My Review of “I Am Legend”!

 

When I first saw the trailer for the new Will Smith film “I Am Legend”, my 10 dollars were already reserved well in advance of the film’s release. To me, Will Smith is like the “Good Housekeeping” Seal of Approval. He rarely chooses a bad film to star in. From “Hitch” to “I Robot” to his acting tour de force in “The Pursuit of Happyness” this is a man who is synonymous with quality popcorn films.  I am glad to report that after seeing “I Am Legend”, his track record for quality movies is still intact. “I Am Legend” is an effective thriller that is carried by the powerhouse acting performance of Will Smith.

Click “READ MORE” For The Entire Review: (MINOR SPOILERS)

Will Smith plays Doctor Robert Neville, a man who is immune to a mutated virus that has spread all over the world and turned the worlds population into a bunch of vampire like creatures. The film was incorrectly marketed as an action movie in my opinion. This is a horror movie, plain and simple. And the acting performance by Smith is in a league not usually seen in the films of this genre. It takes a lot to carry a film by your self for about 75% of the movie. And Will Smith ensures that Robert is an interesting character.

D. Robert Neville is a lonely man whose main mission is to reverse the damage he had a hand in causing. We see Robert living his life alone in an abandoned Manhattan. He has a trusty dog named Sam (proving that Dogs really are Man’s Best Friend) and the two of them have a pretty loving relationship. You initially believe that he is so caring towards his dog due to him being all alone. But flashbacks to his life pre-outbreak show why he is so attached to the dog.

On a side note, the dog Sam is probably the most well trained dog I have seen in a movie ever. Seriously she is a good supporting character. Sounds crazy, but you just have to see the film to understand what I mean.   

Rather than start the film with his aforementioned life before the outbreak, the film start things up with Will being the last man on earth. I liked the flashback technique they used in the film. We got glimpses of his past revealed to us slowly as the movie progressed. It was much like the formula used in the TV Series “L O S T”. The flashbacks provide a deeper perspective into his current motivation. It all worked out great.  

Of course with Robert’s very planned daily routine of going outside to search for any survivors something was bound to go awry. When something does actually happen to disrupt his daily routine, the film transitions from a personal character study to an Action-Horror film.  

As a Horror Movie buff, I rarely get scared anymore. I also know the typical conventions of the genre like the back of my hand, so jump scares don’t catch me off guard. While I am tough when it comes to things that scare me, the audience I saw the film with on Friday night were very affected by the scares. I must say, while I wasn’t scared, I was still into the film. The moments of suspense were very well done. The scene in the abandoned factory was good. When Robert’s dog Sam run into the abandoned factory, the look on his face showed a sense of worry that we all felt in the audience. If the only other person I had left with me was a dog, you better believe that I would have went after her too, even if I knew it was a bad idea.

The movies action sequences were very well done. The nighttime scene at the South Street Seaport was pretty effective. The vampires were fast, furious, and relentless. Other stand out moments included the trap scene at Grand Central Terminal and the home invasion scenes. One of the most powerful scenes of the movie was Robert’s very touching moment with his dog Sam after a routine Day Trip gone really bad. It was one of the films highlights in terms of Will’s acting performance.  

Again, I can not state enough how well Will Smith pulls this all off. He is not being his normal wisecracking self. The few jokes here are natural and unforced. I haven’t seen such good genre acting since Sigourney Weaver’s Star Turn in James Cameron’s “Aliens”. 

The direction by Francis Lawrence was well done. He is on a roll since his film debut with “Constantine”. Many people may have hated “Constantine” but I very much enjoyed it. With “I Am Legend”, it was suspenseful, touching, interesting, and there was never a dull moment. Francis Lawrence did a great job as director. I’m sure some purists of the original book or even the Charlton Heston movie will complain that “I Am Legend” is not faithful to the book. But I would tell those people to judge the film on it’s own merits. It took the basis of the book and made crafted a well done film.   

My only problem with the film? The overuse of CGI. The vampires were not that convincing to me. They were good for what they were, but if they would have used a blend of CGI with Animatronics/Make Up Effects, the film would have been better in my opinion. But I must say, the CGI used to create an empty Manhattan, the grass and nature reclaiming the urban city, and the animals that now populate the city was all good and realistic. I also enjoyed the in-joke in Times Square with the “Batman vs Superman” movie poster. It was cool.  

The film’s ending may not be the huge crowd pleaser that people are expecting, but it makes total sense based on the events that preceded it. Filmgoers have been inexplicably conditioned to judge a film by it’s last 10 minutes, negating anything good that may have happened before. And that is wrong. I can understand if “I Am Legend” pulled a plot twist ending out of its ass that invalidated the whole movie, but it does not.  The ending is straight forward and true to the films title. The film is called “I Am Legend” after all. So we should all have an idea of how it will end.  

I highly recommend this film. It was thoroughly enjoyable. I already can’t wait to see this movie again and own it on DVD.  

I would say Will’s performance is “Oscar” worthy, but I don’t want to sound like I am bordering on hyperbole. But the fact remains that his performance is really good. He again proves why he is the biggest male star in America right now. 

My Rating: A

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1 Comment

  1. I totally agree with you, this is definetely one of the best movie came out this year, already a classic


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