25 April 2012

I am legend review

I am legend is the third and most recent adaptation of the novel with the same name. Will Smith plays the lead here and this is in my opinion the movie that comes closest to being good. Again the main story is basically the same, but instead of a random epidemic or biological warfare the cause of the mutation eradicating mankind is a flawed cancer vaccine.

The city is excellently portrayed as abandoned, eerie and overgrown. Smith’s character, military scientist colonel Neville, is the only human left. His only company is the dog Samantha and various mannequins which he has placed in key areas of town that he frequently visits to have someone to talk to. I think that the character is also a lot better portrayed as haunted and tormented by the situation than in any of the two previous movies. He does not actively seek out the mutants to aimlessly kill them, nor do they know where he lives  as he makes sure to lock himself up all quiet with lights out during nights when the mutants come out to roam the streets.

It all looks and feels great and perfect atmosphere. Of course not even this movie is without flaws. With just a few quick glimpses of the mutants during the first 50 minutes of the movies running time you can see they don’t really look all that good, but it still works OK. However halfway into the movie when the mutants start to be a lot more active and linger on camera you realize they look like crap. Really bad CGI and their leader looks and howls a lot like Imhotep from the Mummy movies…

The movie is good up until Neville loses his dog and meets up with other humans who you can’t really relate to or care about. At this point the plot rapidly degenerates and culminates in another really bad ending. The ending in Last man on earth was bad because it felt rushed and thrown together, the ending in the Omega man was plain stupid. The ending in I am legend is really irritating because it is so obvious that it could have ended so much better for the main character but it's set up to become this unexplainable stupid decision. The ending actually doesn’t make any sense at all.

But the worst part were the ugly CGI mutants, compared to them at least the vampire/zombies from Last man on earth had a “Night of the living dead” low budget charm to them.
It really annoys me the way these movies turned out. Each had a very good concept and tried different approaches, but they pretty much turned out to be halfassed attempts all of them. This last one I think came the closest to actually be a good movie - and it pretty much is if you stop watching at the 50 minute mark. The rest sucks badly.

5.5/10

12 comments:

  1. Pretty much sums it up for me, I can't understand how these big budget movies can end up so bad, how can you put so much effort and money into the CGI and have it look so bad, they would have done better with some clever make up.

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  2. Yeah it was such a huge contrast between the great looking city and the awful looking mutants. Practical effects would have been a lot better, but then again they needed them climbing and jumping around like mad... Also I will never understand the reasoning for Neville's choice at the end of the movie.
    "You guys leave, and instead of me following you I will just stay here for no particular reason".

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  3. Totally agree, a great disappointment, is the book worth a read?

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    1. I'd say yes, but the style and background philosophy is a bit dated and it's hard going sometimes. Unless you're committed to reading it as a 'genre classic' I'd say give it a miss. Watch the Vincent Price flick and you've got the gist of it without the effort.

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  4. @Angry Lurker,
    Have not read it, but supposedly "Last man on earth" adaptation is very close to the novel in terms of content and portrayal of characters.

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  5. Reason why the monsters sucked was they spent all their $ on Will Smith and the sets, then got to the makeup department and handed them a gift card to the local dollar store.

    At least it made sense why he stayed at his home with the lab and such....still, I think I would have left the city personally and moved out into the wilds. It could not be worse and he could get some sleep, I would go mad not being able to sleep much.

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  6. The ending was changed to make it, you know, happier. The original ending is also available out there. I loved the first half of the movie, but man, it went downhill so fast and so hard.

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  7. I still don't understand why Neville couldn't get out the same way as the others. It's not as if there wasn't enough time? I saw the “less happy” ending.
    I read about the alternative ending, it doesn't sound much better even though it is "happier". Still the original ending was weird. Neville's death in the previous movies as odd as they were could not directly have been prevented. In this movie he just gives up.

    Not a deal breaker since the movie turns out bad for many other reasons, but still...

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  8. I agree with the review in general. Still liked the move, but it might have been that this was the first movie my better half and me watched at my place. The sound effects really live up with 900 Watts of THX blasting you... something she never expected! :-D

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  9. I was hugely dissapointed with this movie, especially as the book is absolutely great. Pretty bleak. But great.

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  10. Can't argue with that review at all. I was disappointed in it too. They could have done so much with it and I thought they had at first.

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  11. i liked the book but the movie sucked big time. as a huge fan of post-apocalyptic stories i enjoyed the beginning of the movie but the vampires are just plain silly.

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