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I Am Legend (2007)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Francis Lawrence

Starring:
Will Smith/Robert
Alice Braga/Anna
Salli Richardson/Zoe
PLOT-CRUNCH
A “cure for cancer” backfires on civilization, leaving poor little Dr. Robert Neville (Smith) as the sole resident of earth. In between rapping to his dog, himself or mannequins (yup, he has issues) he has to fend off his ball breaking nocturnal neighbors: a slew of vampi…oops… I mean “infected”humans". Arrow Sings: It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!
THE LOWDOWN
Richard Matheson’s novel I AM LEGEND has been adapted twice for the big screen thus far (no I won’t count Asylum’s cash-in travesty I AM OMEGA … f*ck that shite!) via THE LAST MAN ON EARTH and THE OMEGA MAN. Neither effort lived up to its source material. So it was with hopes cranked high that I caught this latest cinematic incarnation of Matheson’s enduring tale, hoping for the best, eager for somebody to do it right already! Home run?

Compared to the book, I’d call this flick I AM LEGEND FOR DUMMIES. The themes have been uber simplified, plot devices altered/stripped down dramatically while the last "connect the dots" block had NATHING to do with its meatier source. Moreover, those expecting “vampires” to rip the screen here as in the book will be mucho bummed out. No blood suckers at play man, just a bunch of CGI coated “ragers” running amuck like Tupperware Wives at a 2 for 1 container sale. Is it me or did 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later wear that "rage" novelty off already? And WTF is wrong with vampires anyways? SLAP THEM IN THERE! Sheesh! So from a mook that read the book – meh. Now let’s strap its feet in stirrups, spread them legs wide and explore it on its own.

Damn did this baby look spiffy! The jaw dropping shots of a totally empty New York City were a sight to behold and really brought the dire state of the situation home. The fact that they were communicated via razor shots and polished cinematography jacked the power of the imagery two-fold. I was floored! Action/horror wise; I got enough high concept physical shenanigans to please and dug the random genuinely suspenseful bits. Oddly enough though, one visceral scene aside (the hive bit), none of them action/horror ringers stood out. They went down, I had fun and I forgot them. THANK ZEUS above (or is it below, who knows where that f*cker lives) that I had a hero I wanted to follow around. He was my anchor to the whole. I usually don’t care for Will Smith or his movies but here he sold me! Good thing that he did, because I was pretty much stuck with him alone (not counting the pooch) for an hour or so. The actor's usual "funny" “Smithtisisms” were on an all time low, making way for a moving and brave performance instead. So for once, I can say with a straight face “I really dug Will Smith” in a movie. I guess pigs will fly next!

Alas, I can’t say the same as to the manner in which the story fleshed out (or didn't) and unraveled. Don’t get me wrong I was totally engaged for the first 45 minutes or so. It was a compelling build-up. Problem was, the pay-off just didn’t measure up! Sure I got all kinds of mind-numbing horror/action set pieces tossed my way, and I was having a hoot with them, but narrative, depth and character wise; the flick lost me at Plot Point number 1. They just didn’t make the most of the solid story and potentially layered hero they had! They rushed through it all; hoping that the eye candy and fluffly drama (What was that Bob Marley shite all about? CORNY!) would be enough. Didn’t work on my ass. As the end credits rolled, I craved an extra half hour, if only to do its initial storyline and lead character justice. And why oh why did they go so CGI loon with the monsters? I know it’s a clichéd statement by now but how else can say it? I felt like I was watching a freaking video game. The film so didn’t have to be to be this blatantly CGI when it came to its villains. THE DESCENT anyone? Alas, the fakeness of the creatures took away from their fear quotient. When will they learn for Uncle F*ck’s sakes!

As a whole, I AM LEGEND, did the trick on a cosmetic and cheap thrills standpoint. It did have me with its dramatic build-up early on as to its flawed hero but then did nothing substancial with it and pretty much dropped or rushed the ball with the rest. Not an awful film by any means – just not a memorable one. Could’ve and should’ve been so much more! Will YOU be Legend? YOUR CALL!
GORE
Not much, grisly bites, ugly mutants and minor flesh wounds.
ACTING
Will Smith (Robert Neville) did a bang-on job at conveying the perturbed mental state of his character and his inner struggles. Although the script didn’t give the dude much meat to chew on, he did the best he could with what he had and drove the character home with gusto. Props! Alice Braga (Anna) and Salli Richardson (Zoe) did what they had to do adequately. Parts were slim but their respective talents made them shine.
T & A
The ladies will be in a tizzy to know that Will Smith goes shirtless here and shows off his “Lean Cuisine” buff-stuff. Us dudes are stuck with the canine’s hairy ass…bugh…
DIRECTING
Much like his previous film, the underrated CONSTANTINE, Lawrence field goaled skulls with his polished, semi grandiose and eye candy inclined visual style. Also, when taking the time, he pulled off some oppressive nail-biting sequences. Too bad he seems to have a boner for CGI. Sure CONSTANTINE needed it, but in my opinion, this one didn’t.
SOUNDTRACK
The usually reliable James Newton Howard did the score and for some reason I don’t remember it one bit... like AT ALL! Rare that happens to me. Do with that what you will!
BOTTOM LINE
Look I boogied to I AM LEGEND while I was watching it. Will Smith owned it, the desolate NY streets setting was striking and I got a couple of potent jolts and easy kicks out of it. With that stabbed, looking back, I can barely think of one particular scene that truly marked me. I viewed the film, dug it, forgot it. In my book, this baby should've been more, specially when it came to its depth and bringing it home in its second act. And if I drop kick it next to the book – forget about it, didn’t happen. Final thoughts: Much like the broads I wine, McDonalds Drive Through and screw: pleasurable yet disposable. Next!
BULL'S EYE
Ridley Scott was going to helm this one with Arnold Schwarzenegger as the lead, but the project fell through due to a sky rocketing budget.

In 2003, Steve Niles did a graphic novel of Matheson's book

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11:00AM on 01/22/2009
Will Smith ,still rocks, but this one is a bit too slow for my tastes, not to mention he could have saved himself at the end, but it was a ok movie I guess. Overrated though.
Will Smith ,still rocks, but this one is a bit too slow for my tastes, not to mention he could have saved himself at the end, but it was a ok movie I guess. Overrated though.
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1:12AM on 01/31/2008

over-rated

Actually, so-called slow-paced scenes made for the best part of the movie. They had character. They had drama. The "zombies" were stupidly designed, and the CGI were absolutely terrible. Props for Will Smith, though, for his fantastic performance. In short: I think it's over-hyped and over-rated.
Actually, so-called slow-paced scenes made for the best part of the movie. They had character. They had drama. The "zombies" were stupidly designed, and the CGI were absolutely terrible. Props for Will Smith, though, for his fantastic performance. In short: I think it's over-hyped and over-rated.
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2:38PM on 12/29/2007

I Am Robot

I went into the film having read the book and I found myself to be actually enjoying the film. The movie stood up to it in most cases. I knew going in that the ending was changed so I prepared myself for it. Its a Will Smith movie. Will Smith doesn't want such ending in his films, he would make less money. I understood the changes they made and I bought them. This was largely to do with the fact that they got a lot of other things right. It was actually a good film which is what makes the last
I went into the film having read the book and I found myself to be actually enjoying the film. The movie stood up to it in most cases. I knew going in that the ending was changed so I prepared myself for it. Its a Will Smith movie. Will Smith doesn't want such ending in his films, he would make less money. I understood the changes they made and I bought them. This was largely to do with the fact that they got a lot of other things right. It was actually a good film which is what makes the last line of dialogue so painful, but I'll save that for later. First, the CGI monsters looked stupid and could have just as easily been real actors. The Vampires in Blade 2 looked fantastic and freaked the sh*t out of me, and that was the basic look they were going for in "I Am Legend." Here's a quote, actually from Robert Ebert, "And how, I always wonder, do human beings in all their infinite shapes and sizes mutate into identical pale zombies with infinite speed and strength?" They lost my favorite character from the book, Robert's best friend, Ben Cortman. They replaced him with a "Dark Seeker" with a shirt. Not really a fair trade off in my opinion but they went a different road. And my favorite scene was changed. They replaced him forgetting to wind his watch with something else but it worked for the movie. Even the Utopian ending I could handle, I knew that was going to be the case. Everyone usually does live happily ever after in films. What I couldn't handle was the last line in the film. I actually felt insulted by it. It was a last ditch effort to tie in the title of the film to the story, and it failed miserably. It just comes across as sounding stupid in the film and anyone who has read the book knows how absolutely bad ass the line "I am legend" is. Its meaning is totally different from what they chose to make it in the film. There really was no need for it. My friend and I dug the film until the very last second where our opinions were flipped 180 degrees. There is only one thing to be said about it and its "They f*cked that up." Call the movie something else and omit the line of dialogue and it would have been an alright film. That way they could one day actually make a film called "I Am Legend" and have it true to the book. Unfortunately such things can not now happen.
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10:54PM on 12/26/2007
I LOVED this movie. The one scene that really stands out to me was what happened to the dog. I think it was an excellent choice to just show Smith's face and the anguish he was going through when it went down. EXCELLENT acting on Will Smith's part.....you felt it right along with him. The theatre I saw it in was nothing but tears during that scene.
I LOVED this movie. The one scene that really stands out to me was what happened to the dog. I think it was an excellent choice to just show Smith's face and the anguish he was going through when it went down. EXCELLENT acting on Will Smith's part.....you felt it right along with him. The theatre I saw it in was nothing but tears during that scene.
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11:29PM on 12/19/2007

judging by first half

best movie in 07, then seeing it all the way through...... 1.5. Creatures looked fake and I just couldn't get into it, I didn't actually ever believe they were in front of Will Smith, haha.. kinda reminded me of the CGI in THE MUMMY (new one... course.)
best movie in 07, then seeing it all the way through...... 1.5. Creatures looked fake and I just couldn't get into it, I didn't actually ever believe they were in front of Will Smith, haha.. kinda reminded me of the CGI in THE MUMMY (new one... course.)
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10:03PM on 12/16/2007
ha i could rant. but ill just say what Crazy Dud said covered it pretty well. i enjoyed this flick thru and thru.

my girlfriend even cried.
ha i could rant. but ill just say what Crazy Dud said covered it pretty well. i enjoyed this flick thru and thru.

my girlfriend even cried.
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1:31PM on 12/16/2007

I totally agree with you

This movie does not compare to the book in the slightest... The book was depressing and had no hope....

As a stand alone movie it is great Will Smith was excellent best performance of the year...
This movie does not compare to the book in the slightest... The book was depressing and had no hope....

As a stand alone movie it is great Will Smith was excellent best performance of the year...
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5:01AM on 12/16/2007

TOTALLY DISAGREE!

The film was not all fluff and flash. In fact, the MTV generation with short attention spans may hate it. The film moves at a fairly slow pace (contrary to what your review suggests) and most certainly has depth, however, it comes at it from a different angle than the book (BTW, a book and film should never be compared, they are two very different art forms). It is about following a lonesome man and how he deals with the horrible situation he is in. The ending is rushed, but I've talked to
The film was not all fluff and flash. In fact, the MTV generation with short attention spans may hate it. The film moves at a fairly slow pace (contrary to what your review suggests) and most certainly has depth, however, it comes at it from a different angle than the book (BTW, a book and film should never be compared, they are two very different art forms). It is about following a lonesome man and how he deals with the horrible situation he is in. The ending is rushed, but I've talked to others, and it isn't nearly as bad to someone who hasn't read the book (which, lets face it, is most people). Had they been too faithful to the book, the film would have been too long and would have received an R rating. That is a bad combination for a studio film with a decent sized budget if it wants to make any money. I know you hate this about Hollywood right now, but 2 1/2 hour R rated films are not usually going to produce box office numbers. Instead, the VERY MTV-style Saw movies make bank, and, for some inconceivable reason, you LOVE the first three of them (the first was pretty good, but makes NO sense if you stop and think about it, and the others are just MTV crap for people with short attention spans who groove on entertainment that is about nothing else other than torture and death). I Am Legend, by contrast, derives it's entertainment from a lone man's plight in an unimaginable situation. Which sounds like the more worthwhile film to you?
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