16 April 2009

"I Am Legend": More Like 'I Am Decent'

Probably the most widely marketed and heavily advertised December movie of all time, I Am Legend doesn't dissapoint in terms of doing what it sets out to do: blow you away and awe you at the same time. Like a really really really good prostitute. Essentially, that's what I Am Legend is. One of those high end prostitutes. Think I'm kidding? Just hear me out: First, you give it money. Then you get to hang with it for an hour and a half while it makes you go 'whoa!' and 'awesome!' and 'oh shit!' And then it leaves. And that's it. No meaning. No purpose. Hell, not even a phone number.

I'm not going to tell you everything that's good about I Am Legend. The promos and trailers, which are all over the internet, radio, sides of busses, on bananas, and even wrapped around peoples' cars, tell you all you need to know. There are scenes of intensity, like one where Robert Neville is hanging from a rope while the sun descends, bringing about the 'Dark Seekers,' or the Infected, who prey upon the survivors. It's pumped full of action from the opening scenes, and never lets up, even if story-wise it fades out in the end. It's a popcorn movie. But sadly, nothing more.

Changes in this movie from the 1954 book are obvious, including the ending. And unfortunately for the movie, everything seems to have lost its meaning. Everything is just happening. No reason. Why is the leader of the Dark Seekers so focused on getting him? Why is he, in fact, Legend? These are questions the book answers, yet the movie doesn't despite asking them. There is a large missed opportunity here as well. Early in the film, Neville comments that the Seekers have been completely dehumanized, meaning they've pretty much lost all intelligence, yet later in the film they manage to trap him in the same way he trapped them. Sadly, instead of exploring the fact that Neville was wrong, and that the Seekers are in fact becoming SMARTER, it's almost as if the movie says 'oh, wait, forget about that part' and just moves on with the premise that the Seekers are just bloodthirsty beasts with no real rhyme or reason to their actions. These are themes the book played upon well, and eventually answered.

Though extremely entertaining, even if Smith overacts more than his fair share of times (someone needs to tell him to stop fake crying and just keep being funny and shooting monsters in his movies), the quick ending which makes very little sense to anyone watching it (I heard about ten people shout 'Why didn't you just go in there too! (you'll know what I’m talking about when you see it)) and by taking out the twist ending and various major points from the book giving everything a sense of reason, Francis Lawrence hurt his film...though not mortally. While you're sure to forget this movie a week later, you'll at least have fun watching it. I Am Legend is a good movie. Just not legendary.

Score: 6.5/10