Sunday, December 16, 2007
Movie Reviews: I AM LEGEND
I AM LEGEND
Based on the classic horror novel by Richard Matheson, Robert Neville (Will Smith) is the last human being on Earth. Everybody else on the planet has been transformed into blood-sucking vampires who all want to feast on Neville's neck.
Cast Will Smith, Alice Braga, Dash Mihok, Salli Richardson, Willow Smith, Charlie Tahan
Director(s) Francis Lawrence
Writer(s) Mark Protosevich, Akiva Goldsman
Status In theaters (wide)
Release Date Dec. 14, 2007
Running Time 100 minutes
MPAA Rating PG-13 - for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence
I am Legend is a solid if flawed apocalyptic film. Suspenseful yet thoughtful, director Francis Lawrence moves his film along at a brisk pace, never letting you wallow too long in any particular scene or moment. Lawrence shoots the film wonderfully giving it a very elegant if horrific feel, particularly the scenes occurring at dusk. The film is at its best in the two thirds where Smith is allowed to shine in this Castaway like setting in a deserted urban landscape. Will Smith time on screen alone is done wonderfully and he conveys a perfect sense of loss and fading sanity, missing is his usual bravado, replaced with a dogged sense of determination. Seeing Smith move through New York's once bustling street which have now been long deserted makes an impact and gives the film a unnervingly eerie feel. The last third of the film however is where this film falters. It shifts tonally from Castaway to 28 Days Later with a sprinkle of Signs. The ending comes off as a cop out and really undercuts the films established thematic structure. While the story falters near the end, it not nearly as bad the distractingly bad CGI on display here, it's probably the most horrific thing in the film. For a big budget film with a big name star, it's truly mind boggling that creature effects can be done this poorly. Typically, it's nothing I harp on too much but here it's so bad that it's distracting. It drains a lot of the film's potential for terror when the CGI monsters look like something out of a videogame, a cheap one at that. As a whole this film doesn't quite hit the mark like other recent contagion doomsday films but Smith elevates his game and when he's alone on screen and you see his eyes convey his characters fence sitting sanity, it's almost worth the price of admission.