Movie Review: I Am Legend (2007)

The Hollywood remake. Love ’em or hate ’em, they’re a steady part of our cinema diet. I Am Legend proves once again that Hollywood believes the easiest path to success is to either: make a sequel or take a movie from years past and dress it up with an updated storyline and fresh graphics. Sometimes it fails (see The Invasion) and sometimes, like in this case, it mostly works.

Let’s get the trivialities out of the way first. I Am Legend is a renewed version of The Omega Man, which itself may or may not be a dressed up version of The Last Man on Earth. It tells the tale of Robert Neville (Will Smith), a man who believes he is the last person on earth after a viral outbreak infected and transformed the populace into super zombie-like creatures. He whiles his days away searching through buildings to pass the time and to locate materials to aid in his survival. His nights are spent locked behind steel barricaded doors and windows – the infected roam the streets at night looking for sustenance.

And while you and I would do the sensible thing and try like hell to reach the rumored survivor outposts, Robert stays put even after learning he is in fact not the last of the race. What keeps him in New York City instead of seeking refuge? Pride. I Am Legend turns out to be a single mans obsession with clearing his demons. He feels compelled to find a cure for the virus – the burden he feels is his alone to carry. Perhaps I missed it but I’m not sure why he feels so adamantly about it (for 90% of the movie he thinks he is the last living human, who is the vaccine for?). What I do know is, from a casting perspective, big Willie would seem like the perfect fit. He’s got himself an ego that a super-carrier like the USS Nimitz would have trouble carrying. He does do an admirable job mixing in his style with the seriousness of the situation, but a Tom Hanks he is not (i.e., Cast Away).

At issue for me mostly was I expected much more action and less down-time. That may be my own fault since I based my expectations on the multitude of commercials I had been seeing for the past few months. Once again marketers sold me one product and delivered something altogether different. When the action did come into play, every attempt was made to heighten the moment – multiple camera angles, darkened settings and deafening silence – all unfortunately with little effect. I actually found it comical in a strange way.

The reason for that, I believe, is because the infected reminded me of some unknown, obscure Looney Tunes characters – they leapt and bounded like gazelles and bellowed like howler monkeys. They looked liked the robots from I, Robot only with flesh on their metallic structures. Realism was what was needed, not an exercise in computer generated imagery (CGI). Something akin to what was done in 28 Weeks Later would have sufficed nicely.

All of this doesn’t make a terribly bad movie though. The thought of existing without any interaction combined with thinking that I was literally the last human on earth is something I would hate to try and comprehend. It is very scary concept, and one we’re closer to experiencing everyday. Yes, I Am Legend could have been better, but beggars can’t be choosers – it is, without a doubt, the best movie in the theaters at this very moment.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
3 Star Rating: Average


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The Critical Movie Critics

I'm an old, miserable fart set in his ways. Some of the things that bring a smile to my face are (in no particular order): Teenage back acne, the rain on my face, long walks on the beach and redneck women named Francis. Oh yeah, I like to watch and criticize movies.

'Movie Review: I Am Legend (2007)' have 16 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    December 22, 2007 @ 12:57 am Liz

    The first few trailers of this movie didn’t give much indication as to what it was actually about, so I wasn’t sure what to expect until reviews started coming out. It sounds about how I expected – the “last man on [whatever]” theme is played out by now. I don’t think this will perform terribly well against heavily anticipated movies like Sweeney Todd.

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    December 22, 2007 @ 10:43 am Gearhead

    I love “the last man left on earth” movies. The concept really fascinates me. I particularly love scenes to do with daily living as the only person in a big city. I would prefer a movie all about how he finds food, electricity, fuel, and entertains himself, etc. You can keep all the zombie like creatures. I want to see a film like “Castaway”, but in a last man on earth setting. I suppose something like that wouldn’t get enough teens in the theaters :(

    This film gave me a big enough fix of what I like in these movies, and I didn’t get bored during the zombie-like action scenes. So, I guess all in all it was a solid movie.

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    December 22, 2007 @ 10:59 pm General Disdain

    …I don’t think this will perform terribly well against heavily anticipated movies like Sweeney Todd.

    I hear good things about Sweeney Todd but I think this movie will hold it’s own against it.

    I love “the last man left on earth” movies. The concept really fascinates me. I particularly love scenes to do with daily living as the only person in a big city. I would prefer a movie all about how he finds food, electricity, fuel, and entertains himself, etc.

    Creepy about covers it! Done properly, I suppose a movie about day-to-day life could be made intriguing. I’m not so sure if Will Smith could pull it off though . . .

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    December 24, 2007 @ 7:22 pm Greg

    I just saw this movie, and it was actually really good. Not even close to my favorite movie, but it was still very good. Nice review and site by the way ;)

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 4, 2008 @ 1:33 am nanga

    I don’t know why I expected more… But it is a reasonable movie.

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 8, 2008 @ 10:11 am Tracy

    I am still undecided as to whether I should see this movie or not. It looks good in the trailers, but if he is the last human what kind of story line can it really have? It reminds me of Dances With Wolves where there were a lot of scence with no lines just him messing around. I personally was bored with that movie, though I know it was a big success.
    Currently I will give I Am Legend future rental status, but not theatre worthy.

  7. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 9, 2008 @ 11:51 pm Patar

    I am trying to pick up on your point as well, WHY was he so adament about finding a cure?
    We have several clues.

    “THE Robert Neville?” – Anna
    “Robert Neville – Saviour?” – Time Magazine on his fridge
    “Dr Robert Neville has ordered all hospitals to stock anti-botics and…” – News Recording
    “We think if we find something in a week or two we can stop the spread” – Robert Neville.
    “…Can’t leave ground zero” – Robert Neville.

    Ground Zero, the original conditions present for viral infection. So it may have started (in America) where he lives. Coincidence?
    And of course, the fact that he is a titled doctor in the US army helps.

    All this appears to imply he worked with the original doctor (Criffin?) to cure cancer and was part of the virus release.
    But nothing concrete of course. Only speculation.

  8. The Critical Movie Critics

    January 16, 2008 @ 4:05 am Matt

    a while back i read the book, and was blown away by the realism and the progression of the charactor, and more than that – by the ending of the book (and the reason for the title).

    Watching the movie though, I found myself thinking “is this the right movie” because the only things tying the film to the book were the situation (barely), the name of the charactor, the dog (barely) and the title. This could have easily changed the title and charactor names and got away without any copyright infringements.

    in summary, its a decent film. but hollywood have sucked any of the striking originality out of the material provided by the book, much like the war of the worlds in fact.

    watch it by all means but expect “I am a survivor” not “I am Legend”

  9. The Critical Movie Critics

    February 20, 2008 @ 8:45 pm OverSite

    Your saying that I Am Legend could have been better bothers me. At least in my opinion, it was the movie of the year, and there was little that could be done to improve upon it. I Am Legend was another successful picture from Will Smith.

  10. The Critical Movie Critics

    February 23, 2008 @ 10:49 am matt

    any film could be better – but basing a movie on a book and then only paying some passing lip service to the actual material is not only insulting to the author, but also to the viewers – im guessing the hollywood execs could have made this film a subtle masterpiece like the book but thought that “the viewers” were too stupid to get it and only want explosions and monsters.

    you’ve proved them right : ) but i dont think its a bad movie in itself, but would have been much better for me (as i have read the book a few times) to have just changed the title and used differant charactor names, no-one would have expected more and no-one would have realised the similarity either. p.s read the running man (yes the arnie film) for another example

  11. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 26, 2008 @ 4:51 pm Top 10 Survival

    I think despite it’s flaws it was a great movie. I guess it really just depends on the audience.

  12. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 25, 2008 @ 10:53 pm Alan

    Will smith’s performance was great. The story sucked. This film gets voted great performance, most depressing, and worst story. The trailers oversold and overrated it.

  13. The Critical Movie Critics

    April 11, 2009 @ 3:52 pm Eddie

    Honestly speaking , I ‘m legend isn’t such an interesting movie, It didn’t inspire me as it is just like cartoon for me. Especially the entire special effects were so boring! The storyline reminds me of some bollywoods’ movies

  14. The Critical Movie Critics

    September 21, 2010 @ 3:10 am Freed

    The way you just wrote about this movie based on the trailer, was exactly right SZ. Also, I might add that this is extremely upsetting and not to be confused with entertainment. I was close to tears seeing this small bit. Especially Will with the dog. Maybe I am too sensitive but this was just devastating.

    I’ve said it before, but McCarthy’s The Road is evoked in this one. We aren’t very far away from this type of “reality”. I hope I am terribly off base here, and so very wrong. I hope someone who posts here will tell me how wrong this idea is.

  15. The Critical Movie Critics

    September 6, 2011 @ 7:44 pm Paul

    Did you see the other ending version of this movie? I would have preferred that he was alive and went to that solitary place for survivors, but well the ending is not that bad.

  16. The Critical Movie Critics

    October 25, 2011 @ 7:28 am Paul

    It would have been great if he survived, but guess we can’t always have a happy ending.

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