Review: I am Legend

16 December, 2007





When I saw the promos for this movie for the first time, a few months back, my first reaction was, “wow! They actually made a movie based on Y, the last man!” Y being an ongoing series by Wyndham Price, which tells the story of a guy named Y who is apparently the last surviving man on earth, since some virus wiped out all men. And now he is the single guy left, amongst a few billion women. Great concept that, and I would have loved to see this on screen. But all my hopes vanished, when I read about the pre-release. So I was bracing myself for yet another zombie movie, which is exactly what this is.

The movie tells the story of a military scientist, who is supposed to be the last surviving human being on earth (also the only hope, AND immune to this deadly virus,) since some anti-cancer virus went rogue, and wiped out all humans, leaving a few million light-weight zombies, animals, and birds. So our military boy has stacked tons of food, and lots of guns, and ammo for survival. He steps out at the first ray of light (since like all zombies, the zombies in this movie are sensitive to sunlight), forages for food, supplies and stuff, sends a daily message about him being the only survivor and whoever is listening can come and have a party with him and so on, and goes back home before sunset, and barricades his doors and sleeps inside a bathtub with his finger on the gun trigger. He is accompanied by his Alsatian dog, which is pretty much devoted to him.

The first half of the movie is more or less interesting, with long shots of the New York city and the Times Square being empty and littered with cars, with not a soul to be seen, except some antelopes running amok, and the scientist trying to take potshots at them. The shots are nice, but not breathtaking, since it has been done in many more movies, like 28 Days Later from the brilliant film maker Danny Boyle (Trainspotting too), so it adds nothing new but maybe a bit more polished look. Boyle’s movie was on a much lesser budget, so it didn’t have the frills, but it had that feel of a hand held camera in dark corners, which gives me the chills.

After the first half, the movie goes downhill, as predicted. Since the man has a faithful and loving companion, it has to die. So, the dog dies horribly (being attacked by the zombie dogs, and becoming a zombie herself). Smith is heartbroken and wants to kill himself, and is about to do the same, but is saved by another survivor at the last moment. After that, all I did was groan.

Smith is a fine actor, no doubt, but I prefer him in funny roles. I am really tired of that Oh-I-am-stuck-and-what-am-I-gonna-do-now-frown, which he does so very often. I mean, he kept that face on in Pursuit of Happyness, but since it WAS a sob story, I didn’t mind that at all. Also, the director screrwed up by showing weightless, agile zombies, who are almost superhuman, but are killed instantly when out in the sun. They also do grouping, have a leader, and can plot. I like my zombies to be slow and stupid, and easy to kill.

Still, its not too bad, if you are looking for some mindless entertainment. But I will still recommend movies like 28 days later, and Shawn of the Dead, the latter being a complete spoof on all zombie movies put together – absolutely brilliant, and not to be missed. And now I will go, boot up my copy of The Dead Zone, and do some mindless zombie killing – often with a chainsaw.

‘nuff said.




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