Based on the 1954 novel by Richard Matheson, 'I Am Legend', which opens on December 14th of this year, is actually the fourth film adaptation of the novel. Adapted by screenwriter Akiva Goldsman ('The Da Vinci Code', 'A Beautiful Mind') and Mark Protosevich and Directed by Francis Lawrence ('Constantine'), the film is about what happens when an airborne virus destroys most of the human race. Will Smith, who is captivating to watch from moment one, plays Scientist Robert Neville possibly the last remaining human on earth who was immune to the virus that obliterated the planet.
The film's run time is barely ninety minutes, which is perfect for anyone with ADD. However, for those of us who are looking for a bit more substance and an ending that leaves more to be desired, you may be bound for disappointment.
That said, Will Smith's performance is mesmerizing and since most of the film relies solely on him, the film is well worth the price of admission. In fact, for most of the film Smith's only interaction is with his dog Samantha and the landscape of New York City.
The setting of the film is real, no fake buildings here as the cast and crew were able to shut down parts of the city for days at a time (to the chagrin of those living in the city at the time). The opening sequence of the film where Smith is driving 80mph up and down a deserted Time Square is really magnificent to watch. For those of us who have dreamt of the day we could barrel through New York city in break neck speeds without any traffic, this is the perfect opportunity to live vicariously through Will Smith's character.
Newcomer Alice Braga, niece of Sonia Braga and only twenty-four, makes an appearance in the film in the last half hour and easily holds her own with Smith. It is a performance that is far beyond her years and she pulls it off with grace and ease.
A performance that is quite disappointing is that of the creatures. Some victims of the virus did not die and some that survived turned into creatures that were part zombie and part vampire. The creatures were created with CGI technology and were at times laughable. What could have and certainly should have been jump out of your seat scary became humorous.
The film is rated PG-13 and it became quite clear why. Those moments that should have and could have been horrifically scary simply weren't. It seems as though the filmmakers decided it was better to have a film that was more family friendly than downright petrifying, which for this reviewer is simply too bad.
'I am Legend' could have been legendary, but with a fair script and bad CGI, the only thing that is legendary is the title itself.
'I Am Legend' opens everywhere December 14th.
View the 'I Am Legend' Photo Gallery