I Am Legend (2007)


*. Another go (the third) at Richard Matheson’s novel, and it’s interesting that they kept his title this time (it had been ditched in both previous versions: The Last Man on Earth and The Omega Man).
*. They should have known enough to avoid the title again. It’s not very catchy, and even given the ending here it remains vague and allusive.
*. This was an enormously expensive, and successful, popcorn movie. As such, we probably shouldn’t look too deeply into it for either significance or consistency. But still . . .
*. I had all sorts of questions about the Darkseekers (confusingly referred to as “Hemocytes” in the subtitles). When you get a virus, you either die or else, in a very few cases, you gain super strength and speed. I mean really: these things are no longer remotely human. They can jump like kangaroos, run down vehicles, climb walls like Spiderman, and smash down doors and walls with their bare hands as though they’re made of paper. Come on. That’s some virus. I wonder if the lions eat them or if they eat the lions.
*. Then there’s the question of how smart they are. Are they just wild animals? Then how could they possibly survive for so long? They would have run out of dead corpses to eat before long (note that in the intro to 28 Weeks Later it’s explained that the carriers of the Rage virus died of starvation in weeks, and it’s been three years here).
*. Also note how many of them there are. There are hordes of these creatures. They’re like the armies of orcs in Lord of the Rings. Did they all gather in NYC? Why?
*. If they’re intelligent, why do they just growl and not speak? Why do they even want to bother with Neville anyway?
*. “Social de-evolution appears complete.” Really? But they still seem to live and work together in packs. The leader keeps infected dogs as pets. That requires some social instinct, doesn’t it?
*. Do you think they can go outside on really cloudy days, or when it’s raining? What would Neville do then, as presumably Sam has to go out for a walk? What about the winter? Nobody’s plowing the roads so wouldn’t that make it easy for the Darkseekers to track him to where he lives? And how do they stay warm in the winter? Do they know how to start a fire? And so on.
*. Neville’s survival is also highly dubious. Why would Neville choose to make his home in such a huge, hard to power, and in the event impossible-to-defend mansion? Presumably because it has a lab in the basement. But couldn’t he have moved the necessary equipment somewhere else? Why does he need to be at “ground zero”?
*. By the way, how is he heating such a building in the winter to keep the pipes from bursting?
*. A reported $5 million was spent on the evacuation scene. But how could you possibly quarantine Manhattan? The virus would have to have already spread outside the city limits, so the whole exercise is pointless.
*. Sam doesn’t even know simple commands like “stay,” or to come when he’s called?
*. So Neville injures his leg, but even when placed in imminent danger he can’t get up on his one good leg but has to crawl really slowly to his SUV. That is, until he decides he really should get up and move a little quicker, which he does.
*. I hate the shot of Neville shooting golf balls off the aircraft carrier. It’s so staged. And it makes no sense. Think of all the time and effort getting up there and then having to come back down.


*. There’s a weird religious vibe going on throughout. I’m not just referring to Neville’s Christ-like sacrifice at the end, redeeming humanity with his blood, but a lot of what has gone before. Before their death, Neville joins with his wife and daughter for a family prayer. He is insistent later that the disease is not a scourge of God but man-made. Then Anna tells him that she simply “knows” of a sanctuary (one that we see is dominated, in the final aerial shot, by a church) because God has told her it exists.
*. I’m not sure what to make of this. Civilization as we know it is a train wreck waiting to happen and only faith will be able to redeem us when the shit inevitably hits the fan?
*. In other words, it’s an empty, muddled movie, which is no surprise given the long gestation the project had and the numerous re-writes that were done on the script. If you want to see our world in ruins — and if pop culture is any indicator, many of us do — then you should enjoy the visuals. The rest is garbage.


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