I Am Legend Review

by Ed Lau on December 17, 2007

I Am Legend, Will Smith

Imagine a world without us. Cities left to overgrow and decay as wild animals frolic through streets once packed with automobiles and pedestrians. Have you ever wondered what it would be like being alone in a metropolis? I’m a bit mixed on the idea myself. Sure, it would get rather lonely without everyone around but imagine having a thousand square miles of sandbox to do whatever you want? That would be sort of awesome.

Anyways, this is the opening of I Am Legend, beginning with an eerie silence that echoes through many scenes that follow. The setting is almost serene as Manhattan has been left nearly entirely intact but empty except for a single man and his German shepherd. We find Robert Neville (Will Smith) flooring it through the streets of New York, hunting deer with his dog Sam.

I Am Legend, Will Smith

Again, if you were the last man on earth, what would you do in your spare time? Play golf off the deck of an aircraft carrier? Rent Shrek? The first half of the film follows Neville through his daily life almost alone. It is reminiscent of Tom Hank’s in Cast Away, depicting Neville’s struggle to maintain his sanity when his life is void of human contact.

I Am Legend is divided between scenes from the past and present day with the past taking place three years prior. In the near future, the cure of cancer is discovered and while the deadly disease is all but eradicated, the cure has the side effect of…oh, killing everyone. Those who survive the cure are either entirely immune to its effects or turned into flesh-eating vampires. Neville goes out to gather supplies during the day, when the UV from the sun keeps the vampires indoors and hides in his townhouse at night, where he does research to find a vaccine.

I Am Legend, Will Smith

Although Will Smith has some questionable items on his resume, I think he’s a tad underrated as an actor and he gives a great performance as Neville. Neville is very likable and has some very funny scenes interacting with department store mannequins, including one that Neville has a tough time introducing himself to. However, it is through Neville’s fear and vulnerability that Smith really shines in this movie. Although he’s a Lt. Colonel in the army who seems to be quite handy and able to take care of himself, you really feel as though he is breaking down and his final interaction with the mannequins is heartbreaking and frightening at the same time. Although there is plenty to fear from the zombies/vampires and such lurking outside, the nightmare within Neville’s psyche is probably what troubles him (and the viewer) the most.

I Am Legend is a fantastic piece of entertainment in that the film is great at maintaining its air of tension. Honestly, there were quite a few moments where I jumped a bit out of my seat and there are times when I thought I was actually seeing what the film lets us believe is Neville’s own hallucinations. The zombies are well done but seriously, the scariest scenes are the ones when you can’t see them at all.

I Am Legend, Will Smith

As with many movies of the sort, it’s best not to think about it too much as there are quite a few plot holes and inconsistencies that I realized shortly after watching it. However, discussing most of them will most likely bring up important spoilers. When you see it, you’ll know. Some may also think the movie is a bit too long and while there are some unnecessary scenes, they are well done and add to either the tranquility or the horror.

I Am Legend is not among the best movies of the year but it is certainly worth a look. However, I’m still not sure about firearm’s effectiveness against an undead horde since it’s only through movie magic that ammunition is limitless. Neville should subscribe here and check out some of my zombie survival tips. Does anyone know if Manhattan has a Costco?

Verdict: 7.5 out of 10

in Entertainment

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Gary Jones :: BlueFur.com December 18, 2007 at 9:33 am

Did you see the batman/superman movie poster?

I hear it is a joke but if not that would make a kick ass movie.

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Mike Huang December 18, 2007 at 5:13 pm

Seems like Mr. Shoemoney dislikes this movie more than you :)

-Mike

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ScottUA December 19, 2007 at 3:10 pm

I really enjoyed this movie. Besides the damn CGI zombies, it was great piece of entertainment. Did spot the poster for Batman/Superman. I agree with Gary, this would be an awesome movie to see.

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Calcium Dust December 22, 2007 at 6:51 pm

I thought it was overall pretty good, i noticed the batman superman poster and it would be a killer movie, I found alot of things hard to swallow, like all the zombies look exactly the same, they have hunting dogs but they cant throw a punch, also the frag grenade somehow exploded into a ball of fire and that room would be sucked of oxygen for a while, but those are just small issues

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