Sunday, March 31, 2013

I Am Legend

Directed by: Francis Lawrence

Release Date: 2007

As one of the many monster/virus pictures that have been released in the past twenty years, this movie provided a fantastic account of the psychological perspective within an apocalyptic future and didn't focus so much on the transformation of the creatures for cinematic effect so much as there was more focus on the story which was refreshing and welcomed.
Will Smith blew me away in this picture about a virus gone wrong. A few thoughts ran through my mind while watching:
1. Will Smith's onscreen presence is intoxicating, I can't ever get enough.
2. If this incarnation based on the novel by Richard Matheson is great, I can only imagine how fantastic the story will be when I read it.
3. What sections of NYC were CGI and which were real?

I Am Legend is the fourth incarnation of the novel with the same name written by Richard Matheson. Although there were many changes in this film version, this story's incarnation was dynamic.

Robert Neville is one of the last human beings on the planet who is immune to the virus that killed the human species. He lives across from Washington Square Park in New York City, roams the city with his dog, Sam, scavenges food from empty apartments, and exercises daily to make sure he can outrun the Darkseekers (the mutated vampires) who live in darkness. Every night, he boards up his windows to make sure they don't come in. After a run-in with this one particular Darkseeker, shit goes down. He meets Ruth, someone who is also immune to this disease, and his circumstances change.

I don't want to ruin the picture for anyone who has yet to see it so I'll leave the synopsis there. The third act was jarring because I was attached to seeing Smith talk to himself, to mannequins in an abandoned video store (Yowza! There aren't many left in NYC now!), and of course, Sam. There was so much focus on Robert, the person trying to live in this new world and create a cure to his virus in his own lab, that the extra cast threw me out of the movie. Since it was the third act, I allowed it and was pulled in once again.

There was never a dull moment with each scene, whether it was quiet (like the first opening sequence which barely had any dialogue) or with Darkseekers chasing Robert. This picture was the perfect blend of story and action; a feat not many directors and producers can achieve.

I give mad props to Francis Lawrence who was able to create a cinematic delight with one actor to sell the idea. I was most impressed considering the last picture (and first) was forgettable but a vision to admire (Constantine). I'm not the kind of viewer that likes being duped by hack directors (i.e. M. Night Shyamalan) so I was glad there was no disappointment in viewing I Am Legend.

With that said, bring on the next horror type picture, Francis, because I'm paying attention now!