I Am Legend Francis Lawrence

I Am Legend Francis Lawrence
It’s always amusing to see the spins modern interpretations put on early science fiction, and despite the technology at hand to make everything look as "real” as possible, it’s rarely an easy task — Guy Pearce and The Time Machine, anyone? Like said film, Richard Matheson’s influential 1954 novel I Am Legend has been interpreted before, twice actually, as The Last Man On Earth (starring Vincent Price) and The Omega Man (starring Charlton Heston). But Matheson’s tale of the last man on the planet’s bid to survive both nature and flesh-eating vampires was in need of something. Something a little more big Willie style. Enter box office giant Will Smith, who plays U.S. Army virologist Lt. Col. Robert Neville, a man partially responsible for the outbreak of a lethal virus that wiped out humanity. He lives his days with his German Shepherd Samantha, combing the streets of Manhattan for tasty deer and hiding from the apocalyptic leftovers, a seething militia of ugly humans who’ve turned half-zombie, half-vampire. But Neville is also trying to right his wrong, experimenting on the threat whenever he can catch one of the "monsters” in a bid to hopefully find a cure. Even if you’re unfamiliar with Matheson’s tale, Lawrence’s I Am Legend is a fairly predictable series of events that develop like clockwork. The action is satisfyingly fierce, the CGI is inoffensive and I’ll give it to him, Smith isn’t nearly as arrogant in this role as he could have been, which is most likely due to his canine co-star. However, believing Smith as a brilliant scientist is a real struggle, and why no explanation was given for his fantastic survival from the deadly virus is a pretty massive oversight. The DVD comes with only one real special feature (unless reading comics on your DVD-Rom are of interest), which certainly tops the standard worthless featurette. An alternate version of the film is offered on a second disc, primarily giving the film another ending, which as polar opposite as it is from the theatrical’s conclusion, is even less satisfying. I do find it odd though that this one wasn’t used instead, considering this second ending feels far more Hollywood than the original. But it was a wise choice. (Warner)