Friday, December 14, 2007

AfterImages of I Am Legend

Praiseworthy Things:
  • Opens with the Best Bitter Irony Jump Cut evar.
  • Will Smith's spot-on performance as a repressed, guilt-ridden failed-saviour-in-denial ratcheting inexorably towards catastrophic meltdown.
  • Nature Takes Back Manhattan (and glad to see some decent soul opened the cages at the Brooklyn Zoo before devolving).
  • Sam the Dog.

Eh-worthy Things:
  • You'd think a military epidemiologist would know enough to give experimental antivirals more than five minutes to work before writing them off as ineffective.
  • the hysterical-vampirism shtick of Matheson's novel has been replaced with a clone of the Rage virus from 28 (Insert Unit of Time Here) Later.

Craptacular Things:
  • the gratuitous and idiotic sop to the biblethumper demographic in the closing minutes of the film. (Granted, in these enlightened times when people get the shit kicked out of them for wishing people "Happy Hannukah", or forced to resign from school boards for mentioning evolution — or killed for actually advocating it — probably the only way you can get away with an athiest protag is if he learns the error of his ways before the final curtain. Pity.) (On second thought, 15/12/07: that isn't necessarily true. Witness the unflattering view of Christian behaviour — hell, of human behaviour — in "The Mist", which also has one of the most admirably and unrepentantly downbeat endings I've ever seen in a Christmas release. Almost makes up for "Cujo".)
Bottom line, though: not bad. Not bad at all. Although I do wish Neville had worked up the nerve to have sex with the mannequin in the video store...

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11 Comments:

Anonymous brian said...

The trailers for this one really caught my eye, but part of me was kinda afraid to see it in case it decided to be awful. Now I can go see it with a shred of hope, thanks. ^_^

December 15, 2007 at 12:45 PM  
Blogger Nicholas said...

The number of buzzwords (infortainment!?) and lolcats phrases (evar?) on this blog is becoming alarming. Lol omg wtf.

December 15, 2007 at 7:00 PM  
Blogger Derryl Murphy said...

I've heard that the ending (and I'm assuming that's the religious sop you're talking about) did not test well, but that the strike got in the way of them fixing it. If so, I'm encouraged that such a thing might not go over well with John Q.

D

December 15, 2007 at 8:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

agree on every point, peter. a zombie flick with tender moments, smith's best acting to date (and ironically (maybe not?) the least amount of dialogue for him), but three things really bugged me. one, the way the film emphasized the de-humanization of the zombies and yet there was still a social hierarchy. one thing that should make zombies scary is their utter lack of humanity, but there was an actual head zombie who gave orders and literally stepped on the backs of underlings to get to the non-infected. this stole all their fright factor, imo. two, they got all the way to the end only to leave us hanging with the whole un-infected colony (Children of Men ending?). i could have watched another hour of the movie if it went into developing the cure and taking it into the wild. three, the way they actually let us see Sam turn into a zombie dog and snap at Smith pissed me off. we didn't need to see that. just have him take her off camera and put her down humanely like old yeller.

but yeah, kind of figured this would be another post-apoco suckfest, but was pleasantly surprised (minus the last 15-30 minutes).

December 15, 2007 at 11:03 PM  
Blogger Scott C. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 16, 2007 at 1:47 AM  
Blogger dystonia ek said...

This may contain spoilers, for those who care about such things.

The god bomb in this ambitious piece of dogshit really came out of nowhere. I was heartened by the fact that half the people at the screening laughed out loud at the first incongruous mention of 'god's plan', and most of the rest of the film. As for myself, I started laughing slightly earlier, at Will's ridiculous and cring-inducing monologue about Bob Marley - to my mind one of the many chew-your-own-leg-off-to-survive moments in this epic failure. Smith tries hard in this film, but he's not quite as convincing as the dog, who is far and away the best actor in the film. The infected people all look exactly like Bat Boy from the Weekly World News, making them pretty much impossible to take seriously unless (and this is a pretty qualified unless) they're in low light.

I think all the other plot holes/dodgy ideas have been touched upon, except the following: how do the two who are alive at the end manage to survive that explosion/fire in an enclosed, basement space without subsequently suffocating? Or was that also part of god's plan?

December 19, 2007 at 5:05 PM  
Blogger Peter Watts said...

Nicholas said...

The number of buzzwords (infortainment!?) and lolcats phrases (evar?) on this blog is becoming alarming. Lol omg wtf.

In my own defense, I thought I'd invented "infortainment" myself on the spur of the moment, and I picked up "evar" from various blogs, exes, and cons. I did not know it was a lolcat term.

Not that there's anything wrong with that...


Derryl Murphy said...

I've heard that the ending (and I'm assuming that's the religious sop you're talking about) did not test well, but that the strike got in the way of them fixing it.

I read that they had succeeded in changeing the ending prior to release. And you ask me, it wasn't no "fix".


dystonia ek said...

I think all the other plot holes/dodgy ideas have been touched upon, except the following: how do the two who are alive at the end manage to survive that explosion/fire in an enclosed, basement space without subsequently suffocating? Or was that also part of god's plan?


I think "God's Plan" consisted of building an entire race of sentient organisms for whom critical thinking is strictly optional. You can pull off a lot of stuff with a single tweak if you do it far enough upstream.

December 21, 2007 at 4:26 PM  
Blogger Bryan Allen said...

Just got back from seeing it with the folks. Enjoyed it (ignoring all the annoying unScience) up until the monsters showed up. Super tedious cop-out at the end. Mother (a Christian) liked the ending, unsurprisingly.

The Deus Ex Meh-china was at least not as bad as Signs (which I also enjoyed up until the Big Bads showed, and again just became laughable with the god stuff).

And seriously: Stop with the goddamn CG monsters. They all look the same, and they all *suck*.

Was the last good scary guy in a rubber suit really Aliens? (Japanese porn notwithstanding).

December 23, 2007 at 11:55 PM  
Blogger Derryl Murphy said...

Saw it. They showed us that Neville was a believer early on, when he prayed with his wife and daughter before they left him. He stopped believing, of course, but...

And to hell with all the religious copouts, how the hell did the woman annd kid get to the ISLAND of Manhattan with her own vehicle, and then leave again? And why even bother throwing them into the mix, since they come so late and do so bloody little?

Incidentally, Bryan, Signs had to have all the god stuff, because it was basically a retelling of the Parsifal legend. But that's another discussion.

D

December 24, 2007 at 12:42 AM  
Blogger Peter Watts said...

Bryan Allen said:

Was the last good scary guy in a rubber suit really Aliens? (Japanese porn notwithstanding).

Maayyybe. Except I don't think you can count Aliens because those guys were just bumpier iterations of the 1979 edition. So I'd claim the shapeshifter from Carpenter's remake of "The Thing" was actually more recent, even though it came out in '82. And I thought that movie was pretty damned effective (various technical and conceptual gaffes notwithstanding).

December 28, 2007 at 11:15 AM  
Blogger Peter's Blog said...

Hey, go to

http://petersexperimentalblog.blogspot.com/

to see my review.

March 10, 2008 at 8:41 AM  

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