Monday, January 14, 2008

I am Legend

Will Smith, Sci-fi, apocalyptic - that's all I needed to hear. I was sold on going to this movie. So, why did I come away a little disappointed? I think it's because I just felt I'd been there before. For example:

  • It's got that Cast Away parlor trick feel to it. Like a one man play. Just substitute Wilson with mannequins.

  • The ending (which I won't ruin for those who haven't seen it) reminded me way too much of Children of Men.

  • The CGI of some of the animals and of the zombies is not as good as it could have been.

What DID I like about it?

I thought the scenes of a New York overran by nature looked good. It's a valid topic right now and has been posited in a more scientific sense just this year by Alan Weisman in The World Without Us. The movie, and Weisman's book, show how quickly nature would take back what humans have claimed over a very small part of the Earth's history. It does a good job of giving one a sense of humility. We're barely a hiccup in the grand scheme of things and the planet couldn't give a shit whether we're here or not. It's really a misnomer to say that we are "saving the planet". We're trying to save ourselves. The planet will be here regardless.

The movie also brings up some valid philosophical points. What are our ethical responsibilities as scientists? Do we really know the consequences of our actions when we re-engineer nature? Will we be the instruments of our own demise?

Favorite scene:

It's gut-wrenching, especially for those who have pets, but the scene in which he has to take his pet's life choked me up a bit. Smith is very effective at showing the anguish of a pet owner that is making a decision for the better of the pet but that is made no less difficult by that fact.

Overall, I think it's a very good movie and despite its shortfalls, I recommend it. Grade: B

Laura liked I am Legend quite a bit and did a great review here about a month ago. Check it out.


CyberKitten said...

I actually didn't like Legend... Pretty much *at all*.

Ok... that's kind of too strong... I liked the idea of it (having seen The Omega Man & having read the book) & I did like the first part with Will & Sam surviving in an evacuated New York...

But the second half sucked - *big* time. As soon as the monsters showed up the movie started to accelerate downhill & *totally* crashed & burned in the end (which almost made me shout at the screen in anguish!) It was *such* a cop out even if the rest of the film had been half decent it would've ruined the whole thing for me.

I think that it would have been much better to stick to the ideas in the book rather than reinvent things to the extent that they did. I found it very disapointing and to be honest the whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth. You can tell that I was pretty pissed with the whole thing after looking forward to it for so long. I really like Will Smith. But if he keeps making turkeys like this I'll stop going to see his stuff.

OK... I'll stop now before I start giving the 'plot' away... [grin].

Laura said...

I did like this movie - barring it's flaws. I do think the CGI was poorly done. However, I turned into a blubbering mess when Will Smith had to choke the dog. There's a great article in CNN by an AP writer about this phenonmenon called "save the puppies"

dbackdad said...

CK - How un-British of you to rant. It's very entertaining. You're starting to sound like an American! Ha-ha. I can't really argue with any of your points ... or Laura's. My feelings about the movie come somewhere in between you two.

Laura- That is a good article.

CyberKitten said...

dbackdad said: How un-British of you to rant.

Oh... I'm sure that we can rant with the best of 'em!

Though usually we have the British reserve thing going for us.

CyberKitten said...

I hear there's talk of making a sequel... [looks bemused]

Jeff said...

I really liked the movie even though I've heard quite a few people say they didn't think it was all that great. The scene where he was forced to kill his dog was pretty tough to watch, definitely the most depressing part of the movie.

wunelle said...

I was doubtful that I'd see it, but the euthanizing of the dog seals the deal for me. For some reason, the distress of an animal for me is far worse than that of humans. I remember the traumatized horses in "The Horse Whisperer" were profoundly upsetting for me.

So thanks for the heads-up!