Saturday, January 17, 2009

I Am Legend - A Review

ATTENTION: SPOILER ALERT

Some of you may already know that I purchased the Will Smith movie: "I Am Legend" for myself for Christmas. Well... my son, Thomas, and I finally got around to watching it tonight.

I will tell you that I was really looking forward to seeing this flick. I LOVE Will Smith. Everything he does is gold. GOLD! The premise of the movie was right up my alley, too. I love those type of "apocalyptic", "brave new world", "lets begin again" movies. And books too. The concept is exciting, thought provoking. A story based on this premise has Potential, with a capitol P. There are so many things you can do with it. So many ways to tell a story like this.

However, neither Mr. Smith nor anyone else associated with this flick seemed inclined to put forth the effort.

I don't think Will Smith could be bad in a movie, even if he tried. And he's not bad in this one. It's just a weak story. This film could have easily been twice the length, and done right, it would have been great! Epic! Blockbuster! This movie uses flashbacks from the main character to tell us what led to this point. The flashbacks are not seamless. They are abrupt, poorly timed, and at times come a moment too late for the previous scene to make sense in the context of the current action. The flow of the movie is not smooth and it made for an anxious movie watching experience. Leaving this viewer feeling stress and tension where none was intended nor needed.

Furthermore, his family dies, his dog dies, HE dies, and the only characters that are left, that have any speaking part in the movie, are a lady and a boy. The boy is only there as a piece of the scenery, for all I could tell. And they both came in way too late in the movie for you to get to know them. I, at least, expended no emotion on them whatsoever. And they are the ones who survived! If they were going to survive I think they should have given us some background on them too. Something to give us some connection to them, a feel for them.

This movie could have been done so much better. It had Potential. It had a first-class star, it had computer generated monsters, who, in my personal opinion where way uglier than they had to be. And the ending was so abrupt, it had no power. Nothing about it made me think. It just ended. They could have done so much more... given us a look at perhaps the accomplishment of what Will Smith's character died for. Showed us a world getting better, people moving out from their safe place to re-people the world... but no... they show us the woman and kid entering a walled, gated, fortress like, community and that was it. No hopeful ending.

And I'm sorry... I like at least a not depressing ending to my movies. I know that some movies have to have a sad ending for them to be right. This thing ended so abruptly it left no time for tears. The only character you had an emotional investment in died before the ending. This movie was so perfunctorily told. Like a story you might see on your local six o'clock news. Move it along now. We have a schedule to keep. Only the pertinent parts need be told.

Well.... I feel a little like I was cheated. I mean, it was a Will Smith movie for crying out loud! If the movie had starred say... Vin Diesel, then I would have perhaps had lower expectations. Not that I don't like Vin, in fact, I enjoyed his "Chronicles of Riddick" way more than I did "I Am Legend", but you get my point, right? It's the expectation thing. I don't know, perhaps the story line just wasn't anything to get the movie moguls excited and they weren't willing to get up off of enough cash to do this movie properly. But if that's the case, then it shouldn't have been done at all. I'm left with a bad taste in my mouth. I don't think the story was told adequately. There is so much more that could have been done, said, explained, explored. I feel sort of like I was told to expect a 10 course dinner and then only got an appetizer. (Ah... you knew I would get the food reference in there some way or another)

I don't want anyone to think that Will Smith's acting was bad in this film. It was not. Not exactly, that is. It was on par with the story: perfunctory; pared down; minimalistic. Almost like he, too, could have given more, if there had been enough time, enough money, enough interest...

People who love, who adore Will Smith, will want this for their library. I think people who, like me, enjoy this subject matter and enjoy reading about it, or watching movies about it, will be disappointed. There is so much left unsaid. I don't even feel like I watched an entire movie. I am left wondering, "Where's the rest of the story?"

So there it is, I believe that this is my very first movie review. How did I do?


ADDENDUM
Just read the wiki on this movie. I think it would have been much better had they used the alternate ending discussed there. If you saw the movie, you understand why. Parts of the movie led up to this, but then never took you all the way. That's just cruel. I'm even more ticked off now. I could have at least had a "feel good" ending for all my pains of watching the damned thing! Wonder if wally world would give me my money back? Nah... probably not.

13 comments:

Some Kinda Wonderful said...

Thomas just read my review and said he agrees on all points. He also says this, "It wasn't a bad movie, just poorly executed. The design and premise were good, they just didn't put enough effort behind it." I have to say that I agree with him whole-heartedly.

Mr. Mike said...

That was a great review SKW! For better or worse, I felt like I saw the movie a second time. The whole thing reminded me a bit of War of the Worlds, a similar theme (except a zombie virus instead of killer aliens), big star on the run, mass evacuations, etc. And like War of the Worlds it seemed like a lot of money was spent to create mediocre product. But I liked your review a lot. And agreed with it, particularly the ending where the lady and kid literally appear from nowhere looking unscathed by anything.

pamwax said...

I haven't seen the movie and now reading your excellent review I don't think I will bother. I hate to watch a movie with a star that I really like and have it be a disappointment. Great review.

Judy said...

I did not like this movie either. I love Will Smith but this movie left a lot to be desired. Wait until you see Seven Pounds, his new one. I did not like it either. I thought it ended weird and was very depressing. Maybe, it was just me. Anyway, someone I knew had a copy and it was not even released yet. I don't know where he got it. I would like to know what you thought when you do see it.

chaki said...

Thank you for the review. Whole family big Will Smith fans, thought about watching it but won't bother. Loved him and his son in The Pursuit of Happyness... Jada Pinkett and him got themselves a little star.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. My BF and me watched the DVD a day after your review, and we agree with you! Could have been a great movie, if they only had put some more effort in it.

Anna said...

The movie was okay until the ending. I agree that it had potential. I've heard from a lot of people that the book is much different from the movie and a bazillion times better. Great review!

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Arsenette said...

I can't watch depressing movies.. and as much as I love Will Smith I can't watch this one either. (Great review btw!).. Watch Hancock instead :D

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