I will publish a complete review of I Am Legend soon, but after seeing it tonight I felt it was necessary to offer up a quick article after my piece earlier about Richard Matheson’s book in comparison to what I was seeing in the trailers and expecting from the Akiva Goldsman and Mark Protosevich script.
First off, my assumption was correct, this film only uses Matheson’s book as a framework, and like The Last Man on Earth and The Omega Man it should not have used I Am Legend as the title. This film is hardly Matheson’s short story. However, it isn’t all that bad.
The film goes down some very dark paths and there are some striking visuals. If you thought the moment in Vanilla Sky with Tom Cruise alone in Times Square was impressive just wait until you see several locales of New York City complete devoid of human life and ravaged by years without activity. For the production they even shut down six blocks of Fifth Avenue on a Monday morning… it takes balls to do something like that in NYC, but it was worth it.
However, I primarily want to clear something up for anyone that read my earlier piece. At the end of the article I quoted ComingSoon’s Ed Douglas saying that the ending “stays in line with Matheson’s novel”. This is not true. The ending doesn’t come close to mirroring Matheson’s novel, which ends in such a fashion that you only wish he had let his imagination go wild and tell you what happens next. Unfortunately I Am Legend‘s ending is not only different than Matheson’s it does take the opportunity to tell you what happens next and it leaves you a little sour, especially after the first half of this movie pretty much knocks it out of the park.
If you have read Matheson’s novel, just push what you know to the side and you should enjoy Legend, and while I did hear one woman yell to a friend as I left the theater, “You liked it? I didn’t like it at all!” I think most of you will enjoy it and based on the massive amount of people that showed up to fill the theater for my screening I expect this movie to make a killing at the box-office. Whether Will Smith is playing a down-on-his-luck intern or the last man on Earth it appears he has a massive following and I can’t quite blame ’em. I know I am glad I gave the film a chance despite my lack of confidence in what it was going to offer.