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Overall Rating
2.79

Awesome: 14.72%
Worth A Look: 23.31%
Average: 20.25%
Pretty Bad: 9.82%
Total Crap31.9%

6 reviews, 127 user ratings


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I Am Legend
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Mel Valentin

"Not the definitive interpretation fans of Matheson's novels hoped for."
3 stars

In "I Am Legend," the third adaptation of Richard Mathesonís highly influential 1954 science fiction/horror novel, the world ends, not with a bang, but with a virus, a mutated version of a bio-engineered, anti-cancer virus kills most of the worldís population. A small percentage survives in violent, aggressive, nocturnal packs, mutated beyond recognition. An even smaller percentage survives, immune, but they quickly become prey for the infected. One survivor, Robert Neville (Will Smith), a military scientist, survives in an almost unrecognizable Manhattan. With every bridge and tunnel destroyed by the federal government in an attempt to contain or quarantine the outbreak, Neville is cut off from the mainland. While he could probably escape using a boat or makeshift raft, he refuses to leave ďground zero,Ē continuing his research into the virus, hopeful that heíll find a cure.

To survive in Manhattan among the infected, however, requires an almost superhuman effort. Nevilleís days are tightly scheduled around foraging for supplies and food with his dog, Sam, hunting wild game for fresh meat, driving to a pier at mid-day, hoping survivors will find him through his daily broadcasts, and continuing his research into the virus. Animals are affected as well, but are immune to the virusí airborne strain (but not the contact strain). Immune to the virus, Neville hopes he can find a cure through experiments using his blood. For that, Neville needs subjects, animal and infected. At night, Neville barricades himself in his Washington Square home, shotgun ready for any unwanted intruders, the infected. Neville is both hunter and prey. One mistake means capture by the infected and capture means instant death.

At least premise wise, Mark Protosevich and Akiva Goldsmanís adaptation doesnít stray far from Mathesonís novel, but they seem just as influenced by the 1971 adaptation of Mathesonís novel, The Omega Man starring Charlton Heston as Neville and directed by Boris Sagal. Neville is a military scientist in both adaptations (he isnít in Mathesonís novel), heís actively researching a cure for the virus, and, most importantly, both films share a similar ending. The similarities end there, however, as Protosevich and Goldsmanís adaptation departs significantly, first by changing the setting from Los Angeles to New York and changing the infected from cult-like, anti-technological nutters with pigmentation and attitude problems in The Omega Man to the pack-like, non-verbal, feral, light-averse cannibals in the latest adaptation.

Both adaptations, however, stray far from Mathesonís conception of the plague and its effects. Those who donít die are reborn into nocturnal, blood-craving monsters, but theyíre closer to zombies than the gothic vampires found in 19th-century literature. Mathesonís genius (and it is that) was in adapting the myths and folklore associated with vampirism into a contemporary setting and coming up with a pseudo-scientific explanation for the plague and the effects on the survivors. An earlier adaptation of Mathesonís novel, The Last Man on Earth, a U.S.-Italian co-production made in 1964 with Vincent Price, but itís not surprising that itís as faithful as it is to Mathesonís novel, since he wrote an early version of the script.

Every adaptation shares Mathesonís exploration of the ďlast man on earthĒ scenario, focusing, to varying degrees, on Nevilleís isolation, loneliness, despair, and near-insanity as he attempts to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. Mathesonís novel, however, includes a twist that only the 1964 adaptation carries over: Neville is just as much of a monster as the infected, but that revelation doesnít occur until late in Mathesonís novel, but itís central to understanding the title of Mathesonís novel. The title is also the novelís last line. Here, thereís a nod to the ďlegendĒ line in a bit of voiceover near the end, but it has none of the originalís emotional or dramatic power.

As directed by Francis Lawrenceís (Constantine), I Am Legend is strongest early on, in following Neville as he goes through his daily, enervating routine in an abandoned, mostly silent Manhattan. Itís also effective during the first two encounters with the infected, who are more glimpsed than seen, but, and thereís no way to discuss I Am Legend without issuing a spoiler alert (as in skip to the next paragraph if you donít to find out what happens next), shifts gears, badly, when two new characters, Anna (Alice Braga) and Ethan (Charlie Tahan), are introduced. The long, very long first act turns into an improbable second act that depends on coincidence and contrivance to push the storyline forward and an even more rushed third act thatís disappointing for its brevity and lack of tension building or adequate payoff.

Thatís bad enough, but it gets worse. Protosevich and Goldsmanís screenplay makes the infected non-verbal, closer in conception and design to the infected in Danny Boyleís 28 Days Later than Mathesonís original conception of sentient vampire-like creatures or even the Hemocytes found in Protosevichís original screenplay which has been available online for several years (an ill-fated adaptation starring Arnold Schwarzenegger directed by Ridley Scott was almost made in the mid-1990s). In Protosevichís screenplay, the infected need human blood to survive and kept humans alive to harvest their blood for sustenance. The Hemocytes also had a culture, something barely hinted at in the latest version.

That aside, what really weakens "I Am Legend" is the choice Lawrence and his producers made early on to switch from practical effects (i.e., prosthetics) to CGI for the infected. While CGI aids in world building (e.g., backgrounds, set extensions), it has to be of the highest caliber where living, breathing characters interacting with the ďrealĒ world are involved. Here, the CGI is nothing less than sub-par. Itís often so bad that audiences will spend more time nodding their heads in dismay during the last half hour than in following the storyline. Unfortunately, itís one decision that Lawrence and his producers canít take back. To Will Smithís credit, though, heís never less than watchable in "I Am Legend." Combined with an improbable second act and an underwritten third act (Protosevichís original version was better conceived, overall), "I Am Legend" will simultaneously disappoint genre fans, fans of Mathesonís novel, and even Will Smithís fans.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=15743&reviewer=402
originally posted: 12/14/07 13:00:00
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User Comments

7/13/14 Jack My god, what a terrible movie. 1 stars
3/11/14 John Just awful. 1 stars
1/18/12 Marc DC One of the better zombie/apocalyptic movies. Adding people at end lessened its originality 4 stars
10/12/10 Lars This is the Tub he sleeps in - www.build.com/kohler-k-700-vintage-bath/p173397 4 stars
4/17/10 matt honestly, it just didn't work on any level. 2 stars
3/23/10 Blake I don't know why alot of people hate this movie. It's one of the greatest I've ever seen! 5 stars
1/17/10 PAUL SHORTT A TRIUMPH OF SET DESIGN AND CGI OVER STORYLINE AND CREDIBILITY 2 stars
7/25/09 Jack Mangled story. Horrible "acting". Laughable CGI. 1 stars
6/27/09 CTT Tour de force from Smith; underrated and misunderstood 5 stars
6/05/09 JR I couldn't have hated it more... 1 stars
5/18/09 R Lan Perfect rating for this film. It's average. Shouldn't go out of your way to see or avoid. 3 stars
4/26/09 Tom One of the greatest movies NEVER made. I AM SUCKER for paying to see this CRAP. 1 stars
4/13/09 Heston An effective and involving lone-man against the zombies flick, despite some dumb moments 4 stars
3/16/09 Yo MTV Raps Mastabatory greatness 5 stars
1/19/09 Jonathan It took how many years to get this film off the ground? ÖCinematic GARBAGE. 1 stars
1/11/09 Anonymous. this movie isn't near as bad as alot of people are making it sound. actually, it's good. :] 4 stars
12/18/08 Simon It's solid, like 3.49/5. Despite flaws of script and lamely-put message, it's discussable. 3 stars
12/15/08 Jack A travesty. It's I AM LEGEND Mr. Smith, not I Have a Dream. Jerk. 1 stars
11/15/08 Annie G Wonít stand up to any scrutiny, but a fun one-time action apocalypse film. 3 stars
10/18/08 Ron Where are John Carpenter and Kurt Russell when you need them? 1 stars
9/06/08 Rada Sarbu Saw it on DVD at night, alone; a bit terrifying. I really liked it, but not the 2 endings. 4 stars
7/24/08 Shaun Wallner Will Smith is a Great Actor!! 5 stars
6/28/08 pin Smith was fantastic, CGI was iffy (so?), the budget dictated the ending, deal with it. 4 stars
6/26/08 DK Great Smith performance and some solid direction- but script shits on the book 3 stars
6/16/08 Wolfrider Annoyingly SLOW and depressing - bad CGI and violence against animals 1 stars
6/12/08 Jayson Amazing. Loved every minute. Will Smith is the man. 5 stars
6/07/08 Joe getting tired of all the Hollywood computer generation, it sucks! 2 stars
5/26/08 David Pollastrini Theatrical version was great. The alternate ending was stupid. 5 stars
5/22/08 Dana Ending was a bit off but most of the movie was very good 4 stars
5/11/08 Dan Flawed, but worth watching. Good atmosphere. I'd give 3.5 stars if I could 4 stars
5/10/08 Siggie I really wanted to love this movie. I loved the Richard Matheson story & the other 2 movies 3 stars
5/06/08 madglo83 Rented the movie - I'm glad it only cost me a dollar. 1 stars
5/05/08 steve great all around experience 5 stars
4/26/08 Pete Chesworth Watchable but full of gaping plot holes like what do the zombies live on if all the humans 3 stars
4/21/08 Jack What a Horrible movie. The Title, the CENTRAL theme in the novel, is not even explained!!! 1 stars
4/13/08 Mike Acrobatic CGI created zombies take away the realistic image from the movie 4 stars
4/12/08 Katie not what I expected, but not bad. 3 stars
4/07/08 jesabel Ok film, the ending sucked. What happened to his wife, humanity-what happened at the end? 2 stars
4/06/08 thismoviesuckeddogshit Terrible... everything. Too many plot holes, terrible ending, i can go on and on and on.... 1 stars
4/05/08 stephanie willis just ok 3 stars
3/24/08 wnm Will Smith did ok in a movie that had obvious problems with story and cartoon-like zombies 3 stars
3/24/08 vince Last man on earth was better. I wish Arnold had starred in this one, and a better director 3 stars
3/19/08 action movie fan great production but litte thrills and not much action-story poorly developed-a disappointm 3 stars
3/07/08 not2well tons of plot holes, stone cold acting, and an idealistic ending..not what i was looking for 1 stars
3/06/08 damn only reason this piece of shit made any money was cause everyone thought it was gonna be ok 1 stars
3/03/08 ladavies I was disappointed because I loved the book and this took a weird turn. 2 stars
2/29/08 damalc exciting for a while, but ultimately forgettable; smith doesn't have the chops for this 3 stars
2/18/08 sophrosune It wasted 1:30 of my life, that I can never get back. 1 stars
2/11/08 John Geddie hype far exceeded the film 3 stars
1/26/08 proper amateur film critic You're left gawping at a $100 million worth of eye popping futuristic B movie 1 stars
1/24/08 John Campbell This reviewer was spot on about everything. 1 stars
1/20/08 orpy sucked big time! 1 stars
1/16/08 Dani Very disappointing. Will Smith was never in a bad movie before this one. 2 stars
1/14/08 Abhishek Chakraborty It's not as bad as the other users have said. I wasn't blown away with the ending, though 4 stars
1/07/08 I-K Serious sci-fi with real emotional punch ruined by rushed story and simplistic ending. 3 stars
1/05/08 Jack Where are J.Cameron & Arnold S. when you need them? 1 stars
1/02/08 Russo I am Legend was a GREAT movie ! All you low life nerds who think other wise are just idiots 5 stars
12/29/07 davebee If you read and liked the book, then DON'T SEE THIS MOVE...you will be disappointed 2 stars
12/27/07 John If I want a lecture about racism then I will see the Great Debaters, not I am Legend. Geez. 1 stars
12/27/07 Andy & Taze Read the book then curse Hollywood and Will for their cynical profit making 1 stars
12/26/07 Joel Elfrank The worst movie I have seen this year 1 stars
12/22/07 Doug Not bad, but the redemption of God at the end was lame. 3 stars
12/22/07 ravenmad I totally agree, I was so unhappy with everything! Ten minutes in, I didn't like it. 2 stars
12/22/07 Buttley Not a great movie. 3 stars
12/22/07 mr.mike as a self-styled critic , 4 stars , as a moviegoer, 3 4 stars
12/22/07 WeeToddDidd Nothing special, it's all been done before 3 stars
12/21/07 ScubaSteve Wow, this review blows. Take it for what it is and quit being a picky know-it-all. 5 stars
12/21/07 Jesoul Yup, this review is spot on! Smith- great but way too many loose ends! ending was so lame! 3 stars
12/21/07 Richard The review was on the money. Will Smith: Great. CGI Sucked. Plot and movie: Too short. 3 stars
12/20/07 Darren Good but the monsters looked silly. I hear the book was better. Smith was great 4 stars
12/20/07 Michael entertaining go see 28 days later a better movie 4 stars
12/20/07 Chip Not great, but I didn't think it sucked. Just some mindless entertainment for Friday night 4 stars
12/20/07 Dirk Apart from the obvious flaws, this movie is still very entertaining. 4 stars
12/20/07 KEVIN AWESOME MOVIE! EDGE OF YOUR SEAT, NOT KNOWING WHAT COMES NEXT. LOVED IT! 5 stars
12/20/07 ab childish review 4 stars
12/20/07 Dave Had potential but to many plot holes and the talking to mannequiens just cheesy 3 stars
12/19/07 SG Spot on. Most accurate review I've seen yet. 1 stars
12/19/07 J_movie The movie is a suspense movie, not an esoteric artistic expression, GOY Snobs! 4 stars
12/19/07 obnoman Worst hack job on a classic EVER! 1 stars
12/19/07 C.R. Beautiful beyond measure. 'Legend' speaks to our inadequacy and potential as human beings. 5 stars
12/18/07 Scott "F". I'm done with Will Smith. He sucks. Always has. 1 stars
12/18/07 Ian Thank God I'm Not Alone. This Movie Was SO AWFUL! 1 stars
12/18/07 digitalb CGI was horrible! Even the lions looked fake, big league budget little league fx!! 2 stars
12/18/07 Anna Absolutely TERRIBLE movie... I would love to have my money, and my time, back. 1 stars
12/18/07 Seth This review sums up the reason why many people don't like this movie. It's not believable. 2 stars
12/18/07 ryan you must have seen a different movie than i did. i thought it was moving and powerful 4 stars
12/18/07 Zild Stop expecting it to be a Picasso and you might actually enjoy. If not, then no one cares. 5 stars
12/18/07 Barbara This was a great movie. I will definitely purchase it for my collection. 5 stars
12/18/07 Lucifer Satan book amazing, this blew, cgi sucks 1 stars
12/18/07 Coyoteman Hundreds and hundreds of Smeagols. Pathetic movie. 2 stars
12/18/07 Frank Should have waited for the rental. Not worth the gas or popcorn much less the admission. 1 stars
12/18/07 Ricky Wow, worst written review ever! Dude, take a community college english class ASAP! 1 stars
12/18/07 Quigley One of the year's best films. Incredibly suspensful and eerie. Excellent Will Smith 5 stars
12/18/07 Roberto Horrible... Ending was even worse.. 1 stars
12/18/07 Martin what are you guys fooking brain dead-this was the worst movie of the year. 1 stars
12/18/07 Ole Man Bourbon Nothing to it other than absurdity 2 stars
12/18/07 Claire Another failed effort to do justice to an amazing book. 'I am garbage' is a better title 1 stars
12/17/07 toomanymovies Very disappointing. I love Smith, but this movie was bad. Too many plot holes. 2 stars
12/17/07 Obi Wan Will Smith staples to his name to the Top Tier of American actors! 4 stars
12/17/07 J-tron Dude you need to really chill out. you're over analyzing it, 1 stars
12/17/07 Kevin This review is horseshit! This move is a great movie.See the movie. 5 stars
12/17/07 P I don't understand all the negative criticism. This movie, Smith's acting was AMAZING! 5 stars
12/17/07 Chrissie I think you're way off the mark on this one. 4 stars
12/17/07 rybo dogshit 1 stars
12/17/07 Panda It was brilliant. Anyone who says differently needs to be shot, or infected. 4 stars
12/17/07 Tom Servo Most expensive adaptation out of the three manages to be the worst. Go read the book. 1 stars
12/16/07 Mark 1. You can't write 2. Go play a video game, it'll assuage your ADD 4 stars
12/16/07 link what a good movie 5 stars
12/16/07 Captain Highcrime Talk about fantasy: that's the fastest anyone's been able to drive in NYC in fuck, 50 years 3 stars
12/16/07 HistoryBuff Afrocentric swill. 1 stars
12/16/07 VonDouchebag Modern storytelling at it's lowest, throwing more money and CGI at it just makes it worse. 1 stars
12/16/07 TheJet Were we watching the same movie? Smith wit another unforgettable pefromance 5 stars
12/16/07 Jaime I just saw this movie and Wil Smith was IMPRESSIVE 5 stars
12/16/07 Ray Ford moving movie, my faith in Smith as a serious actor is now restored 5 stars
12/16/07 pswfe Disappointed 4 stars
12/16/07 TESS Awesome. I loved it,although mu husband wanted more action. 5 stars
12/16/07 Jake The second half of the movie was just bad, but the first half more then made up for it. 4 stars
12/16/07 DogofWar This was a great movie. A great psycological horror thriller, no matter what anyone says. 5 stars
12/15/07 Curt Enjoyable, interesting, decent story but not Matheson's. I was expecting gore and action. 4 stars
12/15/07 Justin I hated this movie. Relentlessly punishing - 2 stars for Smith's effort 2 stars
12/15/07 Pollenfax Very dissappointed in the movie. Oh well. 2 stars
12/15/07 Od Green Smith, ok. Movie, missed it's mark. More hunting, real vamps would have been better. 2 stars
12/15/07 Kevin Just saw the movie, and it was pretty damn good. I sincerely apologize, but your wrong. 5 stars
12/15/07 Dan Erik I don't know what movie you saw but to call Will Smith a bad actor after see that... 5 stars
12/15/07 Will Man, I need to become a film critic. Hate on this movie then give The, Mist 5 stars.... 4 stars
12/15/07 Naurto Will there EVER be a decent adaptation of the book?!?!?!?!?! 1 stars
12/14/07 David Well, Smith's pissed on Asimov and now Matheson. Can't wait to see who he'll trash next. 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  14-Dec-2007 (PG-13)
  DVD: 18-Mar-2008

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