Monday, December 17, 2007

I Am Legend = Director did not read the book

This weekend was nice; I was able to catch up with Matt, whom I haven't seen in about five years, if not more. He's in town getting married of all things, then its back to the wild frontier known as Alaska again. Last night we saw I Am Legend, a movie starring Will Smith, and based on a book. This is probably the third close reincarnation of the book on screen; others you might know are Charleton Heston's Omega Man, and Vincent Prices' Last Man on Earth.

I am a big fan of Richard Matheson's works; he has such an amazing way of revolving the story around the character's psyche and human nature no matter what genre he writes. Even though I Am Legend would technically be a 'horror' novel, the horror of it plays almost in the background. What makes this novel what it is, is the character starting to lose touch with reality and what makes us human because he is essentially the last man on earth. Also, what makes the book so great, and gives it a wonderful shock factor twist is the ending, which is where the title derives its name. Whoever wrote and directed Will Smith's movie butchered the ending. I can forgive them for what things they did change up until 3/4ths of the movie, movies always have to have some changes from the novel to help progress in a more cinematic fashion. But the ending should not have been tampered with. I suggest to anyone seeing this film, read the novel first, it’s a short 170 pages. Better yet, read the novel, then once Neville (Smith) gets saved by the woman, walk out of the theater, and just imagine the rest of the movie from what you read in the novel. You'll get a better impact that way.

I know, I should have known walking into the movie that it was going to tamper with the script. I've been saying from the beginning I knew Will Smith would not do such a role, especially around Christmas time, if it stayed true to the final pages of the book. I was right, I didn't want to be right, but I was. This is no complaint on the cinematography, or the acting, this is purely at script level that I am angry. Will Smith did an amazing job as Robert Neville, and even showed us his decent into lonely madness perfectly.

Oh, one last thing, why did they HAVE to use computer generated vampires? Oh and for all you who keep calling them Zombies, read the book and put two and two together on screen, I'm tired of this "not another zombie movie" crap, the novel was written in the '50s well before any zombie movies. Okay, back to the creatures in the movie. They should not have been cg, it looked terrible!! They wanted these dingy looking bald and emaciated freaked, so why didn't they just hire some? Real people look SO much better than something rendered on a computer. Seriously, if you saw the 1990 remake of Night of The Living Dead, there is a zombie in the movie that is practically just skin and bones, he looks so macabre. The thing that made him so freakish on film was the fact that he was a real person. They should have gone that route, it would have looked much better.

Anyway, read the novel. Always read the novel before seeing the movie, its a much more wonderful experience to get the full story then experience the movie, then you aren't tasting a watered down and altered recipe of the story. I'd like to rate this movie, but I'm not sure how. I enjoyed 3/4ths of the movie, I don’t like the ending at all, and the creatures suck. They also tampered with a lot of minor parts of the story, and also changed a lot of the back story, but that's trivial compared to the ending. B- maybe? Anyone else have an opinion?

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