I Am Legend is a remake of a remake. In 1964, Vincent Price
starred in The
Last Man on Earth, a sometimes creepy, but mostly unintentionally
funny, story of a man's struggle to stay alive as he fought off hordes
in a city. In 1971, Charlton Heston took on the role of The Omega Man,
which featured the same story with the vampires being replaced with "The
Family," an anti-technology cult.
Am Legend (2007)
Starring: Will Smith, Alice Braga, and Dash
time out, Will Smith takes on the role of Robert Neville, an Army scientist
working to find a cure for a virus that has changed the population of
the Earth into mindless, frenzied zombies. The virus emerged from a genetically
created cancer cure that was allowed to be injected into millions of
people before the full effects were known. Somehow, Neville's blood is
blood borne virus strains and he diligently works on a cure even as he
believes himself to be the last man in the world.
zombie-like adversaries are only a threat at night. Daylight burns their
skin so, during the day, Neville travels through the city hunting down
"hives" and destroying them. Unlike the slow-moving, zombie/vampires
of the original film (and novel), these creatures are capable of incredible
speed and strength. In great numbers, they are virtually impossible to
stop, so Neville wisely avoids letting them know where he lives.
keep himself from going completely insane, Neville tries to have as much
of a "normal" life as is possible as the only human in a city
the size of New York. He plants a garden in Central Park. He travels
to the local
DVD store and picks up movies to watch. Neville has placed mannequins
around town so that he can mimic conversations with other people. However,
after being alone for three years, his sanity is starting to erode.
Smith gives a top-notch performance as Neville. The script -- penned
by Mark Protosevich and Akiva Goldsman -- gives Smith plenty of opportunities
to shine. However, the real star of I Am Legend is tension.
Nearly every scene has the potential to explode into chaos. Director
Francis Lawrence ratchets up the suspense so much that even the daylight
scenes are ripe with dread. A particular highlight is a chase that leads
directly into a hive of the creatures as they sleep.
biggest disappointment of I Am Legend is the somewhat shoddy
special effects work. After an amazing opening scene showing New York
the remaining effects shots scream to be recognized as CGI rather than
being realistic. The film works so hard at creating a believable post-apocalyptic
world -- and succeeds -- until the spotty computer graphics shatter the
that's just as well. In a world where cloning and genetically
altered food is reality, the premise of a
genetically created virus wiping out humanity is
scenes at the Brooklyn Bridge involved over 1000 extras and various military
vehicles and aircraft. (Source: The
Internet Movie Database)