Will Smith fights to survive and to find a cure for the now zombie infested world he lives in.
Quick reminder about my reviews. A green comment is particularly positive and any orange text is a questionable or negative comment. My scale ranges from 1-5, 1 being very poor and 5 being exceptional.
Acting Performances – 5/5
- Will Smith (Robert Neville) does a fantastic job of portraying the loneliness that accompanies being by yourself for years on end.
- I was very impressed by the dog Sam in the film because she plays an essential part in the film and her presence adds a lot to the overall presentation.
- Alice Braga (Anna) and Charlie Tahan (Ethan) do a solid job of supporting the limited human contact between Robert Neville and other humans.
- The situational emotion/awkwardness that is present is handled well and you don’t have to look for the emotions; they are all present and believable. I particularly enjoyed the initial tension between Neville and Anna; he doesn’t know how to carry himself and you can see the inner turmoil as he considers what to say and do. Will Smith acting chops, check.
Dialogue – 5/5
- All of the commentary is thoughtful and well-articulated.
- The conversations between Neville and Sam are awesome because although Sam is a dog, she fits into a character in the movie really well.
- Doesn’t really count as dialogue but I loved the use of silence in this movie. Consider what it would be like to not have any, I mean any, human contact for 3 years. The silence would indeed be deafening.
Production/Digital Art/Direction – 4/5
- The only reason I didn’t give this category a score of 5 is that I felt the zombies, or darkseekers as they are called in the movie, could have been slightly more human. What I mean is that they felt more like aliens than former humans who have turned into asocial beings. They still retain a lot of their human characteristics, but even the elements that are distinctly human seem alienized. I have the same complaint of the deer at the beginning of the film. They are obviously digital but could have been more life-like.
- All set pieces are really cool, from the subtle to the not-so-subtle, and add to the film. I enjoyed the weapons that Neville used in the film because they are multi-purpose. They are what someone in the military would have used and Neville was an ex-military man. They didn’t give him a marksman rifle and a fully automatic hand gun.
Soundtrack – 4/5
- The music that accompanies the film is creative and accurately represents the situations that Neville finds himself in.
- Everything from the Bob Marley song selection, to the incredible intense scenes when Neville is (sort-of-spoiler) running zombies down in the harbor and when the house is under attack. Simple and effective sound mixing.
Movie Style – 5/5
- Genre tags: horror, sci-fi, drama. This movie nails them all.
- The character development, story, and other movie elements meshed together and it doesn’t feel scattered or loose.
Fun Factor – 5/5
- I Am Legend is an intense movie that gracefully connects the dots from beginning to end. Will Smith does an incredible job showing the psychological impacts of solitude and although this film is mostly dark, there are enough light moments to keep your spirits up.
Random Comments (Potential Spoilers!)
- Alternate Ending? The alternate ending has the alpha male zombie communicating through a butterfly symbol that he just wants his partner (the female experimental serum zombie) back. Neville carts her out to him and the alpha male walks away. A bit strange and certainly less powerful than when Neville gives his life to protect Anna and Ethan.
- The positive in the alternate ending version is one added scene of particular importance. When Neville is fishing in the goldfish pond he figures out that the reason why the fish aren’t “zombied” is because the K-virus can’t survive the cold temperature. That’s why there is a survivor’s colony and Anna’s comment about the virus not surviving the extreme cold of Vermont makes sense. This also explains why the alpha male is the only zombie who risks being exposed to UV, because Neville has his partner.
- How did the darkseekers survive for 3 years with most people dead or turned to zombies? You can come up with your own explanation and it’s not necessary for the movie to detail a reason for their survival, but it’s a long time to simply say they survived because they’re not human anymore. They are still human, mutated, but still human.
- Why does Robert Neville handle his weapon so casually when he sees Fred the mannequin? He was trained in the military to handle a weapon tactfully but he carelessly aims and fires his M4 when shooting at Fred and the windows in the surrounding buildings.
Total Score – 28/30