I'd like to take this opportunity to share with you all my thoughts on 'I am Legend', considering my strong thoughts on it, the fact that I haven't written a movie review blog for quite some time.....and because I have had a whole pot of coffee and feel rather fidgety. First, a disclaimer:
WARNING: WHAT FOLLOWS IS WHAT SOME IN THE BIZ CONSIDER A 'SPOILER', AND WILL MAKE YOU WHINE LIKE A FAT CHILD WHO CAN'T REACH HIS/HER BACON FLAVORED COOKIES IF IT IS THAT YOU HAVE YET TO HAVE SEEN IT OR HAVE HAD IT SPOILED FOR YOU ALREADY. THE FOLLOWING WORDS CONTAIN KEY PLOT POINTS FROM BOTH THE MOVIE AND THE BOOK, A FEW LITTLE RANTS AS SIDE POINTS, SOME INSIDE JOKES, AND A HALF AN HOURS PAUSE FOR MORE COFFEE AND THE BAKING OF MUFFINS. PROCEED WITH CAUTION.
Now that that's out of the way, let's begin. First, fuck this movie!! That's pretty much how I feel about it at this point. There are so many things wrong with it in my opinion that it's actually difficult to know where to start.
I'll start with the book. I am Legend is originally a story written by Richard Matheson, and has to be one of my all time favorite vampire imaginanings ever. (I know that's not really a word, don't start with me people!) That's the point, vampires! Not bald, rabid animal-like zombies that come out at night.....VAMPIRES! But we'll come back to this soon.
When I learned that this movie was going to be created, I was both all at once excited and apprehensive...for obvious reasons......the main being Hollywood's history with altering books into mere shadow's of themselves. Let me take this opportunity to reminisce a little. You see, I do remember a time actually not THAT many moons ago when books and movies were two separate things for me. Yes, I was one of those few youths who actually enjoyed reading, which was one of the many reasons that led to my getting my ass kicked on a rotating weekly to daily to back to weekly basis....among other things (insert faded Kodak photo of a child who didn't give two shits about sports, cars or masturbating in a circle about sports and cars). This is not to say that I didn't enjoy movies as well, but growing up when I did, there seemed to remain a difference between the two mediums. I got a lot more out of books while movies were quick and entertaining escapes from reality that held little more substance than pudding on a string.....I have no idea what that means either, but I warned you about my current coffee intake. It's also not that I'm saying that Hollywood hasn't had it's share of hits and surprises, but for the most part, no one can argue that Hollywood doesn't have it's formulas that it beats into the ground like the Hulk playing Whack a Mole at a carnival after snorting a line of cocaine the size of a train. But, somewhere along the way Hollywood realized that they were producing carbon copies of visual shit and decided to take it upon themselves to turn everything around them into shit as well....enter the "adapted for film" craze that we seem to be drowning in, and that has it's tentacles grappling for books, comics, video games, previously made movies, cartoons, overheard conversations at Free Clinics and sandwich crumbs. There was a point in time when I would hear of a movie to be released, adapted from whatever, and I would think "Wow! They're really going to make THAT into a movie?!" Unfortunately that has been replaced by the new thought of "Please let them NEVER make a movie out of this!!" Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised to see a trailer for "the Chronicles of Twinkie the Kid" at this point.....so, now, I'm sure you can understand my mixed feelings upon learning of I Am Legend. My brother, his fiance' Corrine and I went to see this film a week or two ago, fully aware of this fact. I was willing to overlook the simple things: Will Smith as Robert Neville, the story taking place in New York rather than California and the like. But I was NOT willing to overlook the main points of the story being changed or just omitted, especially the ending.
Let's return to the vampires, which is what the original story is all about. Somehow, they got left out of the movie, my guess is because undead zombies seem to be the hot item now, ie: Formula at work. Fine. They don't have to be vampires, but they could have still been left the ability to reason and speak, seeing how in the book they know where Neville lives and spend their nights calling to him and trying to coax him out. The movie the Omega Man seemed to at least keep this much of the story intact (yes, the Omega Man with Heston, for those who have not seen it, is a direct rip-off of the book, also omitting vampires).
Just on a side note....it's currently snowing here in Denver.....AND THUNDERING!! I wasn't even aware that that was possible!
Ok, fine. Not vampires, don't know where Neville lives and aren't actively trying to get at him. But Will Smith ISN'T also actively killing them during the day like Neville is in the book (another area where at least the Omega Man got right)! I knew there was a big fucking problem here while watching the film, seeing as it is a MAIN part of the book because it's what leads to the ending and the reason behind the title! This is where that spoiler kicks in: he dies at the end. Other than the title and Will Smith playing a character named Robert Neville, this is where the similarities end.
The book ends with the capture of Neville by what turns out to be a race of vampires who have maintained some level of humanity and started a new society. He is put into a cell because while he had spent his days hunting and killing vampires, he was inadvertently killing them as well. It is decided that he has to be executed, mostly out of fear over what he is, hence his final thoughts in the story about hunting the monsters only to find out that it is HE who is the monster....."I am legend".
The movie, on the other hand, ends with Neville taking his own life to save some ineffectual tart and her retarded boy or girl thing because he just so happened to, at the last second, stumbled upon the cure he's been working so hard for and they need to get it to a compound of other survivors with a narration saying "This is his Legend", also flavored with some completely random and out of place religious tones and a weak fucking attempt to be clever with a butterfly twist. Are you fucking kidding me? Just because your daughter or son thing mentioned a butterfly for one brief second in a flashback of events THREE YEARS EARLIER doesn't mean that when you see a tiny butterfly tattoo on the tart's neck while a butterfly image is being formed in the wall of safety glass a creature is currently trying to smash through, that I'm suddenly going to gasp and shit my pants at this. Frankly, it's insulting and M. Night Shyamalan would be rolling in his grave if he were dead.....which he should be.
And while I've worked myself into foaming at the mouth thinking of this complete waste of film, let's touch on some of the many minor, but albeit, just as annoying inferiorities:
At first glance, one might assume that a lot of money was spent on the CGI for this film....I thought so too, seeing as the backdrop of New York minus people for three years looks stunning, that is, until anything moves. Then I was forced into believing that the same team that did all of the Mummy and Scorpion King films were the ones behind this. The CGI in this film looks more like it was intended for a home video game, if the game were to come out five years ago. Seriously, I couldn't even be forced to believe that deer were running down the streets, let alone that these creatures existed!
And while we're on the subject of these "not quite vampire or zombie or whatever" things, am I really supposed to buy a cure for cancer gone rogue has transformed people into hairless, light-sensitive, crazed, base-animal instincts fueled by rage, who can dislocated their jaws every time they roar, jump over a story high to knock down lights, climb sheer fucking brick walls, tear into buildings, bend steel plating like foil, are impervious to any bodily harm unless coming from a bullet, can bust through a solid steel plated and bolted door like it was a marshmallow only to be stopped short by an airtight acrylic wall?!!
But let's go back a little.....why the fuck are they still wearing clothes?! They obviously have regressed to some rabid form in no need of them, seeing as how all of their clothes have weathered away into torn rags, that is, except for the parts that cover the naughty bits. Am I also to believe that these things can work belts and zippers? They must seeing as they haven't just torn off the last remnants of their clothes the first time they needed to take a shit!
And speaking of rags now, how is it that in a world slowly falling apart after people, with trees growing through abandoned cars and the like, that New York is filled with pristine American Flags gently blowing in the breeze (at one point, blowing the opposite direction than all the grass on the ground)?
Pretty much the only thing that is worth a shit about this excuse for a film is the performance by Will Smith, which was later ruined for me by this little tangent for you to digest with your string pudding....Will Smith now a fucking Scientologist?! What the....? I had just finally started warming up to him as an actor! I couldn't stand him on the screen at first due to the fact of his ability only to play one character that I hated, the Fresh Prince....only with movies allowing him to do so with a slight amount of profanity here and there minus the Fresh Prince Clown Pants.
I swear to god, scientologists are the new Jedi...of course without the cool sabers, seemingly undefined and varying powers of telekinesis, and Alec Guinness. No, I'm talking about the At One with the Universe bit while feeling smug and superior towards everyone else, and of course, the Jedi Mind Tricks....."These are not the droids you're looking for.....and you'll give us all your money, or we'll sue the shit out of you!" Or am I confusing Jedi with the Sith?
I mean, have you folks SEEN the footage of Cruise talking about what it is to be a Scientologist before the Church of Scientology pulled it from uTube?! Am I the only one who doesn't understand a word he is saying?! I imagine him giving the same spiel to Will Smith, and I can't for the life of me understand why Smith would go, "Yes. All this creepy in-my-face-babble makes perfect sense! You had me at the last forced, maniacal laughter outburst. Who should I make this check out to?" Cruise MUST drug the water, which would explain his converts as well as his marriages to straight women.
So, to sum it all up, the ONLY good point I could honestly make about this film is that they couldn't make a sequel.....but, as it turns out, I was wrong about that too. *sigh* I need to go punch babies now......