I Am Legend

by

Vaguely spoilerish in places

The opening scene of I Am Legend is brilliant, absolutely brilliant. In spooky American-TV-o’vision you get a faux news clip featuring an uncredited Emma Thompson as a scientist who claims to have cured cancer. She explains how she has evolved the idea of inoculation to use the ravaging effects of the cancer disease to her advantage, how she has reversed the traits of the virus and has created a seemingly foolproof counter to mankind’s greatest killer – and then the screen goes black. It’s an amazing opening. Chilling, dramatic and unnerving, it immediately presents you with a terrific sense of foreboding and despair as you know that this great leap forward can only end badly…

And it does, for when we fade back in we are in a desolate and empty New York City… Times Square has become abandoned and overgrown, the bright lights have faded and died, cars are let to rust and there is an eerie silence that is rarely heard in even the vow-silenced monestary. Something has gone quite horribly wrong. Like I say, it’s a brilliant opening.

Will Smith plays Will Smith. Well, he doesn’t. He plays Will Smith being somebody else with a different name, but he’s quite clearly Will Smith. There are moments when he tries really hard not to be Will Smith, and those moments are sometimes good, but even then you can’t help but think “wow, look how well Will Smith is pretending not to be Will Smith. That must mean he’s a really good actor.” Luckily I like Will Smith, so I enjoyed his pretending and thought it great that he was pretending so hard.

Where was I? Oh yes. So Will Smith is pretending to be a viral biologist army man, which is really useful as he was in charge of New York before everything went wrong AND is the only person in the world who is immune to the virus… think about that for a second! The only person in the world! And he is overwhelmingly qualified to sort it out! That is so lucky for Will Smith! You see, the virus killed most of the world and turned the rest into pigmented albino ‘dark seekers;’ a kind of litigation denying vampire that is medically explainable in it’s aversion to sunlight and while Will Smith has the rule of the roost in daylight, they control the night-time where they run amok and generally eat anything that moves.

So Will Smith is the last human being on Earth. All he once knew has gone and been replaced with CGI; there’s CGI animals, and CGI devastation, and CGI zombies, and CGI cars, and CGI spinning helicopters and CGI people and so much goddamned CGI (even his favourite movie – Shrek – is CGI) that you really begin to empathise with his characters solitude as it must be lonely living on a fucking greenscreen.

By day he hunts CGI deer, and by night he hides from CGI zombies in the bathroom, clinging to his beloved dog Sam (who, in a late developing twist you discover is really a Samantha and just about the biggest surprise in the film – after all, you couldn’t have Will Smith’s emotional support a male character – that’d be too gay).

After about 45 minutes of really hard pretending not to see the CGI, the zombies suddenly overcome all their previously attributed characteristics and start attacking Will Smith. This is ludicrous for several reasons; that they look like the hilariously bad CGI Scorpion King from The Mummy Returns and are totally unscary, that they make traps and cunning plans while supposedly feral and having lost “all traces of being human” and the audience was kind of digging the slow vibe and this has totally lost their attention. The zombies are the worst thing in this movie, a needless CGI interference that tears you out of whatever zen state you were in. These lithe, athletic, sprightly shadows are a laughable foe and totally undermine whatever serious levels of pretending the filmmakers were going for.

Will Smith fights CGI for a while longer, then his dog dies and a couple of Jesus freaks turn up and try to convince him of a settlement colony, then Will Smith denies God – which is like, a whole new level of pretending because to pretend to not believe in God is, like, an indication of HOW FAR his character has fallen… then another inexplicable plot points kicks in and the general murmuring that was in the cinema before becomes a chorus of “WHAT?” as the ending suddenly happens and there’s this overwhelming sense of disappointment.

As you check the credits, you see that Emma Thompson isn’t there. Then you realise that she knows, like you now do, that her part was the best bit and to be associated with any other part would be a discredit.

This film was first kicked into production in 1995. It has gone though numerous big name producers, writers, directors and stars – including Michael Bay, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ridley Scott and the Oscar winning Akiva Goldsman. After 12 years and that much talent this is the best they can come up with. I Am Legend? I Am Bollocks, more like.

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32 Responses to “I Am Legend”

  1. Swineshead Says:

    I’m refusing to watch this shit. I’ve read the book a few times, see? (it’s really short).

    I’m damned if I’m going to spoil the pleasure of recalling a smart genre novel that escapes its influences and becomes a great work just to watch William Smiths running about with a big gun, while shitting all over a classic text.

    Hollywood can GET FUCKED.

  2. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    That sounds great. I love stuff with guns in it. I watched Die Hard 4.0 the other day, and that was great too. I’ll definitely be watching this sucker.

    As for Swineshead’s miserable comments – balls to you! What do you know about films? All you watch is crappy 1980s zombie movies. Bloody idiot. DON’T LISTEN TO SWINESHEAD … DON’T LISTEN … HE STINKS.

  3. John Q Wagonwheel Says:

    I got dragged to it and was enjoying it in the sort of way where the volume was up loud and I’d had a lot of overpriced caffeinated drinks and watching it was better than sitting and jittering the pepsi away. I even thought it was ok and a fair enough h=Hollywood attempt at 28 days later (bizarrely shit CGI zombies/deer/cars notwithstanding) up until after he strangles his dog. Yep, spoiled that one. So anyway after that happens, Jesus-girl turns up with some little kid who didn’t say much and any sort of appeal that the film had is rapidly pissed away (like the pepsi after the film). Really goes to crap. The original ideas stop and it turns into a second-rate action film with a fairly generic love interest and lots of boring explosions (and if I’m to be a sad pedantic git that’s not what a grenade explosion looks like). Either that or the caffeine wore off and I came to my senses. Generally wrecked it for everyone. Shame. The title’s bollocks too. Either sounds like Tarzan on a bad-grammar day or just a poor use of abstracts. A better title would have been ‘Will Smith shoots some stuff in New York’. Yep.

  4. Swineshead Says:

    The title makes sense in the book, I’m gambling that the meaning’s removed for this cavalcade of puny bollocks. READ THE BOOK.

    And Napoleon’s lying. I watch zombie films from the 60s, 70s, 90s and noughties thankyou very much, and the odd bluey on occasion, if the missus is out with the girls.

  5. John Q Wagonwheel Says:

    Yet turn your nose up at 80s zombie films? Racist.

  6. Swineshead Says:

    No, I meant I watch those in addition to the aforementioned 80s zombie films.
    I also watch vampire films and frankinstein films. And werewolf ones and ones about killer viruses and ones about mental humans who kill other humans. And dogs and cats.

    Basically anything needlessly violent.

  7. Swineshead Says:

    Typo – I meant ‘frankingstein’, obviously.

  8. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    “Basically anything needlessly violent.”

    A downright lie. You don’t watch proper downright violent films, do you? Movies with Seagal snapping necks, or Van ‘I’ll Be’ Dammned tearin’ out windpipes. You wouldn’t know an action movie if it farted bullets up your nose (your big nose).

    Big nose.

  9. Swineshead Says:

    Big nose? Is that the best you can do? You’re an animal, sir. A tame, half dead rodent with cankers, if we’re being specific.

    Those action movies you mention don’t contain interesting violence. You don’t see people being maimed or massacred, all you see is the odd soldier keeling over undramatically and synthesised explosions. If that’s the sort of thing that makes you wince (and I don’t doubt it is, you big wuss) you shouldn’t be allowed to breathe. I’d have you turned into a public toilet for perverts to watch online then kicked to death when you’ve reached your shit-eating capacity.

  10. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Oh aye? What about Rambo III – where the mentally-unstable Vietnam vet takes on the ENTIRE Soviet army with a big gun he’s wrenched off of a helicopter? Or Robocop – the nutcase robot shooting the shit out of the executive, or him what’s smothered in toxic waste being driven into by the Robocop and exploding, like? They’re proper violent movies, they are. Your violent films are just daft people in daft makeup getting sliced up. Proper violent films have alive people gettin’ murthered and feeling pain, lots of pain – your mob in the rubbish you watch are already dead and feel nothing. NOTHING!

    Lundgren should get round your house and snap your neck, you big conked elephant man.

  11. Swineshead Says:

    Dear shit-eating rodent (Napoleon),

    I’d much rather watch lurid, colourful scenes of defenceless civilians having whacking great lumps of flesh bitten off in the 70s than watch an overpaid muscleman unrealistically shoot blanks at extras, with little bloodshed.

    As for robocop, that’s more sci fi, even more horror than action. Wrong genre. A crossover, at best.

  12. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Robocop’s an action movie, you clot. Just because it’s in the future, it’s still an action movie – like Terminator or Aliens are, like.

    Guns+killing+explosions+the 80s+more killing=action movie

    70s zombie movies are rat shit.

    And John Rambo would tear the veins out of your stomach if he got his hands on you, big nose.

  13. Swineshead Says:

    He might, if he existed. As it is he’s a poor actor what’s got fat.

  14. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    There’d be no ‘might’ about it. He ‘would’ pull ’em out … if he existed. Then he’d hand what’s left of you over to Van Damme … he’d get Belgian on your ass.

    (And I don’t mean he’d do you up the arse with his Belgian old fella, neither. I mean he’d kill you, Belgian-fashion.)

    (Whatever that is)

  15. piqued Says:

    NC, Seagal and Van Damme films

    Sort of thing Brian Harvey would watch

    Utter shit

  16. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Balls! Harvey watches the sort of art college shite you pretend to like to make y’self look clever. Rubbish made by Scandinavians that go on for hours, with no explosions or neck-snappings. That sort of thing.

    And they’re not utter shit. In Under Seige, what’s-er-name off of Baywatch in the 80s jumps out of a cake with her tits out. AND Seagal snaps some necks, dressed as a chef. That’s entertainment you CAN enjoy.

    Much more fun than a fucking German playing chess on a beach, you sluggard.

  17. piqued Says:

    I see you’re referring to Bergman’s masterpeice The Seventh Seal (it was a Swedish chap playing chess on a beach with death) the only Sea(l)gal I’d wish to see on the silver screen incidentally mwaarrr mwwarr

    *rolls brandy*

    *reclines on Chesterfield*

    *remembers Erica Eliniak’s tits*

    *pops off to the loo for a burp*

  18. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    See? Still can’t resist them tits, can you? If it wasn’t for Seagal snapping them necks, those boobies would have stayed fettered (unless you found several editions of Playboy under hedges in the 80s).

    And that bloke shouldn’t have ‘Von’ in his name if he doesn’t want to be mistaken for a Kraut. How am I meant to keep up with the nationalities of all these foreign buggers – ‘specially when they decieve you with Hun prepositions? I’m too busy watching Bruce Willis snapping necks to get my facts straight.

    So there.

  19. piqued Says:

    Yeah, well ‘von’ is better than ‘vin’ or ‘van’ yeah

    *vins*

  20. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    At least ‘Van’ is Belgian. I think. Anyway, you’re disqualified from this conversation because you watch movies for effect, not entertainment. And you wear nappies and demand your missus treats you like an infant.

    It’s disgusting.

  21. Matt Says:

    Omega Man, anyone re-watched it in light of this film?

    The “special effects” are shite and Charlton looks like he’s suppressing a large burp the whole film.

  22. Swineshead Says:

    I watched the Omega Man after reading the book. It was bloody awful, but the chick with the ‘fro made it worth watching.

  23. piqued Says:

    “watch movies for effect”

    What a preposterous allegation. I saw ‘Dunstan Checks In’ over Christmas

    Effect that Vin lover

  24. John Q Wagonwheel Says:

    hahahaha cakes and boobies.

  25. Luke Says:

    This film was amazing, if you claim that the CGI and the story and technical aspects of this film are “bollocks” then I wouldn’t venture to suggest what type of film WOULD please you. You also suggested it was all shot on a soundstage in front of a greenscreen – not true. It was shot on location, and the visual effects are first class. Most people go into a movie expecting to have to suspend their disbelief. You’ve left out a few major points as well. If you watched the movie, you’d know that about 1% of people were immune to the virus – not just will smith as it becomes apparent later on. Get your facts right before you start bashing a film.

    To Swineshead: If you think that you can compare the story in a novel to the story in a movie, you’re a fool for trying to compare the two mediums. Novels are about interpretation. A film is about depicting a story for the viewer’s entertainment. You havn’t seen the film so why brand it with your ill-informed opinon?

  26. Swineshead Says:

    I didn’t compare the two mediums. Or the two media. I can think of a couple of movies off the top of my head that were translated to film quite successfully – Clockwork Orange, American Psycho for starters…

    A great, subtle book about an ageing man trapped with his thoughts is made into a CGI blockbuster with Will Smith, big explosions and (so I hear) a wholesome Christian ending. The whole story is distorted to appeal to the bleating little fuckwits like yourself who turn up at multiplexes these days – I wonder why I would feel miffed?

  27. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    What’s wrong with big explosions? Surely any book that’s got no explosions in it is rubbish? I’d put explosions in every film if I had my way. Explosions are ace.

  28. Style Says:

    hello people.. i liked the movie, it ain’t that bad after all..!! and sam’s death was really really sad.. pretty upsetting, i mean sam was all will smith’s been left with.. should have changed that little bit.. 😦

  29. wonder Says:

    i watched the movie and wondered- if will smith is so good in acting on his own ,why did they bother to add more actors? as long as it was only him , it was great , you could forget about the un reasonable plot , the weird dialouges and the zombies that resembled constentration camps’ survivors. the scenes in empty forsaken new york were amazing. its a pitty that the most bothering thought we were left with after the movie is over, is why emma thompson vanished from the credits.

  30. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    I’ve been reading a book on the constentration camps’. Austwitch, Sorbetbor, Burger-Bellend – they’re all in there.

  31. Swineshead Says:

    Alright – I’ve just watched I Am Legend (finally) and have to say it wasn’t too bad. Yes, it’s so far removed from the source material (from one hour and two minutes in especially) that it’s laughable, but for a Hollywood action movie it’s surprisingly complex.

    The first hour with Smith and the Dog are very close to the original text and Smith is actually quite believable as Robert Neville.

    Disregard the final half hour (apart from the cool bit where the vampie tries to crack glass with his head) and it’s one of the best Hollywood films in ages.

    having said that, it didn’t feature any tits. So it loses 3 points for that.

  32. Hancock « Watch With Mothers Says:

    […] like with Will Smith’s last rubbish movie – I Am Legend – everything starts out well and then turns shockingly bad. Does he no longer read scripts all the […]

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