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Mild Mannered Reporter Considers I AM LEGEND!!

Merrick here...
Mild Mannered Reporter sent in this extremely positive look at I AM LEGEND. I've known this guy for some time - he's easily one of the coolest, most decent folks I've ever met. Of greater relevance, though: he's not a plant, and he knows his Sci Fi/horror/fantasy/kitsch/etc. better than many of us ever will. With this in mind...
Here's Mild mannered Reporter...
Hi everybody, well, I saw "I am legend" yesterday. Before you scroll down to the actual review, please use the search engine on this site to check out my other reviews. They should clearly indicate that I am a miserable old coot with no life, a deep rooted hatred of Hollywood schlockbusters, and a sincere conviction that a) Akiva Goldsman should burn in hell, and that b) the Fresh Prince just isn't an action star, not matter how much he pumps up (to Dolph Lundgren-esque proportions by now). I have followed the development of this movie since the time it was supposed to star Schwarzenegger (a story perfectly retold in "The greatest sci-fi movies never made" - buy it!). I know the original story, I have the Vincent Price version (odd, but strangely satisfying), I love the Charlton Heston version (I'm a kid of the 70's - sue me), and I recently listened to the superior BBC radio adaptation. All of which should strongly indicate that I went into this screening with a desire to hate whatever the director of numerous J-Lo videos, the writer of "Batman & Robin", and the lead actor from "Wild Wild West" were going to throw at me. And yeah - it started tacky enough: Loads of attention grabbing shots of a digitally depopulated New York coupled with a "chase scene" that combines Fast & Furious-style driving with distractingly obvious CGI animals. But then the movie proper started - and man, it's a BLAST! I don't care what everybody else says, but this bitch ROCKS. Not just because they actually manage to build a plausible backstory (even for the "vampires"), and give the scenario an atmosphere of dread and isolation. No, "I am legend" works because despite all the action sequences and FX fireworks, it's still very much the story of a lonely man incapable of accepting fate. The finer details of the script are too numerous to list here, but if you look for it, everything in the movie has a subtext, a mirror opposite, or some deeper connection. Mankind brings the plague upon itself, and every time things take a turn for the worse, someone has caused it. Even Robert Neville is responsible for everything karma throws at him, and when his carefully balanced world starts to unravel, it's strictly because he made mistakes, ignored facts, slipped up. I can not praise Wil Smith enough in this one - his Robert Neville is a man clearly trying to hold on to his sanity, but man, it is slipping. You can see that his strict daily fitness and security schedule is the only thing that keeps him from going totally bonkers. And when things go from bad to worse (well, in this case from worse to worst), he rapidly unravels. He is no hero. He is frightened, mad, alone, desperate, hateful. That's another thing: Despite the big budget, big property, and big star, "I am legend" is not a heroic blockbuster. It's almost - intimate. There, I said it. Robert Neville might be a trained scientist and soldier, and he is trying to save mankind, but he is also a lost soul. Again, it's all in the details: His daily radio call to find other survivors ends with "Please... you are not alone". And in the "please" we feel his pain, because: HE is alone. I was stunned how well Goldsman and Protosevich have not only updated the original script, but filled out all the blanks, eliminated a ton of inconsistencies, and elevated it from a "survivor movie" to a deeply affecting human drama. Only after seeing this film did I realize how unsatisfying the previous adaptations were. Apart from the core drama, the action scenes are really well done, with enough pizzazz to satisfy die hard movie fans, bit also enough restraint to make them plausible and real (no Michael Bay style editing here). There is also actual suspense built into the action scenes - the "dog attack" is nothing short of stunning. I also liked the way they told the backstory fast, and integrated it into the movie. Zero fat, folks. You may not want to hear this, but "I am legend" is a blockbuster remake that actually stands head and shoulders above the original. Is it a perfect movie? No. The decision to depict the "vampires" as agile CGI creatures was a big mistake. They sap a lot of the reality out of the movie. And they are not very well done, with unconvincing movements and distracting facial tics. And while Neville is never painted as a messiah (see the ending of the Heston version), some unnecessary references to religion and faith could've been eliminated. But that's a matter of personal taste. The story also requires Neville to be immune to the virus, a bigshot soldier, AND a proficient scientist. That's a bit much. I was going to list numerous references to "Ground zero" as a drawback, but thinking about it, "I am legend" actually uses the analogy to its advantage: Seeing Robert Neville in a depopulated city, saying "This is Ground Zero! This is my site! I can still fix this!" works on numerous levels... Final verdict? I am STUNNED. This is better than it has any right to be. While it is not (and was never supposed to be) a true adaptation of the Matheson story, it delivers on the potential and dramatic power of the source material. For anyone who claims that big movies can be big entertainment, but not quality entertainment - this one should shut them up.

Readers Talkback
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  • Dec. 6, 2007, 10:49 p.m. CST




  • Dec. 6, 2007, 10:50 p.m. CST

    Right on I'll prob see this

    by Bean_

    Book sounded really great, glad this turned out alright

  • Dec. 6, 2007, 10:50 p.m. CST

    You're not a plant and I'm not

    by Julius Dithers


  • Dec. 6, 2007, 10:50 p.m. CST

    The only reason I'm excited...

    by dr_john_zoidberg

    about this for the first 6 minutes of TDK on IMAX. *slobber*

  • Dec. 6, 2007, 10:52 p.m. CST


    by systemsbroom

  • Dec. 6, 2007, 10:58 p.m. CST

    Will Smith has funny ears...

    by Fa Fa Fooey

    Hard to take him seriously in anything.

  • Dec. 6, 2007, 10:58 p.m. CST

    The ending

    by calnorso

    I just want an ending that gives the source material the justice it deserves

  • Dec. 6, 2007, 10:59 p.m. CST

    sweet! except for the PG-13 rating

    by Sir Loin

    Glad to hear Lawrence has delivered the goods, I really liked Constantine despite the outcry from the hardcore fans of that series. Just wish it would be a bit rougher with an R rating, thus darker as 28 Weeks Later was awhile back. Ah, well...will definitely be checking this film out a few times.

  • Dec. 6, 2007, 11:12 p.m. CST

    PG-13 ?...

    by JimmyJoe RedSky

    ill wait for the dvd - the unrated (or R rated) directors cut - there always is one of those following an action movie now - especially now that all "adult" themed action movies are rated pg13 - its a general rule in hollywood - if the material reads as r rated make it into a pg13 movie - in the hopes that more people( kids) will go see it - i miss the 1970s, 80s and 90s - i digress - there are still r rated movies - but just crap like "saw" etc.

  • Dec. 6, 2007, 11:14 p.m. CST

    "...but this bitch ROCKS."

    by SpanksterOfLove

    That's really all I needed to hear. I'm there, Fresh Prince be damned.

  • Dec. 6, 2007, 11:16 p.m. CST

    I was gonna read this review

    by icen9ne

    but first I need to water my PLANT!

  • Dec. 6, 2007, 11:28 p.m. CST

    I'm reading the book first

    by Dr. Egon Spengler

    I'm ashamed to say I haven't read the book so I'm doing that before I see the film; something tells me I'm going to like the former a lot more. CGI vampires are lame. CGI vampires that are some fucked up looking creatures are even worse.

  • Dec. 6, 2007, 11:29 p.m. CST

    "Is it a perfect movie?"

    by CloudCleaver

    Anyone who uses the "it's not perfect but ..." approach to writing a review ought to be dragged out and shot in the face.

  • Dec. 6, 2007, 11:37 p.m. CST

    "While it is not (and was never supposed to be)...

    by Francis Begbie

    ...a true adaptation of the Matheson story" Why bother calling it I Am Legend then?

  • Dec. 6, 2007, 11:50 p.m. CST

    Jeebus, people!

    by vic twenty

    Go buy the Omega Man, enjoy the Heston, grab your movie cash and enjoy this one fo nuthin. <p>

  • Dec. 6, 2007, 11:58 p.m. CST

    I'm There! Can't Wait.

    by grievenom

    December 14 can't get here fast enough!

  • Dec. 7, 2007, midnight CST


    by systemsbroom

    Demanding that people not employ the "it's not perfect but . . ." approach to writing a review accelerates our descent into meaningless hyperbole by requiring all reviews to either describe something as perfect or terrible. Sometimes things really are imperfect, but enjoyable. In fact, that's really the best way to describe most good stuff.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 12:16 a.m. CST


    by NomoredirtyjokespleaseweareYanks


  • Dec. 7, 2007, 12:16 a.m. CST


    by Ribbons

    Heh, right on. <br> <br> I don't have much to say about this review except that I wish I were more surprised that there are still TalkBackers who insist the writer is a plant despite the fact that one of the site editors vouched for him and his history as a critic is all well-documented online. It's almost as if they want to hate this movie so badly that they think they can will him into being a plant. Anyway, I've never read the book and my natural reaction to all of Will Smith's blockbuster movies is a considerable dose of cynicism, but the previews do look intersting and I've been hoping that it turns out to be good. With any luck I'll wind up coming out of the theater agreeing with this review.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 12:17 a.m. CST


    by NomoredirtyjokespleaseweareYanks

    I'm pretty interested in this, as long as its more I Robot than ID4

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 12:22 a.m. CST

    Ribbons um yeah, what you said.

    by NomoredirtyjokespleaseweareYanks

    this looks at least worth a watch, these people aren't happy with James Cameron, Spielberg, Lucas, Darabont or George Miller. What makes you think their irrational brains can concieve of this film being entertaining?

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 12:25 a.m. CST

    Is Anthony Zerbe in it?

    by Bob Cryptonight

    Just askin'.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 12:31 a.m. CST

    "You may not want to hear this" ...

    by Shan

    ... of course we want to hear it! We want this movie to be good. I just hope I (personally) agree with you after seeing it.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 12:33 a.m. CST


    by TheDohDoh

    The CGI vampires ruin it for me. Sorry, but there is no excuse to use them.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 12:55 a.m. CST

    Why is this in Contests?

    by INWOsuxRED

    I don't see any contests here.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 12:56 a.m. CST

    PG-13. Again? Hadn't enough of the DIE HARD 4 bs?

    by Motoko Kusanagi

    History repeats itself.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 1:31 a.m. CST

    This is gonna suck...but I'm still gonna see it!

    by Zardoz

    'cause I'm gonna see it in IMAX and I want to see the Dark Knight trailer. (and I'm an idiot!) BTW, I read the Schwarzennegar version of the script years ago and it was an abomination; there's no way this is gonna be any good...

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 1:46 a.m. CST

    HA! But he didn't get to see the first 7 minutes! Which I did!

    by iamnicksaicnsn

    IT WAS FUCKING GLORIOUS. Better than anyone could have even fucking possibly imagined. I'm so totally confident in this movie now, it's insanity.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 2:19 a.m. CST

    R movies suck

    by ironic_name

    2001: g <P> batman: mask of the phantasm: pg <P>batman begins: pg<P>superman: pg<P>blade runner: m15<P>most hitchcock and wells: pg.<P>AND diehard1: m15.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 3:19 a.m. CST

    If not a true adaptation, then why mislead fans with the title?

    by KillaKane

    Not going to waste money on this, I'll wait for it to hit Sky.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 3:49 a.m. CST

    Please use the search engine on this site...

    by Boba Fat

    That's the funniest opening to a review this year.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 4:42 a.m. CST

    WHEN does the cretin say "Aw, hail naw!"???

    by JackPumpkinhead

    Nobody who reviews this answers that most important question! It's almost as if... sheesh, as if Smith never said it in the entire movie. Maybe A. H. N. is listed in the ending credits...

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 5:34 a.m. CST

    Please be right

    by redfist

    Or the collective nerdom will hunt you down and kill your disco ass. Great review sir.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 5:48 a.m. CST

    Robert ...

    by wazza


  • Dec. 7, 2007, 5:49 a.m. CST

    No really,

    by wazza

    sounds like it could be alright. Trailer was good. Hard to top Heston though.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 6:33 a.m. CST


    by crweb

    Really, has to be. Also if this was not intended to be an adaptation of the Matheson novel then why use the title. This is a remake of Omega Man.

  • it was this review and the hope that this movie is actually all this reviewer has claimed it to be. It might even allow me to wash away the sin in my soul that was called "Wild Wild West".

  • in these movies is for us to stop going to see them...

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 8:11 a.m. CST

    So does anyone know.....

    by Gunslinger1919

    does this "rockin' bitch" have the ending found in the original story by Matheson...??? --G

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 8:44 a.m. CST

    smackfu- Hating on Will Smith is like.....

    by redfist

    Hating on Kevin the trend in AITC.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 8:47 a.m. CST

    I think the film will be fine......

    by bugkill

    because the story and the setting will make it work. I don't have a problem with Will Smith being the lead in the film, but I am worried about the CGI infected. There have way too many films that have featured very realistic looking "vampires" with only makeup (like Blade II and the 28 days films). All in all, I look forward to seeing the film.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 8:56 a.m. CST

    Robert Neville backstory

    by zinc_chameleon

    Robert Neville in the 1954 novel, was a police detective who had a brilliant driven scientist for a father. Neville was a college drop-out, and his father never forgave him. A sub-plot--very clever indeed--is Neville having to develop his natural scientific skills from *scratch* while dealing with: alcohol abuse, loneliness, and last but not least, cleaning dead vampire women off his lawn every frickin' morning. You've gotta hand it to Richard Matheson. Nobody was doing scifi character in the 1950's the way he did...well maybe Henry Kuttner, but that's about it.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 9:14 a.m. CST

    "Never supposed to be a true adaptation"??

    by Guy Who Got A Headache And Accidentally Saves The World

    Well you could have fooled me, what with calling it I AM LEGEND and everything.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 9:20 a.m. CST

    6 minutes of Dark Knight?

    by Sigmar25

    What about the 6 minutes of 'Dark Knight' they ran before the movie?

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 9:23 a.m. CST

    Aw, hail naw

    by Gforce1992

    Has been edited to Aw (gunshot) Naw

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 9:38 a.m. CST

    so sick of cgi creatures

    by pikagreg

    is it really that hard to make someone pale and put fangs on them, for gods sake? still want to see it though

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 9:46 a.m. CST

    "This bitch ROCKS"

    by Abominable Snowcone the new AWESOME. The movie is called "I Am Legend." Maybe the review should have been called "I Am Plant."

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 10 a.m. CST

    Voices of the creatures

    by thebizzle76

    Read this on the other day that the "voices" of the vampires were all done by Mike Patton! Given some of his more avant-garde work I think the creatures might be pretty creepy sounding!

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 10:02 a.m. CST

    PG-13? check, Crap CGI? check

    by OgreYouAsshole

    Wonderful, another missed opportunity at a great horror flick. Bring back the rubber prosthetics!!!

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 10:04 a.m. CST


    by crweb

    I don't know what book you were reading. I have it on my night stand and have read it many times. Nowhere in the book does it state or even infer that Neville was a police detective or that his father was a scientist. Neville was a factory worker, a regular Joe, if you will. His did rebel agains his fathers logical clinical thinking.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 10:16 a.m. CST

    Will Smith is essentially helping sumb down society

    by Han Cholo

    I mean the guy gets nominated for an Oscar now? I thought those were reserved for actors who actually can act and don't play themselves in every subsequent film they star in. Now with this film we're supposed to believe he's a scientist and a soldier? The guy can't even act like he's smart during interviews, cracking stupid jokes and never having anything real to say. Cmon.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 10:18 a.m. CST

    My above post proves it....

    by Han Cholo

    Can't even spell dumb anymore.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 10:20 a.m. CST

    BAHAHAHA Gforce killed it

    by Unlabled

    Aw, hail naw by Gforce1992 Dec 7th, 2007 09:23:43 AM Has been edited to Aw (gunshot) Naw

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 10:23 a.m. CST

    Thanks for the review

    by Mullah Omar

    I have wanted to see this for a while now. The fact that a sci-fi fan with close knowledge of the material and an innate dislike of Will Smith still strongly enjoyed this film makes me even more excited to check it out. I'll be seeing this on an IMAX screen for sure.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 10:29 a.m. CST

    MSN had a similar review...

    by BLEST

    where they say that Smith does some of his best here, as the lone madman trying to stay sane. (think Cast Away, with "vampires") So it's not just this guy who's had a good review. I'll be seeing this opening weekend. I don't care what anybody says, I like Will Smith. Always have, from the tv show to Bad Boys, to ID4, to MIB, to Enemy of the State, to I Robot, to Ali (in which he DESERVED that Oscar nom), to Pursuit of Happyness...he's a great actor TO WATCH. He's not the best or anything, in fact mostly he's just popcorn fun, but I enjoy him onscreen. He's a cool, funny guy to go on some little adventure with. And every now and then he turns in an actual GOOD acting performance, like in Ali or Happyness. I've always supported Will (except for the WWW, MIB 2, and Bad Boys 2 phase, that was nonsense), and confess that as an 8th grader in '97 I got Jiggy wit it. The trailer for TDK will just be icing on the cake for me.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 11:23 a.m. CST

    Canned weight. Such a huge fan.

    by Christopher3

    BTW, like Lundgren, Smith got a scholarship to MIT. Which he turned down.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 11:30 a.m. CST

    just saw "i am legend"

    by BigTexas42

    it was all-hell-naw-some!

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 11:32 a.m. CST


    by BigTexas42

    you know what i meant. *need edit feature for us morons who don't check b4 we post*

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 11:38 a.m. CST

    Mild Mannered Reporter reporting back...

    by SoupSpitter

    Wow, I was expecting much more negative feedback - Talkbacks are notorious for WANTING movies to fail. Just wanted to clear up a few things: The screening I attended did NOT have the TDK clip (DAMN!). The movie has a "sorta" happy end, and it's nothing like the book - it RESEMBLES the ending of the Heston movie, though. I believe that the credits after the movie actually confirm that it is "based on the original screenplay by", and not the novel (but my recollection is hazy on that one). It never occurred to me that this was PG rated, since the movie never ventures into territory where the rating would be an issue. The minor amount of gore and violence FELT entirely sufficient, and it's NOT a cop out on any level. And to those of you who still think I am a plant: suck my dick.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 11:42 a.m. CST

    by zinc_chameleon

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 11:44 a.m. CST

    Sorry about that, crweb

    by zinc_chameleon

    I'm mixing up the Vincent Price character with the novel. VP was a detective or policeman of some sort, he was responsible for one of the pits, if I remember correctly. the novel, Robert Neville's dad was some kind of accomplished person, not just a whiner.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 12:14 p.m. CST

    Thank you Mild Mannered...

    by v1

    For two things: 1) Making me actually LOL with the following quote - "And to those of you who still think I am a plant: suck my dick." Well played sir, well played. 2) Making me feel a whole lot better about my excitement for this movie. Let me first go on record to say, I like Will Smith. I enjoy the pop-corn action flicks that he is often involved with (excluding WWW). I don’t think of them as good films, I think of them as good FLICKS, and there is a VERY big distinction between the two. That being said, when I saw the first preview I KNEW I needed to see this movie opening weekend. As I learned more about the premise of the story I Am Legend I opted to read the story. I loved it. I thought it was an amazing departure from the traditional vampire lore. I also thought it was an intense look at one man’s struggle to maintain his sanity when facing two distinct horrors. One, having no human contact for three years, and facing the fact that he could possible be the ONLY human left in the world. And as if that was not enough of a total mind fuck, he must contend with being hunted (and haunted) but vampires every night. How someone could manage this without dropping his basket is almost beyond comprehension. After reading the book, and seeing the previews (which are chocked full of action, and don’t reflect on much of the torture Neville faces) I resigned myself to the fact that this version of I Am Legend would be far more action packed, and a definite deviation from the feel of the book. After reading your review, I feel confident that the movie balances these two opposing forces. It sounds as if Will Smith’s was able to tap into the acting talent shown in 6 Degrees, Ali, and Happyness, to show the vulnerability and desperation that was the essence of Matheson’s Neville. In contrast to resorting to the ID4, I Robot, Bad Boys (all FLICKS that I enjoyed) carbon copy Will Smith persona. You sir, have made my day. I will see the movie (in IMAX for the TDK preview) opening weekend and look to enjoy seeing Will Smith’s mentally tortured and deteriorating take on Robert Neville move on to KICK SOME VAMPIRE ASS!

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 12:17 p.m. CST

    Sorry, total NOOB

    by v1

    Can someone tell me how to leave spaces between paragraphs? Thanks.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 12:27 p.m. CST

    "Suck My Dick?" Oh HELL NAW!

    by Read and Shut Up

    The "book" (which is actually more of a lengthy short-story) is terrific. The last line of the story is its title - how kewl is that? Anyhoo, lay off Willy. This sounds pretty good.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 12:27 p.m. CST

    Mild Mannered

    by skimn

    Hey, you know us TB'ers. When a second review comes out that is wildly positive, following an initial negative review, the first impulse is to respond, " I better PLANT my feet firmly to the ground to see this doctor told me I should have more PLANT fiber in my diet..I better PLANT PLANT my PLANT PLANT PLANT PLANT." Just sayin'. By the way I don't think you're a PLANT.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 12:40 p.m. CST

    Thanks Xiphos

    by v1

    I'll give this a quick Test Run. I’m going to try it a couple ways to make sure I understand. Test #1: hitting enter, putting in the code then writing the next line = <p> Or, Test #2: typing one line, then just putting in the code then typing the next line.<p>Now lets see which worked.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 12:41 p.m. CST

    Both worked, now I'm a little less of a NOOB

    by v1

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 1 p.m. CST

    Mild Mannered Reporter...

    by Abin Sur

    Why weren't you SoupSpitter in the review? I smell bullshit. Merrick, is this the REAL MMR?

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 1:01 p.m. CST

    Is Will Smith gonna do a rap song

    by Abominable Snowcone

    for this movie, like with Wild West? Jesus that was shit. <p> Here Ize am all alone in the city<br> Building's all crumbled and nothing looks pretty <br> Nighttime comes, to hide I'll go<br> Vampires, vampires, all HAIL NO

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 1:09 p.m. CST


    by polyh3dron

    Plant status CONFIRMED.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 1:14 p.m. CST

    Abin Sur...

    by SoupSpitter

    ... it's me. SoupSpitter is my Talkback nickname, and when I wrote my first review for AICN years ago, I decided to go with another nick. If you check my "30 days of night" review, you can see the pattern - I review as MMR, but I comment as SoupSpitter, since I can't be arsed to change my account. Oh, and I almost forgot: Yes, I find Smith's ears irritating as hell. I found myself thinking (during a very dramatic exchange in the movie, no less): "he should really have those fixed".

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 1:15 p.m. CST

    Did you just try to bite me?

    by Abominable Snowcone

    You nasty ass vampire? Aw, naw you DINT! BLAM! No one ruins MAH jacket!

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 1:19 p.m. CST

    OK, I'll buy it....

    by Abin Sur

    Since you actually answered my question in a civil way. ;) I'm going to see the screening Monday in Atlanta, so this review has me more excited than before. Are there ANY non-CGI vamps in the movie? I've seen the shot in the commercial of the 4 vamps surrounding Will Smith - even they looked a little fake and straight outta Blade 2 (which should go a long way with Harry).

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 1:23 p.m. CST

    zinc_chameleon pt 2

    by crweb

    No problem. I watched Last Man On Earth again the other night. Price's character, for some reason his name is changed to Robert Morgan, is a scientist in that film adaptation. The script for Last Man On Earth was written by Richard Matheson using the pen name Logan Swanson. Oddly enough Heston was at one time looking to addapt a novel titled Progeny Of The Adder, published in '65, in which he would have played a cop tracking down a vampire in D.C. I read it recently and it was VERY similer to The Night Stalker. I'm surprised the author of Night Stalker, Jeff Rice, didn't get sued, it's that similer, in my opinion.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 1:30 p.m. CST

    Now I am scared...

    by SoupSpitter

    ... that I got all your hopes up way too high, and that you'll kill me if you don't enjoy the movie as much as I did. @ Abin Sur: I think that some really basic shots (four vamps standing in the dark, their backs to Neville; a female vamp lying on an operating table) may have been actors in makeup, but these days, that's hard to say. Mostly, they are jumping and clawing and hissing in a way that only really mediocre CGI can provide...

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 1:52 p.m. CST

    "Nighttime comes, to hide I'll go...

    by BLEST

    Vampires, Vampires, ahh hail no."<p> Abominalbe Snowcone FTW. <p> ROFL!

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 1:52 p.m. CST

    Whoop, that should be "Abominable". sry.

    by BLEST

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 2:11 p.m. CST


    by skimn

    Just curious, did you go into this with very VERY low expectations..because thats one positive review.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 2:13 p.m. CST

    @ Skimn...

    by SoupSpitter

    ... well, read the first paragraphs again - I went in with every intention of hating this movie. I came out loving it. And yet - I HATE it when that happens. Emotions are a very strange thing...

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 2:25 p.m. CST


    by skimn

    Good enough for me, sir. I got some sneak preview tix for Monday...

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 2:36 p.m. CST

    Oh and to clear up my point

    by skimn

    Sometimes when going into a movie with very low expectations, if it turns out better than you expected, it colors your attitude toward it. It may make a passable movie better than it was in your opinion.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 3 p.m. CST

    @ Skimn again

    by SoupSpitter

    I wouldn't actually rule that out - maybe the movie is just good, and "just good" was so far removed from my expectations that I mistook it for "fucking brilliant". I am interested to read about other AICN readers' opinions...

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 3:02 p.m. CST

    Thanks, Soup...

    by Abin Sur

    Now if I DON'T like this movie, I'm going to hunt you down and beat you senseless with a copy of Matheson's book.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 3:02 p.m. CST


    by Abin Sur

    What city are you gonna be seeing the sneak peek in?

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 3:30 p.m. CST

    Grand Rapids

    by skimn


  • Dec. 7, 2007, 3:41 p.m. CST


    by GibsonUSA

    I detect bias.<BR> Alvin, Simon and Theodore (especially Theodore) are about to beat Will Smith ans shock you all.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 3:47 p.m. CST


    by skimn

    'Specially cuz the munks get all gansta up in his ass. Yo Alvin..

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 3:49 p.m. CST

    Seeing this on tuesday.

    by Novaman5000

    I'm pretty excited, despite the mixed reviews coming out about it.

  • Lame. I almost bought this guy's story at first before I read this 'tell' of his that proves he's a planty mcplanterson. If it was "never supposed to be a true adaptation of the Matheson story" then don't call it 'I Am Legend' for fucks sake! <br> <br> It's really a shame that a book as good as I Am Legend couldn't have a faithful adaptation after three fucking attempts...

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 3:56 p.m. CST


    by crweb


  • Dec. 7, 2007, 4:07 p.m. CST

    just read another stale review of it online


    and the concensus seems to be that the shitty vampire CGI kills anything else this had going for it. <P>and even though i didn't like all that was in the old script (with the orc-like race of hemocytes) the science behind it made more sense, and as a whole sounded better than what i'm reading this version went with.<P> although i have to say the script where the 'bad guy' is impaled and struck by lightening...sucked major

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 4:49 p.m. CST

    Unless Will Smith suddenly raised

    by veritasses

    his acting skills, it's hard to believe that he's good in a role that requires so much range and isolated screen time. Pursuit of Happiness, Hitch, WWW, MiB, I Robot, Bagger Vance (probably one of his worst performances) etc all show Smith as mediocre at best. Heavy in the melodrama with shallow interpretations of human emotions/reactions and no depth in his performances. No sense of a genuine person living in his characters. I should clarify that he's not nearly as bad as say a Mario van Peebles or any cast member from an Aaron Spelling series but I'd be really surprised if he's as good as Mild Mannered Reporter states.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 6:58 p.m. CST

    Done with CGI

    by catlettuce4

    I've gotten too bored with the cartoonish looking CGI in movies. It's something I don't understand. Way back in 1997, the CGI in Starship Troopers seemed better than most of what I see today.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 7:11 p.m. CST

    If you are going JUST for Dark Knight footage...

    by CarmillaVonDoom

    ...PLEASE buy a ticket for something else. Hell, buy a ticket for something else even if you are going to see this P.O.S. in name only version of a GREAT book!

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 8:22 p.m. CST

    The Ballad Of David Manning!

    by IckvinIvanlinner

    While randomly accusing anyone that doesn't constantly bad mouth and prejudge movies to death of being a plant is fun and all, do none of you remember David Manning? You probably shouldn't, because he never existed. Sony Pictures invented him to give positive reviews of their movies, but when they were caught it led to massive amounts of bad PR, and it's believed to have made several of their movies released soon afterwards flop. Now, imagine all that, only in the days of YouTube, MySpace and endless pointless news stories on CNN, and blatantly made-up news on Fox News, and add in the person hired to do all this, demanding that people perform oral sex on him if they do not believe his lies? There is absolutely no way, any company would risk that much bad PR over the extra three tickets that a positive review on a notoriously unreliable web site (Godzilla '98 is the single greatest movie ever made, just as a for instance.) might bring in.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 8:32 p.m. CST

    Ultimately though...

    by IckvinIvanlinner

    You're all so focused on hating everything released by anyone that you can't stand the fact that someone actually allowed themselves to enjoy a movie instead of spending the full two hours thinking of brand new baseless complaints about the fact that a production involving hundreds of people not fitting exactly to your personal vision for a novel that's existed for longe then everyone here has been alive, most likely, and been interpreted by more people that will be swayed by a poorly planned spiel about the problems of trying to be entertaining instead of simply making a page for page adaptation of something that was not intended as a movie.

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 10:40 p.m. CST

    M. Night's new movie

    by icen9ne

    has a poster out. It's the flick with the killer PLANT!

  • Dec. 7, 2007, 11:03 p.m. CST

    to quote catlettuce4


    "Way back in 1997, the CGI in Starship Troopers seemed better than most of what I see today." yeah seriously, what the hell? i too remember graphics of that time being better ....maybe because they were still imperfect- like the world- where as now they are sooo damn clean and detailed and accurate they stick out from the film quality itself. this shit has to stop.

  • Dec. 8, 2007, 3:47 a.m. CST


    by sleepyvillain


  • Dec. 8, 2007, 7:10 a.m. CST

    Well explained, Cobra-Kai

    by SoupSpitter

    ... I would add that the human eye also registers CGI flaws much faster in humanoid characters. We are so used to imperceptibly judging weight, proportion, speed and motion, that it is still VERY hard to fool our instincts. And "I am legend" gets up close with critters, allowing you to practically count the pixels. But since the vampires are not the core of the drama, they are less distracting than in, say, Van Helsing. And I do think that the fake lions and deer in the opening sequence are worse.

  • Dec. 8, 2007, 9:19 a.m. CST


    by crweb

    Read the book. Have you been in contact with Matheson? How do you know it was never intended to be a movie? If you read the book you will see that it is one of the most filmable novles ever written. So much so that you could, litteraly, use the book as the script. We just want a faithful adaptation of the novel. I don't think anyone here is trying to dump on someone for enjoying a movie. I enjoy a lot of bad movies. But I admit that they're bad, but I enjoy them anyway. Saying you enjoy something, and saying it's good, or great, are two completly different things. If you think that a studio is not above using a plant to help recoup what is going to be well over 200 mil, after advertising, distribution and other post production costs, then you are quite naive.

  • Dec. 8, 2007, 1:31 p.m. CST

    I didn't say plants don't exist...

    by IckvinIvanlinner

    I said that a paid plant would never tell you to perform oral sex on them, and that not every person that enjoys a movie is a plant.

  • Dec. 9, 2007, 12:05 a.m. CST

    "Oscar Talk? AWWW, HELL NAWWW!!!"

    by MrMysteryGuest

    It's true! I saw a commercial where a critic said that "I Am Legend" is an Oscar contender!

  • Dec. 9, 2007, 2:33 a.m. CST

    But the Protosevich script was so bad.

    by s00p3rm4n

    Hummers and flat screens and an inexplicably fortified compound, oh my. The original script sucked. I don't care how even-handed and knowledgeable this reviewer is, I just refuse to believe that Akiva Goldsman could make a bad thing better.

  • Dec. 9, 2007, 7:51 a.m. CST


    by crweb

    Again, I have no problem with someone enjoying a movie, good or bad, but only if they make a judgement call as to the quality of a movie. I have no reason to think that the poster or editors of this site should be above reproach. Seriously. I realize that faithful novel to screen adaptations are rare. Sometimes the source material demands alteration in order to create a cohesive screen narative. And I whould have not have had as big a proble with this film as I do IF they had not called it I Am Legend. As many of the people who have posted have stated, why call it I Am Legend if it is not supposed to be the novel. In this case the novel offers an excelent chance to make a strict novel to screen translation, if anyone bothers to read it. To state that movies will always be different from the books is to make a statement as to what will happen in the future which, unless you are a prophet, I don't think you are qualified to do. Will some films be faithful to their source material and some differ widely from it, yes. But this is a case where it did not have to be this way. These changes were made out of hubris and ego, nothing more. If the studios didn't think the title I Am Legend would sell why use the title this time? I would have had no problem with this film if they had called it The Omega Man, which it is.

  • Dec. 9, 2007, 8:42 a.m. CST

    John Logan's script

    by eXcommunicated

    I read John Logan's run on this material years ago. I quite liked it. It was set in L.A.

  • Dec. 9, 2007, 10:06 a.m. CST

    Does the dog die?

    by DarthBakpao

    i gotta know, i just gotta know

  • Dec. 9, 2007, 10:08 a.m. CST

    The chance of me seeing this movie

    by DarthBakpao

    depends on the fate of the dog. If he lives, i'll see it, if he don't, i won't.

  • Dec. 10, 2007, 3:30 a.m. CST

    DarthBakpao, the dog is sent to live on a farm.

    by Dingbatty

    With lots of space to run. ;-)

  • Dec. 10, 2007, 8:32 a.m. CST


    by DarthBakpao

    You'd better not lie to me, 'cause i'll take my 8 dogs to see it on the opening day... They had a blast with Underdog

  • Dec. 10, 2007, 12:49 p.m. CST

    Matherson will be proud

    by NovaBlue

    I watched a screening on friday in leicster square, beina a huge fan of the original book, v prices adapt, omega man and even the graphic novel, I def had bad vybes for this movie, will smith being one of them!! but after the film ended I clapped and cheered....AWESOME and the review above is correct in every thing ill add tho is the terror comes from the sound..SO GO WATCH THIS AT A DECENT CINEMA............Come out neville!!!!!!!!

  • Dec. 11, 2007, 6 a.m. CST

    Matheson will stay home.

    by crweb

  • Dec. 11, 2007, 11:50 p.m. CST

    why is this in the CONTESTS section of AICN?

    by Jubba

    i'm confused....