Sunday, February 15, 2015

Short Attention Span Review: I Am Legend (2007)

Right off the bat, I want to say that I'm a huge fan of the Richard Matheson novel that this movie is based on.  The book is an absolute classic and you can check out a "Top Vampire Movies and Books" piece I did for RVA Magazine here for more on it.  Suffice it to say that it's a work of fiction that I hold so near and dear to my heart that I shied away from this Will Smith vehicle for quite some time.  Of course, I'm actually a big fan of Charlton Heston's The Omega Man from 1971 (also based on the book, and also a very loose interpretation of the material) as well as the more faithful (but cheaply made) Vincent Price version entitled The Last Man on Earth from 1964, so I couldn't avoid the most recent attempt at bringing this tale to screen forever.  And you know what?  I liked it.  I honestly think it was probably a better picture than either of the previous versions to grace the silver screen, but I still favor The Omega Man.  Will Smith does an awesome job in the 2007 version, but he's not quite in Heston's league.  Smith is modern cinematic royalty, and it's close, but Heston was one of best ever and I preferred his take on the character of Robert Neville.  Anyway, this most recent version of the film exchanges Matheson's vampires for CGI mutants with a powerful thirst for blood and Spider-Man's ability to run, jump, and climb walls.  The CGI can be a little problematic, but the powerful (and heartbreaking) tale of Sam the heroic dog offsets any shortcomings so far as the effects are concerned.  The plot zips along at a nifty pace and there are several rousing action scenes in the mix.  There's also a compelling story and a worthy conclusion--a pair of them actually, as I thought the alternate ending featured on the Blu-Ray I watched was equally potent.  Legendary?  I think not, but definitely worth a watch.  Just be sure to dig up a copy of The Omega Man if you like what you see.

Final Grade: B

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