Tuesday, December 18, 2007
I am Legend Review
Intro: A news cast explaining how cancer had been cured by re-engineering a virus. Then a flash to the post-apocalyptic New York City. From the peanut gallery a voice rang out, "Maybe they should bring back cancer!" The entire theater laughed. It was a good initiation into the humorously sincere sci-fi film. It was too bad the guy next to me took it as a license to editorialize the rest of the movie.
Writer, Mark Protosevich, made really good use of Smith. The quiet drama. The syncopated humor. Exactly what you would expect from a Smith film. What I didn't expect was the treatment of time. Protosevich interplayed the back story with the main line in a way that most wouldn't have, but it was effective.
What I really liked about the writing was the use of the volume of literature that has been generated about "I am Legend". Protosevich used it all, but he used it to tell a minimal narrative that was rich in imagery. He didn't feel the need to tell all of the stories, but rather he let a few subtle details find their way into the background. It was an excuse to really engage yourself in the environment.
There was also an unconventional depiction of the zombies. They weren't the typical mindless automatons. They were intelligent and innovative, if not resourceful. It spoke of the new world paradigm that an enemy to be defeated must be respected.
I recommend this film to those that appreciate sincere story telling. Yes, there are zombies and action sequences, but it always comes back to an honest examination of Robert Neville.