Cautionary Tale: The Science of I Am Legend: Twenty minute doc that fully explores viruses and their impact on society. Interesting and informative as itís not just Will Smith chatting it up but an entire collection of scientists and experts and it doesnít play down to the audience.

Creating I Am Legend: A 21-part, nearly a hour long collection of behind-the-scenes features that focus on the various aspects of the movie. Each runs only a few minutes, but fully explores the movie. Very in-depth.

The Making of I Am Legend: A 25-minute doc that does a lot of the same as the larger collection, but more of a general overview of story and stunts. Still interesting, but perhaps a little repetitive.

I Am Legend: The Making of Shots: Five mini-docs (for a 26-minute total) that examine the look of the film and the special effects. Fascinating at times, but rather slow and a little dull with the narrators. Sounds like a science documentary from high school.

Animated Comics: Four semi-animated comics that take place in various cities across the world. Some worked, some didnít, but I dug the one in a Colorado prison that shows what happened with the infected.
Last Call
While most people have seen the movie by now, the real question is if itís worth shelling out $40-some odd bucks for a three-disc set. The movie remains solid, but Iím not sure if thereís enough additional material here to warrant a massive box set. I would have liked to have seen maybe the Heston version included or more of a comparison with the novel and how it evolved. I felt a little shorted there. The alternate cut is better, with a ballsier conclusion.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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