I Am Legend
Even my legends have legends
Ahhh… moments of greatness, non-sequitur moments of “Signs,” and questionable CGI. Altogether, it is like a beautifully built, racehorse lean Will Smith with a skinny neck — not quite right, but still worthy of praise.
SPOILERS AHEAD — and ones on a movie whose experience benefits from no prior knowledge. I read and enjoyed the novel, and that’s a healthy amount of suspicion-but-no-knowledge going in to the movie.
Moments of greatness
- The dog. Specifically, Neville’s depicted relationship with the dog. Too often a movie dog is treated like a special effect (which, to a certain extent, it is) — alone in frame, performing a command, and focused on its trainer. Almost never do you see a person making out with their dog in the way that, say, I do Jake — holding and cuddling and kissing their head and chewing on their ears. Neville does not chew on Sam’s ears, but he does get some bathing and sleeping time, and that is essentch.
- The cityscape. Neville hunts deer from a Mustang, and there’s something to be said for that. And that thing is “wicked.”
- Judicious use of flashbacks. They’re moving and effective and intense, and tell you everything you need to know (though I don’t quite grasp why Neville needed to be a Lieutenant Colonel, and why that young, hot, active-duty Lt. Col would be stationed in New York.)
- Will Smith. That a master of cocksure sass, and sassy cocksurity, could convey utter submissiveness to a video store mannequin, affirms why I like him so damn much. That and the workout scene, which got an amusing ripple of female appreciation from the theater I was in.
Moments of “Signs”
- CGI monsters. Why? Why. As soon as they were revealed to be Gollumy golems all their menace was sapped for me. Plus I was hopelessly distracted by the fact that the sedated female Dark Seeker’s boobs stuck straight up. Note to digital animators, and animators in general — please research boobs in horizontal position they fall toward the arms kthxbye.
- Mysterious knowledge from earlier in the timeline. It was the weakest part of Signs — why is it here? The choice it motivates — Neville sacrificing himself — doesn’t need it. The three living people make their last stand. The attacking Dark Seeker obviously wants vengeance on Neville — I would have liked to have seen Neville realize he wants the captured female Dark Seeker (callback to the male risking sunlight to pursue her) and try to return her, coming to terms with the humanity of the monsters and the monstrousness of his humanity, Matheson-style. But no.
ShandasRobots: Legend was A+ (except for digital monsters) and then twenty minutes from the end went all generic B action movie
ShandasRobots: Like Terminator 2 if you introduced two new characters with twenty minutes to go and everything before it had been like Bourne Identity
Also in hopes for the novel’s ending is the look on Anna’s face when she surveys the wall of dead Darkseeker photos. And how she’s smiling when Neville says that Bob Marley got shot. I was all like, how are they going to reconcile the digital monsters with the flesh-and-blood Anna? Oh, wait, they’re not.
Now would probably be a good time to get up on my good leg and hop. But I’ll wait
- Trailer for Poughkeepsie Tapes. Great. All the moral atrocity of a snuff film without the illegality of actually killing people. Let’s watch some women die! I don’t get enough of that on CSI!
- Why was I not crying at the death of Sam the dog? I think they way it played out was just too much. My choice on the cry-yours-eyes-out-ometer would have been Neville euthanizing Sam just as she started to get sick. We would see her trust him to the very last — she would hide, and he would have to call her to him so he could put her down — the last goodbyes, the emotional breakdown. I’m really in touch with my inner Whedon when it comes to writing animal tragedy, because of my profound and rather irrational love of Jake.
- And oh yeah — why is Will Smith’s neck so skinny? I have a theory that they wanted his look to be elite survivor at some moments, and hopeless case at others, and that you can put a jacket on a man, but it’s hard to look tragic and vulnerable when you have an 18″ neck.
Just your average forty-year-old lieutenant colonel super-scientist immune to the virus he created. How’s tricks?