I am Legend Review

I went and saw “I am Legend” last night with the wife and Token Liberal Friend. I had heard a lot of things about this movie, from “it sucked” to “it was the best zombie/vampire movie EVAR”; plus I am a huge fan of the original book and Will Smith so I figured “what the hell”.

A little backstory first: this is the 3rd attempt to adapt the novel I am Legend into a movie. To be candid, the first two attempts sucked. “The Last Man on Earth” and “The Omega Man” were perfect examples of Hollywood past taking a good story and raping it to death and then defecating on the corpse.

The new adaption does depart from the book in some areas. That being said, I enjoyed the movie. I felt like it was well acted and well constructed, despite the departures from the original story. In that regard, it’s sort of like the Last of of the Mohicans movie. It departs from the book, but stands well as an individual narrative. I think too many people (myself included) sometimes get too hung up on movie adaptations of books, because we’re expecting them to be 100% faithful to the source material. I am Legend was no 100% faithful to the source material, but it was faithful (I felt) to the spirit of the original story; in that it focused on the isolation and hopelessness that the main character feels.

Now to the gunnie stuff – throughout the movie, Will Smith’s character uses three different firearms; a full auto M4 Carbine with all the cool tacticool gadgets, an H&K USP (for the fanboys I guess), and an M9 Beretta. The M4 and the Beretta make perfect sense, as his character is supposed to be a military officer, and these would be weapons platforms with which he’s familiar.

The movie was fun from a survivalist point of view. From the way Will Smith tried to preserve a sense of normal relations in his life, to how he talked to his dog, and the way his survival provisions were organized did a good job of showing the stress of being literally all alone for years. Of those, his relationship with the other main character of the film (his dog) is the most poignant. The character’s concern and love for the dog did an apt job of driving home the point that humans are tremendously social creatures, and in the absence of other humans with which to socialize, we’ll mentally “humanize” other living creatures to keep from going insane.

I enjoyed I am Legend; I think it stands well on it’s own legs, despite it’s departures from the novels. If you want to go see a good survivalist/zombie flick, it’s worth your dollar.  Just to give you an idea of how excited I was to see this movie – I skipped the 49ers game that was on TV last night to see it.  The NEVER show Niners games in the midwest.  And they won as well!


  1. Yeah, I thought it was awesome too! Yeah it lacked in some areas, but I enjoyed that they didn’t follow the book as much. I think the book was way too depressing and I’m a sucker for the happy endings too, so this film was all that. I think if I hadn’t see this I Am Legend Fan Lens before I saw the movie I would have expected it to be more like the book with vampires, but was delighted that it was more of a zombie pick than a vampire pick. Vampire picks are getting old.

  2. Having read the plot summary on Wikipedia, I really only have one beef with the film. I don’t understand why they used the title from the book, when they removed the whole point of that title. The whole point of that title was that, before the events of the book, vampires were considered to be nothing more than myth and legend. But, by the end of the book, Robert Neville realizes that now he is the one the will be the subject of scary stories, and considered nothing more than a legend.

  3. Don’t trust wikipedia’s plot summary. While they changed the “legend” element of it; they did preserve it in a manner of speaking.

  4. Matheson wrote for Combat, Wanted Dead or Alive, Have Gun Will Travel, you name it back then he was getting lots of gigs as the guy can do everything. The original IAL was one helluva take on an old genre but since 1964 far too many modernistic vamp flicks have taken the edge off of the premise. Not being a Will Smith fan I won’t see the movie, or lets say I won’t let the family know. Residents of the NYC neighborhoods they filmed in, including heaps of cousins and a brother or two, were less than pleased with how their lives were turned upside down and promised to actually picket the movie when it came out in the Apple. We’ll see.

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