In 1954 i am legend was published. A novel by Richard Matheson, who is also responsible for other novels made movies, about the last man alive on earth. For example, duel (1971), the Steven Spielberg’s movie about a trucker chasing an incredulous car driver on a remote and lonely road is actually based on one of Matheson’s short stories. i am legend allowed Matheson to mix horror and science fiction, and to set a scientific explanation for vampirism. The effects of the novel in filmmakers like George A. Romero, one of the precursors of the zombie genre, are obvious when going over the filmography of the latter.
i am legend is the third adaptation of the novel of the same title. Nevertheless, the two previous adaptations did not share the title with the novel. These are the last man on earth (1964) with immortal Vincent Price and the omega man (1971) with overrated Charlton Heston. The former being a more faithful adaptation, the latter probably being a better movie. But we are here today to talk about the unnecessary third adaptation of a novel that was written when authors would have never expected to see their work on the big screen. Three because I am not counting uncredited adaptations like i am omega (2007), probably the worst movie ever, or, if I am picky, 28 days later (2002).
The movie starts with an empty Manhattan. A virus, which was created to cure cancer three years ago, worked at curing it but killed almost everyone, leaving behind virologist Robert Neville (Will Smith), his dog, and an indefinite number of zombies. But not the ones we are used to, these when dark behave like unstoppable animals with rabies seeking blood. Thus, Neville spends his days listening to Bob Marley, watching shrek (2000), and trying to find a cure for the virus, and his nights hiding.
I have to say that I had low expectations when got into the theater right after watching a little jewel called juno (2007), and that helped me enjoy the scarce one hundred minutes i am legend lasts. That, Smith’s solid performance, an impressive empty Manhattan, the German shepherd Samantha, and Bob Marley. All of them ingredients that Francis Lawrence handles well during the first hour of the film. Once Neville falls in his own trap (I do really want to think that is the case, even though it makes little sense being Neville so meticulous) and the computer generated zombies become the main protagonist, Lawrence, whose only movie until now was constantine (2005), loses his way and leave us with the feeling that he was in a rush for closing up.
In summary, if you want to talk about a movie about the last man alive on earth and can handle the exaggerate mannerisms of Charlton Heston go rent the omega man, if you want to have a (just) good time and like Bob Marley go see i am legend with as low expectations as you can.
For the deadhours of those who feel lonely.
official site | imdb