December 14, 2007
I Am Legend
In 2001, I discovered the "novella" I Am Legend by Richard Matheson. It completely blew me away -- I remember sitting on my couch all weekend, totally glued to the pages. It instantly became one of my favorite books.
When I heard they were making a new movie version of it, I felt as much worry as excitement, if not more. Hollywood seems to want to ruin everything we hold dear these days. When I heard they'd be using "virus-infected people" instead of vampires, I was even more worried. When I heard Will Smith would be playing Robert Neville, it was like adding insult to injury. I've never been a big Will Smith fan - I thought it was the worst casting decision of all time. I suddenly imagined a Hollywoodized comedy-adventure filled with slo-mo action shots and wise-cracks up the wazoo. And these past few days, I've been seeing early reviews pop up online... Most of them have been negative.
Going into the theater tonight, I was fully prepared to be disappointed.
I. Loved. This. Movie.
Yes, there are things to nitpick. Yes, the ending is very different from the book. Yes, the CGI creatures look a bit too fakey/cheesy at times. But I'll tell ya... this movie has so much character and so much emotion, the minor complaints I had weren't even worth a second thought. For the first time in a long time, I found myself just ENJOYING a movie. Not sitting there dissecting it like some critic on a mission... I just enjoyed it. After a year of mostly disappointing movies (in my opinion), I'm so glad The Mist and I Am Legend came out this month. I feel like I've been yanked out of a movie depression.
I'll admit, I do wish they would've had the daring to go with the book's ending. It's very Twilight Zoney, and for a little while, I kinda thought they might stay true to it... But, that said, I thought the movie's ending was fine. I really do. I didn't leave the theater feeling angry that it was changed. It was an alternate ending.
As for Will Smith, all I can say is this: In the course of an hour and a half, I went from disliking him to thinking he should win an Oscar. He was amazing.
Did I just say that? Yes, I did.
This movie is freaking awesome. I give it the highest possible recommendation. :)