Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I am Legend (2007)

When I first heard that they were going to try do Richard Matheson's story "I am Legend" I thought sure why not. When I heard Arnold Schwarzenegger was considered for the lead role I just shook my head, and said "they still don't get it". That was before the Terminator became the Governor of California. It's been that long since I've heard rumors about this film, and now it's out starring Will Smith as our lead. My interest began to rise at hearing and seeing some of the clips from the film.

I can say that by far Will Smith is one of the best actors of our era. It's been a long road for Mr. Smith. I mean seriously did you ever think that the "Fresh Prince" would become an Oscar worthy actor? Beat you didn't, but he has, and it is Will Smith who carries this film. That and his faithful German Shepard companion. The movie doesn't follow Mathesons classic, but it does have a lot of updating, and it sticks to the stories premise about a virus that has broken out, and most of the Earth's population is dead. I'm not going to call this a bad adaptation because it does work. Francis Lawrence is the director, and his vision of a NYC that is desolate and dead is in some way quite beautiful. The cinematography by Andrew Lesnie and the production design by David Lazan and Naomi Shohan is astounding.

There are some really good sequences too in the film, and Smith does a really good job at making us believe that he is a man on the verge of insanity. The scenes with his family and even his German Shepard companion are touching, and believable. Smith's Robert Neville is someone we care about, and want to see. Even though Neville is a man who is slowly loosing his mind we really do care for him.

I've read reviews that the third act is the weakest, but I beg to differ. I was thinking it was going to be a chase and rescue the damsel in distress movie, but it wasn't. No it's NOT faithful to the novel, but the filmmakers twist the "I am Legend" ending to a more hopeful one. Maybe it's just to make you feel good, but it worked for me.

As for weak effects I may have had less CGI of the "infected", but that's a nit pick. I thought Smith's performance was on the mark, and he made me want to follow Neville's character.

With an BIG opening of over $76 million I think the public has spoken, and voted with their pocket books. I'm interested to see if the movie has any legs, and if it will it be around in a month or two. I have my doubts. Since Warner Brothers decided to release this during the Christmas holidays it may just get buried by other pictures that will open on Christmas day. I do believe that the film will hit $100 million soon, and Warner Brothers will be laughing all the way to the bank.

Along with the movie a computer game is also being released, and marketed. I'm sure that will bring in the demographics that Warners is seeking. All in all the movie is a good film about loneliness, and guilt. Will Smith does a great job in it, and I would love to see his acting get recognized sometime next year. Will Smith makes this movie, and that's no hype.

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