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!