Reviews

I Am Legend

3

So, is it third time lucky for Richard Matheson’s acclaimed 1954 novel? Anyone who’s read I Am Legend will already know that cinema has not been kind to his masterwork. Vincent Price hammed it up in 1964’s The Last Man On Earth, while Chuck Heston was watchable in 1971’s The Omega Man. Yet neither flick managed to capture the novel’s finely tuned suspense, or its depiction of one man’s psychological nightmare after a virus has turned the world’s population into vampires. Alas, Francis Lawrence’s (Constantine) version is little improvement.

To its credit, it does at least try. The superior first half sees Will Smith give a convincing, angsty performance as Robert Neville, a scientist trying to find a cure for the hordes of Infected swarming the Earth. His only companions are a gaggle of mannequins and a dog, who not only gives the Fresh Prince someone to talk to, but also helps him hunt the iffy CGI deer now roaming the deserted streets of Manhattan.

As Neville goes about the day-to-day business of survival in this new New York, Andrew (Lord Of The Rings) Lesnie’s dazzling cinematography overshadows his every move. Bathed in a champagne glow, the Big Apple has rarely looked more eerily beautiful. While many of the effects are achieved through CGI, real location filming in sealed-off sections of New York lend the film a believable air.

 

Sadly, this only lasts until we catch our first glimpses of the Infected. Moving with that daft super-speed that can only come from a hard drive and about as scary as a pack of boy scouts after too many M&Ms, the virus-carrying creatures are nowhere near as threatening as they should be. They’re also unintentionally amusing, head-butting everything in sight like demented football hooligans. Factor in the syrupy moralising (via Bob Marley, of all things) of the film’s final scenes and I Am Legend emerges a valiant effort, annoyingly undermined by a misplaced faith in its computerised bad guys and a script that stutters halfway through. Read the book instead.

Verdict:

Though it fails to do justice to Matheson's novel, /I Am Legend/ isn't without merit, particularly in its stately, moody build-up. Unfortunately, the final act squanders the tension in favour of daft religious symbolism and silly CG zombies. Shame.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • mallardb

      Dec 18th 2008, 15:19

      4

      Just don't watch the alternate ending

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    • avfc4eva

      Feb 15th 2009, 17:33

      4

      Zombies were rubbish, but a very entertaining a film. Will Smith is excellent as always.

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    • bassthing

      Jun 7th 2009, 10:41

      5

      An interesting updating of the original novel. Will Smith shows that he can actually act. Sometimes when I make that statement people give a quizickle look, but, remember that most of the film is Smith acting on his own with a dog, and he holds the audiences interest. One of the few films that brings a tear to my eye during one certain scene. However, what the hell is up with the new ending? It sucks,and also makes the film title itself nonsensical.

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    • jimmy101

      Jun 8th 2009, 15:03

      5

      it is well good, you people have no taste in films! all of it was great.

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    • Sheeelashela

      Feb 18th 2011, 8:38

      3

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    • Lamhan0022

      Mar 10th 2011, 17:50

      4

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    • sineadshahrzad

      Jun 20th 2013, 17:51

      4

      I actually really enjoyed this film and it's enviroment. Will Smith was a really interesting choice, but great nonetheless!

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