Review: I Am Legend

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Last week I saw the trailer for the new Will Smith movie, I Am Legend. I thought it looked pretty cool, so I did some digging and discovered that it was based on a book by Richard Matheson. The concept sounded pretty interesting, so I ordered it via Amazon. Let me just say - there is no way in heck that Will Smith will be able to pull off this movie anywhere near as cool as the book was. The basic premise involves a man who is the sole survivor of a plague that has turned the world into vampires. What makes this story so darn interesting (and frankly blows away Ann Rice's yawnfest) is how deeply you get into the mind of the main character.

Here is a guy who - as far as he knows - is the last person left alive. Every night his house is surrounded by the undead who try to convince him to come outside. The desperation, loneliness, and anger is completely believable. Unlike many of the books I've read lately, this one is short (170 pages or so) and incredibly intense. There is no "bloat" at all to this book. There are scenes in this book that I will never forget (and I'd bet won't even come close to making it on screen). If you are looking for a "different" vampire tale (and a truly different "End of the World" type book as well), then I'd heartedly recommend "I M Legend."

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Raymond is a senior developer evangelist for Adobe. He focuses on document services, JavaScript, and enterprise cat demos. If you like this article, please consider visiting my Amazon Wishlist or donating via PayPal to show your support. You can even buy me a coffee!

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Archived Comments

Comment 1 by James, F.E. posted on 6/25/2007 at 8:57 PM

I didn't know they were making another film based on the book. Thanks for the heads up.

Yep, this is a very old book, but still a good one. I agree there are parts that do not translate very well from the written word to the big screen. I wonder if the producers will keep it like the book, or take great liberties with it like was done with I, Robot. Probably the latter. Too many potential gory special effects they could do with a storyline like this.

It's been made into two movies already. It was made into the 1964 movie 'Last Man on Earth' starring Vincent Price. (Scared the crap out of me when I was 8...) It was also the basis for the 1971 movie The Omega Man, starring Charlton Heston.

Comment 2 by Raymond Camden posted on 6/25/2007 at 9:00 PM

I'm going to add both movies to my wishlist. Could be interesting. I'm a big fan of old sci-fi stuff.

Comment 3 by RobW posted on 6/25/2007 at 9:03 PM

It looks like this book has had a couple of movie treatments already but a Will Smith version could be alright.

Comment 4 by David posted on 6/25/2007 at 9:57 PM

I wouldn't quite count out Will Smith yet...I think he's proven he can do a good job when given good direction.

The question I have is regarding the screen play. I haven't read the book (I'll add it to my list!) but the movie description seems to be going in an opposite direction. They mention "zombies" and "infected".... hmmm... "28 days later", anyone?

I really hope they treat the audience with respect, and assume a certain level of intelligence and/or understanding. With 28 days later, you got the disease via human fluids, you turned quickly. The fear in the movie was pure - stay away from the infected! And the best part was, the bad guys weren't even the infected! (I'll leave it at, to avoid spoilers).

There is a fine line netween trying to "explain" the plot, and "convince" the viewer. If you get into the latter, you've lost.

I'm looking forward to it though. I'm hoping it will be a good one.



Comment 5 by john W posted on 6/25/2007 at 10:02 PM

I too saw the trailer and ordered the book. Intense almost doesn't do the story justice.

I have no doubt the movie will be good, maybe just OK, but what movie ever compares to it's original work?

Looking forward to it nonetheless.

Comment 6 by Raymond Camden posted on 6/25/2007 at 10:06 PM

@David - I don't want to say too much because the nature of the vampires, what went wrong, etc, is a big part of the plot.

@John: True dat.

And I didn't mean to imply Will Smith was bad. I like him as an actor. But I'd be shocked if the movie came close to the feelings of the book. The movie looks to be a lot more action-y. Also, and this is perhaps a mild spoiler, but in the book the lead character spends time during research. I can't imagine that being portrayed on screen. (But I'd be happy to be proven wrong.)

Comment 7 by Sam posted on 6/27/2007 at 9:43 PM

I would guess that portraying someone doing research on the screen would be similar to what is done on CSI, kind of a montage.

(Well it's a montage! (montage...))