Thursday, February 14, 2008

I Am Legend (2007)

I Am Legend. Film review. If i was asked about a particular sub-genre in science fiction that i would easily fall into, i would immediately came up with an answer, "space-exploration" or "post-appocalypse". The very best of these sub-genres (or rather, the ones that fits into these sub-genres and found love in me) were mostly, em, actually all of them, deals with the a feeling of being alone, trapped, or more interestingly, both.

Some might made a comparison between I Am Legend and Cast Away. Alright, both deal with a lone man very much secluded place with nothing but a volley-ball named Wilson (or a dog named Samantha) as a company. But, whereas Cast Away merely put Tom Hanks several thousand miles out of nowhere, still has a fairly huge chance to meet another person, I Am Legend excels in putting Will Smith devoid from any social contact in an completely abandoned New York. His chance to meet another person? Fairly high, actually, albeit that there's another secondary chance, pretty certain as well, that he won't be left alive should he met one. From that respect alone, it is easy to see where my allegiance laid regarding of these two films. Further, in my opinion, the first acts of the film is vastly superior than the latter half.

Robert Neville (Will Smith), an Army Colonel is alone in New York, circa 2012. His only companion is his loyal dog, Samantha. It was three years after Emma Thompson as a cameo revealed that she has found a cure for cancer. But the cure turns out to be a lethal disease that turns living being (humans are definitely affected, as well as dogs, but i see normal lions, deers, and birds) into an ultra-aggressive beings whose exposer to sunlight proved lethal. Call them Vampires if you will, though with less elegance and even far less intelligence. This desease effectively depopulated the city. Everyone who is not dead, AND immune to the disease to Robert Neville's best of knowledge has fled the city. I'm not quite understands his reasons for staying put in New York although that in more than one occassions he gave a hint of why he had chose to stay in New York. As he goes doing his daily routine, hunting with his dog, renting DVDs in a store where he puts these mannequins and pretending that they're real people, broadcasting a distress message, went into his private lab where he relentlessly pursue for a cure of the disease, and finally bolted himself shut in his apartment when the sun sets to avoid the Vampires who went out for a hunt, we treated with a flashback upon Robert's previous life up until the disease broke out.

As i've said earlier, the first two-thirds of the film is superior to the action-oriented final 35 minutes. Though, inarguably, the decision to went into an action-oriented path had its own merit and i'd say, an appropriate way to end the film which would surely be accepted in satisfaction among most casual viewers. I just loved to see the physcological torment that Robert has gone through to attain some part of his humanity amidst his complete devoid of any social contact. There's a heart-breaking scene at the end of this part which of course, for not wanting to spoil your fun, i won't be going to reveal any further. And as far as i'm concerned, Will Smith nails the portrayal and the guilt albeit his performance won't went into my book as one of the best perofrmance in the year.

Kudos to the special effect teams who successfully rendered New York from a Big Apple megapolitan city into a devastated and deserted city. It's quite a shame actually that i didn't see it on a big screen. On a lighter note, there's a huge billboard poster of Superman/Batman in the city. Further research to the interenet, the poster was indeed a poster of a Superman/Batman film slated for release in 2010. Hm, should it really happened, that would be a great treat. All in all, I Am Legend doesn't disappoint. It was what you'd expect from a big-budgeted film with a big star that even though some part of the film may seems tedious, and ridiculously simple, it could be well forgiven.

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1 comment:

secondlight said...

bah, the ending sucks, predictable and the punch line is too corny. Hollywood to scared to make the human race loose. I wish it ends like the book, than it would be an awesome movie.

But will smith will always be will smith. His acting is world class :D