Wednesday, January 02, 2008

MINI-REVIEW: I Am Legend

This is one-half of a pretty decent movie, unfortunately it's also one-half of a really awful one.

The good half occupies most of the first and second act, with Will Smith doing the last man on Earth thing in a slowly deteriorating, deserted Manhattan in what's at least a tonally-faithful reworking of Richard Matheson's seminal scifi novel. A supposed cure for cancer has instead wiped out the human race, and aside from Smith's Robert Neville anyone who survived is now a shrieking, light-phobic mutant/vampire. Good start.

Sadly, the film doesn't have the stones to follow Matheson's work through to it's grim, pitch-black final twist. So instead we get one of the most awful third-acts to a good movie since I don't remember when; as what started out as a damn well-mounted work of apocalyptic scifi with a grand and insightful turn of man-going-crazy acting from Smith get's tossed out the window in favor of thuddingly moronic religious tripe and a bunch of nonsense about butterfly-symbolism; not helped by some of the worst looking CGI creatures you'll see this year. A total disappointment.

FINAL RATING: 4/10

2 comments:

tyra said...

so, what's your take on "omega man"?
i read the "i am legend" comic, and liked the idea of the psychological horror and torment - especially with his former friend taunting him, at night.
when i saw a big hollywood production staring will smith, i knew is was going to suck.

Bob said...

I don't hold this one against Will Smith. He is, bar none, the best movie star of his generation and he goes to a REALLY dark, deeper place with this and just nails it. It's a great performance, especially considering he has almost no one to play OFF of.

The material lets him down, sadly. He's willing to do something really different and bold, but the movie cops out and just wants to be generic and cop-out on the ending. If he'd been giving this same effort in an adaptation that Matheson's original "gotcha," we'd be looking at a modern genre classic here. Too bad.

Omega Man is... pretty bad, when you get right down to it. Easily the low-point of Charlton Heston scifi movies, but it's fun in a campy way.