Thursday, February 25, 2010

I Am Legend

I Am Legend
based on the book by Richard Matheson

This Will Smith movie adaptation of the classic Richard Matheson novel can be viewed two ways -- First, as an adaptation of a well-known and respected work of genre fiction; and Second, as a standard Will Smith action/adventure film. As an adaptation of the original story, this film fails more than it succeeds. The depth of Matheson's story is never reached -- the complex relationship that Robert Neville has with the "monsters" that have taken over his world is never achieved in this film, and the shocking but thought-provoking ending to Neville's story is completely eliminated from this film. At the same time, as Will Smith films go, this film has a lot of action, some very emotional bits, and an intriguing storyline. Smith's performance here is excellent -- much better than his standard action hero roles. And the production design is fabulous -- although the novel is set in L.A., the movie is set in New York City, and the movie-makers do a remarkable job of creating an abandoned metropolis. All in all, even though I could appreciate the film as it was made, I was frustrated that they couldn't do a more faithful adaptation of the novel, and I have to downgrade this film in that regard. Note -- take a look at the Alternate Ending available on disc 2 -- though still not as strong a finish as the novel, it would have given this film a little more depth. [If you enjoy this, you should definitely read the original novel, and then try out the other loose adaptations -- The Last Man on Earth (1964 - starring Vincent Price) and The Omega Man (1971 - starring Charlton Heston).] -- recommended by Scott C. - Bennett Martin Public Library

[Also available in print format.]

[ Internet Movie Database entry for this film ] | [ official I Am Legend web site ]

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