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I Am Legend

The 2007 Francis Lawrence-directed film based on the novel of the same name and starring Will Smith.

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Will Smith saves the World from bad CGI.

  • Nov 16, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+2


I dig on Will Smith. The dude has more onscreen charisma than a dude with lots of onscreen charisma. Yessir, the guy is a genuine, mega-buck making, sooper star.
He is garnering his earnings, by providing us simple entertainment, where he saves the world.
A lot.
And we lap it up.

But he couldn't save this remake of the 1971, Charlton Heston Classic, The Omega Man.

The story focuses on Dr. Robert Neville, the lastest man in the Universe, ever.
By day, he and his trusty Alsation, Sam, hunt  rogue deer for food in the deserted streets of New York.

The visuals here are quite striking. Familiar city scapes that have graced the canvas of many a movie screen, devoid of human life, over grown with unkempt vegetation evokes an eerie and lonely feeling. 

When he and his dog aren't shooting big guns at defenseless deer, he is atop a Jet Fighter, shooting golf balls off the tail section with his nine iron.
At cars.
I guess you can get pretty bored in a deserted city.
He scavenges peoples abandoned apartments for food and medication, before hightailing back to his fortified abode when the sun begins to set.
For he isn't truly alone. The virus that has rid our dear world of it's trusty inhabitants, has indeed turned most of them into blood thirsty, cranky cgi mutants. And they can only come out at night.
Like a vampire cross, hybrid thingy.

This, unfortunately, is where a good movie falls apart.
The decision to use CGI to create the beasties was a poor choice.
In our day and age, (hell...Romero pulled it off in the 70's), movie makers are quite capable of creating hordes of ugly, angry, hungry critters with some well applied makeup.
The threat level would have been tenfold, had the mutants felt real.
Instead, we are meant to watch Will Smith, phantom fight, digital creations that would barely make the cut for a Playstation game.
Sucked me right outta the movie.

It could have been great, as there is much to like here.
As I mentioned, the mood and atmosphere is truly dripping off the screen. The portrayal of the emptiness of a city known for it's hustle and bustle is spectacular.
Streets with grass growing through the pavement. Vines creeping up the sides of buildings. Abandoned cars littering the city and it's sidewalks.
Very cool. Much like the opening scenes of 28 Days Later.

Smith can act.
He takes his character to some deep, emotional levels. Portraying the lonliness of man who has taken to talking to mannequins, just so that he feels he has someone to talk to.
(Working up the courage to approach a female dummy at a video store is hilarious and heartbreaking).

The suspense is quite good too. Following his wayward canine into an darkened building, inhabited by our CGI friends, is some serious, hold your breath stuff.

I wanted to love this movie. Instead it's a little more than "meh".
Smith does the best he can here and carries the movie for as long as he can. Being by himself for the majority of the flick is a testament to the guys onscreen presence. He is immensely watchable.

But the execution is weak. I never once felt like he was in any real peril when being chased by cartoon vampires.

Will Smith fans undoutedly will check this out and most likely get a kick out of it.
Everyone else will just groan at the special effects and leave the viewing experience empty.
Like eating a large tub of popcorn for dinner.
Fun, but ultimately unsatisfying and leaving you with dry mouth.

Would have given this movie a rating of 3, but the filmmakers decision to use cgi unnecessarily, really pissed me off.

It should be used to enhance the storytelling process. An invisible aid. Not a shortcut for some cheap thrills.
That is just lazy, uncreative film making.

Cheers.




 

Will Smith saves the World from bad CGI. Will Smith saves the World from bad CGI. Will Smith saves the World from bad CGI.

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October 24, 2010
"Will Smith saves the World from bad CGI." I thought he did that in Independence Day!
 
November 18, 2009
The film definitely had its positive points. Good review, but I thought it deserved more than two stars. You must see Omega Man and Last Man on Earth as well to get the full effect. I have read the book (oh horrors) and frankly I did not like how the book ended -- I like Price's version of the end better, really. I love anything Richard Matheson anyway. The new film The Box is based on his very short story, Button, Button... The film dropped down the top box office list pretty fast, which worries me.
 
November 18, 2009
THE OMEGA MAN was actually a very inferior remake of THE LAST MAN ON EARTH which was an adaptation of Richard Matheson's novella "I Am Legend". LAST MAN which starred Vincent Price was the most faithful to the book but it changed the ending, as has every subsequent version since it's very unstaisfying cinematically. I agree totally with your opinion of this version. Smith is the only thing worth watching. The CGI when it's used to portray the decaying city is terrific, but when it comes to the monsters it becomes boring because they look just like every other CGI monster. The plot holes in the script are so massive you could sail a battleship through them. If you haven't see LAST MAN ON EARTH I'd recommend it to you, if you can tolerate black and white flix from the early 60s and Price's sometime's hammy acting style. It's one of my favorite films.
 
November 18, 2009
I agree with your take on the CGI vampires. It is ironic that the special effects of showing a desserted Manhattan overgrown with weeds was so visually and audibly stunning.
 
1
More I Am Legend reviews
review by . October 25, 2010
Not Quite Legendary But A Good Re-Imagining of The Concept....
I AM LEGEND is a post-apocalyptic disaster film that is another attempt at adaptation of Richard Matheson's novel back in the early `50's. The first adaptation being "The Last Man on Earth" (1964) with Vincent Price and the cheesy but entertaining "Omega Men" (1971) with Charlton Heston. Being a remake, "I am Legend" leaves a lot to be desired with the unpredictability factor. However, with the current evolution in CGI effects, expectations would be …
review by . November 17, 2010
In just a couple of years, cancer will be cured via a mutated version of the measles virus...reprogrammed to destroy cancer. Yet just three years after that, mankind will be all but extinct, as the virus has mutated yet again to where it either kills the person carrying it or turns that person into a type of light-fearing zombie set on eating living flesh of any kind. In Manhattan, the lone "normal" survivor is Dr. Robert Neville, who coincidentally was the military scientist who was madly …
review by . May 13, 2008
I wasn't sure what to expect going into "I Am Legend", but I can say that I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would.  It's almost like it is two movies -- Act I is "Last Man on Earth", Act II is the "horror" part.  Without going into details, the movie really pulls you in and forces you to imagine how YOU would handle being without any other human contact.  Despite the horror movie label, Will Smith does an excellent job of acting without the support of other actors to interact with.  I …
Quick Tip by . October 01, 2010
I couldn't imagine how they'd make a movie of this. Really loved the book. Really didn't think it could be done. But it's good. Changes things, but it works.
review by . July 21, 2010
I think Will Smit did a great job playing this character. Being isolated and having to quote himself from Shrek to learn how to communicate with real peopl instead of mannequins!   The only downside to this movie that I can think of is the orribly unrealistic animlas. They just look so fake and it gets annnoying watching the movie and then seeing that they are obviously not real or look remotely real. But anyways, overall, looking past the special animals and people, the movie was good. …
Quick Tip by . July 27, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
i was so sad about the dog! another movie to prove will smith's acting skills. hes alone in the majority of the scenes and hes still great!
Quick Tip by . June 17, 2010
Decent movie, didn't follow the book though
review by . July 15, 2009
I Am Legend is a famous book by Richard Matheson.  The book has been adapted a couple of times.  The version starring Will Smith is the most recent.  However, I still have a love of the one starring Vincent Price (although that movie was called "The Last Man on Earth").  The version starring Will Smith is actually the first adaptation to actually use the name of Matheson's book.  Will Smith gives a good performance, although there are some things that can …
review by . December 15, 2009
I love zombies and I love Will Smith. That said, this was still a top of the line zombie movie (which isn't easy!), and Smith was at his best. I cry every time I watch this (when he parts with his family and the dog scene). The special effects are top notch and the story is good, gripping, depressing and hopeful. A must see for everyone! Even those who don't love zombies or Will Smith! But really, how can you not?
Quick Tip by . November 16, 2009
Could have been great. Too bad it feels like you are watching a cut scene from a video game
About the reviewer

Ranked #237
I'm a bit of a movie buff. Ok, understatement. I LOVE movies. Will sit through just about everything. Classics, horror, comedy, action, drama, chick flicks (to a degree). If it's filmed, I'll watch it.   … more
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In I AM LEGEND, Will Smith joins the ranks of Vincent Price (in 1964's THE LAST MAN ON EARTH) and Charlton Heston (in 1971's OMEGA MAN) as the star of an adaptation of Richard Matheson's 1954 novel of the same name. Often surprising in its focus on loneliness and loss, this thoughtful, eerie, and restrained sci-fi horror film provides a parade of startling visuals, but never allows special effects to overcome the human element. Smith, in a strong performance very different from his usual persona, is Robert Neville, the lone survivor in a New York City where streets are overgrown and deer gambol among deserted automobiles. Following an epidemic, the Earth's population has been turned into an army of nocturnal zombies. Immune to the virus, military scientist Neville searches for a cure in his Washington Square townhouse. Haunted by visions of his family leaving quarantined Manhattan two years prior, he drives through the city with his German Shepherd, Sam, by day and barricades his home from the monsters nightly. But when Anna (Alice Braga)--another immune stranger-finds him, they will have to fight the onslaught twice as hard. Akiva Goldsman and Mark Protosevich's emotionally-charged script showcases the charisma of Smith, who commands the screen alone for most of the picture (aside Abbey, a talented German Shepherd). Director Francis Lawrence (CONSTANTINE) uses music minimally, wisely allowing the eerie cityscapes to remain mostly silent. The set pieces, ...
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