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Face-Off: 28 Days Later vs. I Am Legend

Jul. 10, 2014by: Dave Davis
Last week's Face-Off column had two previous July 4th weekend's most explosive "event" releases battling it out, and most of you agreed that INDEPENDENCE DAY deserved the salute over ARMAGEDDON.

This weekend brings the sequel DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, in which a simian flu has devastated humanity. Let's take a look at another couple of movies that involve virus outbreaks with frightening results that do a number on mankind: 28 DAYS LATER and I AM LEGEND.

(Please note: Face Off is an opinion column. We're not using any actual science to prove or disprove anything. It's just for fun.)
LEAD
Cillian Murphy is bicycle courier Jim, who awakens from a coma in a London hospital to find the city is deserted except for ferocious infected people. Along with a handful of survivors, he tries to reach the purported safety of a military blockade outside Manchester
Will Smith is US Army scientist Robert Neville, who roams desolate post-apocalypse Manhattan by day seeking supplies and survivors, and seals himself inside at night desperately working on a cure to the global outbreak (which hes immune to)
SUPPORTING CAST
Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson, Christopher Eccleston, Noah Huntley, Luke Mably, Megan Burns
Alice Braga, Charlie Tahan, Willow Smith, Salli Richardson, and Sam the German Shepherd
DIRECTOR
Danny Boyle, who also directed SUNSHINE, TRAINSPOTTING, THE BEACH, SHALLOW GRAVE, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE and 127 HOURS, plus the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony and a stage production of Frankenstein starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller
Francis Lawrence, who also directed CONSTANTINE, WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE and upcoming MOCKINGJAY (parts 1 and 2), plus a whole ton of music videos and commercials
SETTING
London and outskirts
New York City

(Not to imply that NYC is a "better" city than London, we just get to see more of an eerily uninhabited modern metropolis in this movie)
VIRUS
Animal activists trying to release lab chimps inadvertently unleash "Rage", a scientifically fabricated attempt to suppress aggression that went horribly wrong, creating a contagion that is rapidly transmitted through bites and blood
The Krippin Virus, a genetically altered measles strain that was intended to cure cancer, but instead swiftly overcame the entire planet with a seemingly incurable disease mutation. (On the upside, the virus was created by classy lady Emma Thompson)
INFECTED
Red-eyed flesh-eating lunatics who (even when on fire) instinctively and relentlessly pursue any uninfected humans
Savagely hostile darkness-seekers, known for blood-drinking, heavy breathing and enhanced physical abilities. Unfortunately portrayed by rubbery CGI
CURE
Nothing manmade but the infected all starve to death after several weeks
Neville figures out a treatment for the virus just before handing it off to fellow immune survivor Anna (Braga) and then blowing himself up with a grenade. Anna brings the theoretical cure to a survivor colony in Vermont

(In the more profound alternate ending, Neville discovers the infected are far more intelligent than he realized, and returns his captured subject to their leader before completing her cure)
BOX OFFICE
$82.7 million worldwide
$585.3 million worldwide
SEQUEL
Another outbreak of Rage occurred after a few months in the lesser follow-up 28 WEEKS LATER, and a comic from Boom! Studios featured further stories of Naomie Harris' character Selena
A prequel and sequel with Will Smith have both been discussed, but nothing has materialized
28 DAYS LATER
Although I AM LEGEND carries the name of Richard Matheson's classic horror novel unlike previous adaptations THE OMEGA MAN and THE LAST MAN ON EARTH, it deviates from the source material at least as much as those versions, and not necessarily for the better (with a particularly tenuous Bob Marley connection to the title).

I AM LEGEND is admittedly a superior-looking movie and features some of Will Smith's best acting work, but the more realistic rage-infected maniacs and near-immediate infection of 28 DAYS LATER are more satisfyingly terrifying, creating a palpable panic whenever they appear to menace our main characters. Smith gives an affecting demonstration of human isolation, but Boyle's movie offers a more interesting exploration of how society quickly devolves when faced with a catastrophic event.

Agree? Disagree? Which do you prefer?
POST YOUR CHOICE BELOW!

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2:04PM on 07/11/2014

Oh Yeah, Not to mention, Danny Boyle Vs Francis Lawrence? Hhahahahahahahah

Oh Yeah, not to mention, Danny Boyle Vs Francis Lawrence? Hhahahahahahahaha, one is responsible for at least 3 modern day classics, the other, uhhhhhhhhh. If you can't figure out who is who, then you disqualify from making comments here.
Oh Yeah, not to mention, Danny Boyle Vs Francis Lawrence? Hhahahahahahahaha, one is responsible for at least 3 modern day classics, the other, uhhhhhhhhh. If you can't figure out who is who, then you disqualify from making comments here.
Your Reply:



1:45PM on 07/11/2014

Are you fucking kidding me?

28 Days Later is the movie that is solely responsible for the zombie revival in terms of popularity, there were no zombie movies coming out until that movie came out. I AM LEGEND was meh..., and was completely inspired by 28 Days Later, you are comparing like the standard and king of this genre, in current years, to just one of its many knock offs. It's like comparing Jaws with Lake Placid or one of the many Jaws inspired movies.
28 Days Later is the movie that is solely responsible for the zombie revival in terms of popularity, there were no zombie movies coming out until that movie came out. I AM LEGEND was meh..., and was completely inspired by 28 Days Later, you are comparing like the standard and king of this genre, in current years, to just one of its many knock offs. It's like comparing Jaws with Lake Placid or one of the many Jaws inspired movies.
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+0
12:23AM on 07/11/2014

One thing about I Am Legend I never quite understood...

How in the world does that woman know who Ziggy Marley is, but then NOT know who Bob Marley is?
How in the world does that woman know who Ziggy Marley is, but then NOT know who Bob Marley is?
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+0
10:24PM on 07/10/2014
I love both of these movies. Too hard to choose.
I love both of these movies. Too hard to choose.
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7:38PM on 07/10/2014
I honestly like both movies about the same. For the box office for I am legend, don't forget this movie had the 10 minute beginning of The Dark Knight attached to it. I know that was one of my main reasons for seeing it in theaters.
I honestly like both movies about the same. For the box office for I am legend, don't forget this movie had the 10 minute beginning of The Dark Knight attached to it. I know that was one of my main reasons for seeing it in theaters.
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7:13PM on 07/10/2014
A better contest might have been I Am Legend vs World War Z.
A better contest might have been I Am Legend vs World War Z.
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6:08PM on 07/10/2014
Both movies had potential, but in the end, they turned out to be pure crap.
Both movies had potential, but in the end, they turned out to be pure crap.
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+0
5:42PM on 07/10/2014

I am legend

28 days later was garbage I am legend was a better movie
28 days later was garbage I am legend was a better movie
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+0
4:50PM on 07/10/2014

Tie.

I gave them both an 8/10.
I gave them both an 8/10.
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2:23PM on 07/10/2014
While I liked 28 days later better I do have a couple of corrections. First, I didn't see none of the infected eat a single person. They ripped them to shreds. Hence why they starved to death. Second, 28 weeks later was not lesser. It was just as intense and satisfying. Especially the beginning and when the kids were trapped in the subway station and the girl had to use the night vision on the gun. Tense.
While I liked 28 days later better I do have a couple of corrections. First, I didn't see none of the infected eat a single person. They ripped them to shreds. Hence why they starved to death. Second, 28 weeks later was not lesser. It was just as intense and satisfying. Especially the beginning and when the kids were trapped in the subway station and the girl had to use the night vision on the gun. Tense.
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1:07PM on 07/10/2014
This wasn't a contest. 28 days should have won hands down. I am Legend was an awful movie and like most Will Smith films lack substance and just rely on his name to sell the movie. Which I think they are realizing doesn't work anymore
This wasn't a contest. 28 days should have won hands down. I am Legend was an awful movie and like most Will Smith films lack substance and just rely on his name to sell the movie. Which I think they are realizing doesn't work anymore
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+0
12:10PM on 07/10/2014

say what...?

This is like a comparison between DIE HARD and TWO BROKE GIRLS...
This is like a comparison between DIE HARD and TWO BROKE GIRLS...
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+0
11:50AM on 07/10/2014
I'm offended for 28 Days Later for it to even be compared to a horrible POS like I Am Legend.

And how the hell is I Am Legend a superior looking movie? Even if we are talking simply the comparison of the look of the film vs 28 Day's grainy digital look, that kind of hand held digital look is part of the much more intimate tone of the movie that makes it superior. It doesn't feel like a product.
I'm offended for 28 Days Later for it to even be compared to a horrible POS like I Am Legend.

And how the hell is I Am Legend a superior looking movie? Even if we are talking simply the comparison of the look of the film vs 28 Day's grainy digital look, that kind of hand held digital look is part of the much more intimate tone of the movie that makes it superior. It doesn't feel like a product.
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11:34AM on 07/10/2014

28 DAYS LATER

28 DAYS LATER by far!! that has became a modern classic in the genre and has better pacing. I AM LEGEND was just an OK popcorn flick with some cheesy effects and lame storytelling, a wasted opportunity if you ask me the book by Tim Matheson is badass!
28 DAYS LATER by far!! that has became a modern classic in the genre and has better pacing. I AM LEGEND was just an OK popcorn flick with some cheesy effects and lame storytelling, a wasted opportunity if you ask me the book by Tim Matheson is badass!
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11:07AM on 07/10/2014

Definitely 28 Days Later

I can't deny Will Smiths performance in I Am Legend. However, 28 Days Later is definitely a better film... by far. Not sure that I like the fact that this "Face Off' sections keeps adding and removing categories to fit the particular movies being presented. It can easily contribute to a more bias verdict.
I can't deny Will Smiths performance in I Am Legend. However, 28 Days Later is definitely a better film... by far. Not sure that I like the fact that this "Face Off' sections keeps adding and removing categories to fit the particular movies being presented. It can easily contribute to a more bias verdict.
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+0
10:48AM on 07/10/2014
I think both were good in their own way. I Am Legend had great atmosphere
I think both were good in their own way. I Am Legend had great atmosphere
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10:34AM on 07/10/2014
It's interesting because I made a shortfilm called "Alone in the City" and these two movies were the inspirations.
I like both.
It's interesting because I made a shortfilm called "Alone in the City" and these two movies were the inspirations.
I like both.
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9:33AM on 07/10/2014
28 Days Later.
28 Days Later.
Your Reply:



9:15AM on 07/10/2014

I AM Legend was the worst, most boring movie to come out that year.

I can't stand I Am Legend. It was just this boring movie with the worst CGI and horrible plot ever. Omega Man was a million times better and Will Smith was doing his stupid Marky Mark The Happening impression the whole time.
I can't stand I Am Legend. It was just this boring movie with the worst CGI and horrible plot ever. Omega Man was a million times better and Will Smith was doing his stupid Marky Mark The Happening impression the whole time.
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8:48AM on 07/10/2014
I'm a fan of both, but I'd have to go with legend as my favorite. It has the rewatchable factor for me more so than 28 days.
I'm a fan of both, but I'd have to go with legend as my favorite. It has the rewatchable factor for me more so than 28 days.
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8:44AM on 07/10/2014
Not even close. I Am Legend only tops 28 Days Later in box office gross, but we all know that doesn't mean shit in regards to if a movie is good or not.
Not even close. I Am Legend only tops 28 Days Later in box office gross, but we all know that doesn't mean shit in regards to if a movie is good or not.
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8:30AM on 07/10/2014

28

28 Days Later by a mile, not that I hate I Am Legend - it has enough going for it to make it a worthwhile watch - but 28 Days Later just oozes atmosphere and terror (at points), and wears the influence of stories like Day Of The Triffids on its sleeve. The scene in the tunnel or the shot of Manchester ablaze made this a dystopian horror classic.
28 Days Later by a mile, not that I hate I Am Legend - it has enough going for it to make it a worthwhile watch - but 28 Days Later just oozes atmosphere and terror (at points), and wears the influence of stories like Day Of The Triffids on its sleeve. The scene in the tunnel or the shot of Manchester ablaze made this a dystopian horror classic.
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8:06AM on 07/10/2014

28 Days Later

Not even a contest
Not even a contest
Your Reply:



7:00AM on 07/10/2014
The one without Will Smith, duh.
The one without Will Smith, duh.
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+0
6:50AM on 07/10/2014

The CGI in I Am Legend.

I have a theory that the CGI was deliberately a bit crap to take the edge off the horror.
28 Days is very nasty and physical and real. Far too brutal for a large audience going to see a Will Smith movie. So you tone it down by making the baddies a little bit cartoony and unreal.
I have a theory that the CGI was deliberately a bit crap to take the edge off the horror.
28 Days is very nasty and physical and real. Far too brutal for a large audience going to see a Will Smith movie. So you tone it down by making the baddies a little bit cartoony and unreal.
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6:24AM on 07/10/2014
28 Days Later by a long shot.
28 Days Later by a long shot.
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+0
3:58AM on 07/10/2014
28 Days Later was a damn solid horror film.

I Am Legend is a joke of a film that completely fucked over the brilliant source material. Other than character names & post apocalyptic setting, NOTHING about that film was even remotely similar to the book. The book is a great original vampire novel. The movie is a typical zombie survival flick, and not a particularly good one. Not to mention the movie had the most pointless, and poorly executed, CGI I've ever seen.
28 Days Later was a damn solid horror film.

I Am Legend is a joke of a film that completely fucked over the brilliant source material. Other than character names & post apocalyptic setting, NOTHING about that film was even remotely similar to the book. The book is a great original vampire novel. The movie is a typical zombie survival flick, and not a particularly good one. Not to mention the movie had the most pointless, and poorly executed, CGI I've ever seen.
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2:24AM on 07/10/2014

28 Days Later for the win

28 Days Later has more weight to it whereas I Am Legend is more "fun". The poor CGI creature FX in Legend took me out of the film.
28 Days Later has more weight to it whereas I Am Legend is more "fun". The poor CGI creature FX in Legend took me out of the film.
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2:01AM on 07/10/2014

No contest

28 days...
28 days...
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1:07AM on 07/10/2014
28 Days Later for me. It's a much much better movie than I Am Legend, in my opinion. Out of the topic though: can anyone Reply? I tried to Reply some comment but I can't. Maybe my internet is acting funky again.
28 Days Later for me. It's a much much better movie than I Am Legend, in my opinion. Out of the topic though: can anyone Reply? I tried to Reply some comment but I can't. Maybe my internet is acting funky again.
Your Reply:



12:47AM on 07/10/2014
There's really no excuse for how shitty the creatures looked in Legend. If they fixed that and the ending it would be much more highly regarded, because the emotional elements and tension are just fantastic in it throughout.
There's really no excuse for how shitty the creatures looked in Legend. If they fixed that and the ending it would be much more highly regarded, because the emotional elements and tension are just fantastic in it throughout.
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12:44AM on 07/10/2014
28 Days later is obviously the better movie. I think it should have won setting though. That was one of my favorite things about it, the deserted London streets, the creepy mansion/army base, the tunnel scene, the settings were fantastic. My only complaint about 28DL is that our main character wakes up in the hospital. Yawn, been done too much.
28 Days later is obviously the better movie. I think it should have won setting though. That was one of my favorite things about it, the deserted London streets, the creepy mansion/army base, the tunnel scene, the settings were fantastic. My only complaint about 28DL is that our main character wakes up in the hospital. Yawn, been done too much.
Your Reply:



12:31AM on 07/10/2014

28 Days Later for me

It was a much better movie. Brendan Gleeson's final scene in the movie was incredible.
It was a much better movie. Brendan Gleeson's final scene in the movie was incredible.
Your Reply:



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