I will start this by saying:
1) I obsessively love Richard Matheson. I Am Legend in book form is probably one of the most amazing things I have ever read. I finished it in like a day and a half. He also wrote for Twilight Zone, Star Trek, Night Gallery, and the stories that What Dreams May Come and Stir of Echoes were based on (and that’s just the tip of the iceberg). In short, I adore him.
2) I am very familiar with the other 2 “remakes”. Although the only good thing about Omega Man was Chuck’s jumpsuits.
3) I went into this ready to pick it to pieces. But I held on to this odd hopefulness that it would be able to fill the void left by the other 2 attempts.
Oh, and it did.
It did not follow the book exactly. Most of the themes and ideas were just loosely based. But the reason why I let that slide is because the emotion of the original story remained. It came through with a resounding clarity that the other remakes could not capture. So it really didn’t matter that the setting was altered, the time line was slightly skewed, or that Robert Neville was black.
The end was completely different from the book. Like totally different. Like had I walked into the theater during the last 10 minutes I would have just assumed I made a terrible mistake. I am not going to bore you with what actually happened and what, for all intents and purposes, should have. Just know it was not in sync with the original tale. So if it seemed a bit out of place or hollow, that’s cuz it was.
The ending did not detract from I Am Legend 2007. It worked on a more literal happy Hollywood level then what I like. But hey, ya can’t win em all.
I can honestly say that Will Smith did an amazing and convincing job. He didn’t act like Will Smith once. The “monsters” were not monsters at all. So you might be disappointed if you go in to this expecting a zombie flick or a gore fest. The original idea behind it all is that these “creatures” were just us. Just a different and more strange race. Granted one of the characteristics of the virus in this film (unlike the book and other films) was the rage that it carried with it. These creatures didn’t speak or reason, they just attacked (although the story was building on them developing more typically human characteristics…) Blah Blah Blah… I warned you I was obsessed blah blah blah. To sum it all up. Don’t be pissy about the monsters, or lack there of, because they were never supposed to be monsters! They are mutated people.
Oh, and I cried. A lot. One word: puppy.
So, I am super duper biased. I love this story, I love the setting (big ups to NYC!!), I love puppies, and (despite the liberties taken with the ending) I think this film was a great success. Robert Neville isn’t a legend because he found a cure… If you want Matheson’s true vision, read the book.