I Am Legend
It’s funny when you watch a movie and you think you know hoe it’s going to play out, but it doesn’t. With I Am Legend I was expecting it to start at the beginning, and move forward. Instead it starts at the middle and works forward with flashbacks. I’m glad I was wrong, because the flash back work really well in uncovering the story little by little.
You should pretty much know the premise of the story; Robert Neville is a brilliant scientist and military man, and because a freak plague has killed or mutated the entire human race, he is the last human alive – he is somehow immune and is determined to find a cure so he can re-start the human race.
I Am Legend manages to do something rather amazing. It takes Will Smith, an actor more comfortable with action movies, and places him in a deserted city, by himself for the best part of the movie. This was my biggest worry about I Am Legend; could Will Smith carry a movie on his own. The answer is a definite yes. He does of course have help from his dog!
The way the plot is assembled and the pacing of the scenes makes for a very accessible and entertaining movie. It is by no means a summer blockbuster action flick, but it has just enough going on to keep you pinned to the screen. It’s the fear of the unknown along with our inherent need for company that enables I Am legend to take a hold of us and draw us in. We easily empathise with Robert Neville, because despite our increasingly distant society we still crave human company.
Of course empathy alone can’t make a good film, nor can the unknown. At some point the monsters have to come out and play. It’s here that I Am Legend has come under a bit of flack, with some saying that the CGI is really low budget. I disagree. I think the CGI is great; the problem being is that if you can’t immerse yourself in the movie you’re going to know and therefore think ‘that looks fake’. Of course it’s fake, mutant zombie/vampires don’t exist, at least not in my suburb. But as with any movie, if you go into it wanting to check out the special effects you’re probably going to be disappointed. I Am Legend is crafted in such a way as to draw you in, to give you time to immerse yourself and become a part of the story, and then the monsters come out.
I Am Legend lived up to my expectations, and those expectations were quite high. It kept me entertained, it got me thinking, and left me happy to have sat down in front of the TV for the evening.
Food for thought (spoilers):
The last man on earth is not alone is the tag line that gave viewers an insight as to what to expect from I Am Legend, and that expectation as far as Hollywood was concerned was the Super Zombie/Vampire Mutants that roamed the night time, seeking out human flesh. For the more spiritually aware viewer however, it means something quite different: Despite Robert Neville turning his back on his faith, God never turns his back on Robert Neville. In fact the signs are all around him, he just doesn’t notice them as he seeks to cure the problem on his own, the manly way.
“I can still fix this..” Robert Neville
Trying to be the man however has a toll on Robert’s life, and after the death of his only companion – his dog – something snaps and Robert goes on a suicide mission, only to be saved by a woman sent by God, with a message that will change his outlook on life, and turn him into the legend he was destined to be.
“God didn’t do this Anna, we did”. Robert Neville
“The world is quieter now, we just have to listen. If we listen, we hear God’s plan”. Anna
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read.
Rating: M – Contains Violence & Horror.
Duration: 100 mins.
Genre: Action & Adventure, Sci-fi.
Director: Francis Lawrence.
Actors: Salli Richardson, Will Smith, Alice Braga, Thomas J. Pilutik, Paradox Pollack, Charlie Tahan.
Release Date: Available now.