I Am Legend Review
Written by: Goon
As I have been covering I Am Legend I began to wonder what the novel was really like and even contemplating picking it up. But I thought it would probably be best if I went into this one with a blank slate. I think sometimes when we read something or see the original film before the remake it builds up expectations. So I went into this film with absolutely no expectations. I knew Will Smith was going to inject his little bits of humor and I knew Francis Lawrence was going to bring his brand of film making like he did with Constantine. So how did the two manage?
The film begins with Herbert Neville discovering the cure for Cancer. Which is being told to us in the form of a news report on television. Then we find this is merely a recording that he is playing to keep himself occupied in the quarantined island of New York City. Nothing exists there anymore except animals, overgrowth and some very unhappy recipients of that "cure". You see something went wrong with the serum and it caused them to go crazy and turn into carnivorous creatures of the night. Neville believes that he is the last man on Earth but he refuses to give up hope and continues to search for a cure at ground zero.
From there things begin to get more exciting as you can imagine as the creatures only come out to play at night. His lab in the basement is where he has been concocting a serum on test rodents and occasionally he catches a "human" to test the more successful serums on. Always by his side his trusty dog tags along with him on his daily scavenges for food. Throughout the film we are treated to flashbacks of the moments before the quarantine when he is getting his family off the island. It helps to really flesh out Smith's character.
If you were a big fan of Director Lawrence's Constantine I think you will be able to appreciate this film. However that means you will have to put up with a lot of questionable CGI effects. Had they of done some more practical things in the film I think my rating would be much higher. All of the creatures are done in CGI, I don't recall ever seeing an actor portraying one of the "infected". Which brings me to my next bit of insight. I think this film borrows a lot from films before it like 28 Days Later, Children of Men and so on. A kind of end of days type film with a very real human element.
If you really take away all of the really cheap looking CGI you are left with a very compelling story about a man and what he will do for the human race. Or what someone will do for their loved ones, no matter what species they are. It's something that Francis Lawrence does well and I would like to see him someday maybe take a step back and do something that doesn't need as much CGI. Something similar to like what I said above Children of Men.
Having not read the novel or seen any of the films based off of it I came to enjoy most of what was on the screen. I enjoyed I Am Legend just as a separate film away from what other people may think trashes the original work. Of course I have no idea what Richard Matheson's novel was but I didn't have those expectations going in. So if you have never read the novel and can enjoy a real human story you will have something to grasp onto in this film. As for horror fans looking for blood, guts and crazy creatures running around.... you won't get too much of that.
- Luke Franklin