I Am Legend
I Am Legend may be the most restrained end-of-the-world blockbuster in recent times.The lack of mood music, the lack of dialogue (for the first third at least)… for what is essentially an apocalyptic zombie movie, it is tastefully done.
The setting is an empty and overgrown New York in 2011. Three years prior a cure for cancer mutated into a deadly rabies-like virus, killing most of the world’s population and turning the rest into pale, hairless ‘Nightseekers’. Conveniently, they don’t enjoy sunlight, leaving Will Smith’s Dr Robert Neville to do his shopping during the day while hunkering down in his home/fortress at night.
Neville also happens to be a trained soldier and virologist, and when he’s not hunting deer out the window of a speeding Ford Mustang with a high-powered rifle, he’s looking for the cure.
As a movie I Am Legend pushes all the right buttons; it’s beautifully shot, it’s moody and it’s gripping. My one major gripe: the CGI is less than brilliant. It has that Pearl Harbour-esque ‘too clean’ look. The monsters themselves? Scary enough when you only catch glimpses, but in the close-ups they resemble nothing so much as baddies straight out of Quake 3.
Luckily, the story is enough. And it’s chock full of allegory too. The monsters are infected with a disease and spend their time indulging their base desires. They cannot be reasoned with. Dr Neville finds the cure, which he dies to defend, sacrificing himself for humanity.
It’s the Gospel according to Calvinists.
Reviewed by: Rhett Snell.
Rating: M – Recommended for Mature Audiences.
Duration: 100 mins.
Starring: Will Smith
Release Date: Jan 3, 2008