This post is originally found in The Boy’s archives.
Director: Francis Lawrence
Category: Mystery and Suspense, Science Fiction
It always pisses me off when Hollywood takes a perfectly good book and repackages it into something that has to have an ending that “sits well with the audience.” Sits well with the audience MY ASS! You know what they apparently thought sits well with an audience? A dumbed down, formulaic excuse for a remake.
I Am Legend was disappointing, which is doubly frustrating, because I had such high hopes for the film. Contrary to what a lot of people might think, Will Smith is a pretty solid actor, and the film would have failed immensely if not for the way he portrayed his spiral into isolation-induced mania. Francis Lawrence, who directed the film, is a visual artist I see as one of the rising stars in Hollywood. He started out doing videos for Third eye Blind (specifically “Losing a Whole Year” and “Ten Days Late”) and other artists, then proceeded to direct Constantine a few years back. I like his visually driven style, and it was the second of the only two things that made the film decent. Praises end here.
Hollywood just had to change the book’s original ending. Matheson’s work, though admittedly dismal and depressing at times, stood out in the seventies, because it explored the intricacies of social estrangement in the midst of communism. The book was, for all intents and purposes, an extreme look at the pros and cons of being alone, as opposed to being in a mindless collective. Needless to say, Neville died a much less dignified death in the novel, and that would have been something quite impactful in recent cinema had they maintained it, especially when you consider the film’s themes. But noooooooo… Hollywood just had to have their happy ending.
Another thing that pissed me off was the fact that the zombie/rabies mutants were all rendered in CGI. Every fucking one of theme. Except maybe the sleeping one, who looked like Sinnead O’Connor, but she doesn’t count. Why do that though? Why CGI? I mean they’re human figures! Well, I know you can’t slam a real skinny bald guy against a car, but… well… at least TRY!
Seriously though, 28 Days Later looked awesome as fuck—no CGI. And that had pretty much the same kind of antagonists! And did we see anyone get eaten in I Am Legend?!? NOPE! What the fuck?!? The goddamn rats felt more dangerous!
You end up feeling no threat. Ironically, what ends up being the film’s climax is the scene leading up to when you start seeing the monsters. I shit you not. This is when Neville needs to go into a totally dark building to fetch his dumb-ass dog. Why is it the best part? Coz you don’t see anything but glimpses, and the Francis Lawrence camera work makes you feel like you’re surrounded by god knows what. After that scene, the film’s practically done. Go home and play some chess. And don’t get me started on that annoying Latina chick they injected into the script. Jesus. She doesn’t even exist to me.
I’m just glad I didn’t have to spend too much to watch this film, coz the pirate DVDs were out. I couldn’t watch in the mall, coz they’re showing some film-fest crap that pass for apparently pass for “watchable” nowadays. Damn things made me miss AVP2.
Bring on Cloverfield damn it.