I Am Legend

Discussion in 'Hobby/Travel Forum' started by webdog, Dec 15, 2007.

  1. webdog

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    Anyone see it yet...or plan on seeing it? It looks pretty good, and Will Smith got good reviews for his role.
     
  2. readmore

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    I plan on seeing it, but probably won't make it until it comes out on DVD.
     
  3. SaggyWoman

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    I would like to, but depends on workplace blues, Activity money, and residents on restriction.
     
  4. Chessic

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    I saw it. Here's a few comments and a somewhat vague review for those that want it (while trying not to spoil anything):

    Be aware that this movie has some very frightening scenes. The zombie/vampires (I use these terms because these are what the bad guys were in the 2 previous movie versions and the novel) are CGI (pretty well done) and very frightening. There is very little bad language in the movie and no sexual references that I recall.

    The first 3/4 of the movie was excellent, I thought, moving, funny and sad, good special effects when needed. Some very touching scenes of a man trying to do his best in a bad situation.

    Will Smith gives what must be the best performance of this career to date. Certainly the best I have seen from him. I have not been a fan of Mr. Smith in the past because he always seems to play characters that are so smart-mouthed. But this role is funny and touching and less sarcastic.

    Imo, the weakness of this movie is its ending, with which I was disappointed. It seemed rushed, and did not finish the story arcs I thought were going to develop. Perhaps it was just that it snuck up on me so much. I'd love to hear others' thoughts on it after you see it.

    There are several very positive comments about Christianity in the movie. At one point, there is an unexpected (for Hollywood) and sincere scene where a small family prays together at a difficult moment. Later there is a character that seems to be a positive Christian role model.

    Don't be mistaken though, this is a movie that is a blend of hard-hitting suspense/thriller and horror. There is little gore, but some graphic violence, terror, explosions, and scary zombie/infected semi-humans screaming at the camera. And I don't mean George Romero-type zombies, stumbling around slowly with rotting bodies; I mean 28 Days Later-type fast, semi-smart, and very, very angry zombies.

    If you like the genre, you will probably like the first 3/4 of the movie, as I did. Whether you will like the end is harder to say. Overall the movie is more positive and less anti-Christian (it is almost pro-Christian at times) than most Hollywood blockbusters, especially in this genre. If you like this type of movie, I recommend it, with low expectations for the end.
     
    #4 Chessic, Dec 16, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2007
  5. Tom Bryant

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    Thanks for the review, Chessic. I like these types of movies but didn't know about this one. I think this is the kind of movie I'll see with friends while our wives are in a chick flick. :laugh:
     
  6. Don

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    If I recall correctly, the original story had a bleak ending. Perhaps the movie follows the book?
     
  7. Hopeful

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    Thanks very much for the review, Chessic. It lets THIS "chick" :wavey: know that it's worth watching. I am a fan of Smith--actually amazed at what a great actor he's turned out to be. The promos I've seen for the movie had made me undecided about seeing this one though, BECAUSE of the focus on the graphic violence in those promos. I was scared there was nothing BUT that in there--good to know there's a story line... Since I don't know anything about the books this movie comes from, this review was very helpful.
     
  8. James Flagg

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    Not really, but when is Hollywood ever truly faithful to the book?


    In the book, Neville is not benevolent. He hunts the vampires during the day and slays them. In the movie he's trying to cure them.

    To be fair, the book's ending probably would not make a good movie. What is interesting, however, is the treatment of the title. In the book, "I am Legend" means one thing and the movie makers changed it to something entirely different, opposite even.

    I agree with the other poster. This movie is INTENSE! Not for the faint of heart.

    -JF
     
  9. North Carolina Tentmaker

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    It was ok. I am a big fan of Smith (at least his acting). But I was left very disappointed in the ending. They could have done a lot more. I don't know if they were trying to follow the book or not. I did not know there was a book or earlier movies. It seemed rushed at the end and it was a pretty short movie. To me it seems like they had a good movie going and then ran out of money and had to finish with what they already had shot. Just mho.
     
  10. SaggyWoman

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    It was a box office hit, best debut for December, and Will's top draw to date.
     
  11. Chessic

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    Exactly the point I was trying to make, although I doubt lack of money was the cause. There were a lot of things just sort of snipped off!

    One of the features that the book and the other two movie versions featured, that the current version did not, was the eerie, mocking call of the infected, who would stand outside his home and call to him, "Neeeeeevillllllle! Come out, Neville!" night after night.

    But this movie has some terrifying moments of his own, and one of the things I commend it for is showing a real human, terrified and running for his life, rather than Rambo with a gun under each arm mowing down anything that moves in normal Hollywood fashion.

    For those interested, the previous movies, that I know of, based on this particular novel are:

    The Last Man on Earth, with Vincent Price, circa 1964.
    The Omega Man, with Charlton Heston, circa 1971.

    The two movies are very different, and different from the novel.

    The novel is I am Legend, by Richard Matheson, circa 1954.



    SPOILER ALERT!! DON'T KEEP READING THIS POST IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THE ENDING!!



    The possible story arc about Neville and the main infected man was never really completed. Earlier in the movie, when Neville captures the female infected, the male sticks his head into the sunlight, which is obviously painful to him, and then pursues Neville for the rest of the movie. I thought the female must be the infected's wife, mate, etc, and he was out for revenge. I expected a showdown between this leader and Neville over the wife, or her body, or to settle the score. After years of Hollywood schlock, I expected Neville and the woman he meets to "fall in love" and after a typical "love" scene, and for the infected leader to kill her in revenge or for Neville to rescue her. And when the infected enter his lab with the female still lying there (she was still there recovering from the plague, wasn't she? in any event, she was there moments before and it would have been easy to set that up), it seemed a perfect time for a confrontation to begin.

    So that arc didn't go as I suspected, and I thought the movie had a ways to go, even when Neville stayed behind in the lab, leading to his seemingly unnecessary sacrifice. It was not clear that he "had" to sacrifice himself to save the woman and boy.

    About the last epilogue, narrated by someone else, I can only say that it is iffy storytelling technique at best to suddenly shift the point of view for the last few seconds. Cheap trick, imo.

    But I still give the movie moderate thumbs up for what I believe was a very strong first 3/4 or so, for some positive displays of Christianity, and for not including the stereotypical sex scene, or gratuitous language, nudity.
     
    #11 Chessic, Dec 17, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 17, 2007
  12. North Carolina Tentmaker

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    Thanks for the information on the other two movies Chessic. I will look for them.

    SPOILER - I AM GOING TO TALK ABOUT THE MOVIE, DON'T READ THIS IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW.

    There were several stories left uncompleted. One was the infected guy. It seemed obvious to me the Neville had captured his wife or at least someone close to him. Then he sets up the trap. Neville's notes for the day he captured the female were that the night creatures now showed no human behaviour at all, yet there was a clear leader and he showed the ability to plan and set a trap. Perfect time for confrontation was in the lab. If the night creatures showed mental ability to reason and build a trap, emotional attachement for one another, communication and leadership then they were not void of human behaviour after all.

    When the woman and her son show up another story came to me. Here was a woman and her son who were both survivors. If the virus had a kill rate >90% the odds of the woman and her son being immune were pretty long. UNLESS - immunity to the virus was herditary! That means Neville's daughter would have also been immune or at least had a good chance of being immune. I was hoping that he would discover this and it would give him the reason to live and so on and we would see the daughter alive eventually.

    Oh well. Of course you could also have Neville survive and become a crusader fighting the night creatures, capturing and curing them from time to time as he travels across the wasteland that was the earth. I think you have the making for a bad series on the sci fi network there.
     
  13. Chessic

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    MORE SPOILAGE! DON'T READ THIS!


    Yeah, I thought that inconsistency between Neville's notes and what had happened was odd. Not sure what the thinking was there unless he just meant no attempt at communication (unless you count head bashing!).

    I was unsure whether that child was the natural son of the woman or an orphan she picked up along the way. I may have taken a sudden interest in my popcorn right then. :p Or maybe I was thinking of Stephen King's The Stand.

    Never thought about Neville's daughter possibly being immune. That's a good point. And if Neville had lived and settled down with the new woman, maybe their offspring would be even more likely to be immune.

    That bad sci fi series might have looked a lot like the Resident Evil zombie movies. lol But I admit I'm a sucker for the post-apocalyptic survival stories.

    Did you do a double take like I did when Neville's family prays at the helicopter? It was half over before I noticed....hey wait! They're praying! And it's half-way sincere!

    I choked up when Sam got infected.
     
  14. North Carolina Tentmaker

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    I thought the prayer was great. I was really expecting the helicopter to crash or something. I did not think the family would get away alive. Then after they did I assumed that at some point he would find out what happened to them, either through reunion with the daughter or at least contact with someone who did know.

    I also liked the line where Neville says, "God did not do this, We did this." While he may have lost his faith he also recognized that God was not the source of his problems, man was. When he later said, "There is no God," to me it was more like he did not want to believe that and wanted very much for something to believe in.

    Yea, the dog dying was emotional. My oldest (15) went with me to see it but I think my younger kids would not be able to handle the intensity of the movie.
     
    #14 North Carolina Tentmaker, Dec 17, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 17, 2007
  15. Chessic

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    Supposedly, the ending was reshot at the last minute. I wonder why it was done, who ordered it, and what the original ending was like. I suppose it'll be on the DVD.
     
  16. mcdirector

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    This has made me want to go get the book!
     
  17. Tama

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    Don't take young children!

    I made the mistake of taking my seven year old son. He was extremely scared. I should have done more research before taking him. The zombie like creatures were horrifying to him.

    Beyond that......... it was a decent movie.

    I think there was a very positive, albeit subtle, message about God
     
  18. Rippon

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    As was mentioned by Chessic , The Omega Man starring Charlton Heston in 1971 was a classic . I have not seen the recent movie , just the trailers. How many have watched both films ? Which one do you consider the better one , and why ?
     
  19. Chessic

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    The Omega Man and I Am Legend (the movie, not the novel) have some differences that go far beyond plot development.

    SPOILER ALERT!

    In Omega, the infected are a society, they work and live together, have leaders, plans, and scheme and enough emotional development to have patience and believe that they will one day "get" Neville. They even have a sort of religion based on the idea that their "sins" of using technology, relying on it, caused their condition. Their main purpose is to destroy any vestige of the old civilization, and thus their sin. They spend most nights burning any books they can find. They speak and call each other "brother" and themselves a "family," and even regret one another's deaths.

    The movie has some grand speeches at times, mostly by Matthias, the leader of the infected. At one point he looks longingly at Neville's secure home above them, lit by an electric generator, well barricaded and defended by fences, boarded up windows, and Neville's own rifle, and says, "One creature...caught...caught in a place he cannot stir from in the dark. Alone. Outnumbered hundreds to one. Nothing to live for but his memories. Nothing to live with but his gadgets, his cars, his guns, gimmicks..." And to one of his leaders he says, "Forget the old ways brother, all your hatreds, all your pains. Forget...and remember, the family is one. But him! That thing! That creature of the wheel, that lord of the infernal engines, the machines...."

    Don't miss the symbolism of the golden light of Neville's 3rd floor apartment shining down onto the infected in the dark streets below like the promise of heaven. Since they cannot reach heaven, and have been cursed for trying, they want to destroy heaven and Neville, a sort of Christ figure trying to save them (and ultimately Neville even assumes a sort of crucifixion pose at the end as he dies). This symbolism can also be seen as a commentary on race relations, with the white, European Neville using his resources and machines, living high in the light above the oppressed crawling in darkness and ignorance below. One African-American (complete with 70's fro) infected refers to Neville's home as a "honky paradise." You have to put up with some 70's cheese to enjoy this version.

    Omega has the choppy editing and bad makeup and special effects you would expect from a sci-fi movie made in 1971. But I agree, it is a classic.

    Legend, on the other hand, is a big-budget Hollywood blockbuster. It has good special effects, a "cast of thousands," and very dramatic, hard-hitting action scenes. It has moments of sheer terror, where Omega had only a creepy feel. Legend is sad and poignant in its portrayal of a man alone in the world, trying to cure the infected, whereas Omega has Neville searching for "the hive" where he can destroy the infected in one blow, or at least their leadership. In Legend the infected are rage-filled to the point of losing all reason. They do seem to hibernate during the day together, but they don't seem to communicate much, if at all. It is unclear whether they want to kill Neville just because he makes them angry, or whether they really want to eat him or something else. As often in zombie movies, the infected don't seem as interested in fighting each other; they want the healthy people.

    In Omega, the infected know where Neville holds up and try to find ways to get to him. In Legend, they do not find his home until late in the movie, and this sets up the ending encounter. There is little coordination in their attack, In Legend. In Omega only children have a chance to be immune to the virus, and they lose immunity when they reach adulthood. Possibly, Neville himself is only immune because he injected himself with a new serum right as he was infected. In Legend, age has nothing to do with immunity (though I don't recall seeing any child infected). Legend is structured much more like a thriller with some close, emotional moments with the main character. Omega is a little more distant, a little less personal, and so the character of Neville is less engaging.

    In conclusion, Legend has a more sympathetic feel, but is probably less symbolic (unless you count Neville's attempts to replace human contact with technology). Omega is (more) cheesy, less engaging on a character level, but has more to say about our society. In a sense, the movies reveal a shift from the modernism of Omega to the post-modernism of Legend.
     
    #19 Chessic, Dec 21, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 21, 2007
  20. webdog

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    Finally saw it. I agree the end of the movie was rushed. I would have liked more time with the woman and child. I also would have liked to see how the cure is administered (maybe another movie?). Overall, it was pretty good.

    What do the creatures do in the winter? They all run around bare foot with no shirts on.
     

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