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Science Fiction - I Am Legend

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I Am Legend
Will Smith, Alice Braga
Directed by Francis Lawrenced
Based on the Richard Matheson Novella
Warner Home Video 2008
101 minutes

I Am Legend is the screen adaptation of the 1954 novella by Richard Matheson. Matheson is best known for his original Twilight Zone scripts (especially Nightmare at 20,000 feet), and collaboration on many SF or fantasy pictures such as Star Trek or Something Wicked This Way Comes. As a DVD, I Am Legend is a good experience overall though schizophrenic and a little frustrating at times even if, like any self-respecting male, you have a big ass TV screen.

The premise is a scientist, Alice Krippin, came up with a cancer vaccine using measles as the carrier. Three years later the vaccine has created a race of sub humans and scientist and military man Robert Neville is the only human left in New York City. By day he hunts for food and a cure, by night he tries to stay away from the creatures of the night referred to, only in the subtitles, as hemocytes. Part of Neville's studies involve trying out his experimental cure against hemocytes he captures. When he captures a female creature, her mate is quite pissed and goes after Neville.

I Am Legend is pretty good in terms of apocalypse scenario movies. What is frustrating about this movie is Neville -who in Matheson's novella is Germanic, blue-eyed, and a smoker-is borderline nuts at times but the movie seems to toss it in as an accidental story line it forgets to follow. More frustrating is you are supposed to get some of the back story through a Time Magazine cover and a newspaper article on a fridge door but are not allowed to see them.

Will Smith is very good as Robert Neville with a bit of his Independence Day persona. The CGI here is really average: the deer are laughable while the hemocytes look like camouflage painted rejects from a Spiderman movie.

I Am Legend entertains and gets your pulse up a couple of times. I get the feeling it could have been a better movie but this version entertains

Extra features include comic book style shorts about what happened elsewhere. The one set in Colorado is especially awful, the others interesting no more even the one written by Orson Scott Card.

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