Film Review: I Am Legend (2007)

This movie is… frustrating. Not in the usual ‘anticipated-movie-turns-out-terrible’ way, but rather, the quality of the first half of the film and the last half is staggeringly different. 

The first half sets a really great tone and atmosphere. The focus is largely character-based, but still reveals just enough about the post-apocalyptic world to keep the viewer intrigued. A few scenes in particular are very well done; the dark building one is intense as hell, which is really impressive considering the audience hasn’t even seen the monsters up to this point. There’s also a truly heartbreaking scene with some impressive acting from Will Smith. 

The film up to this point is really quite amazing, but unfortunately the back half takes quite a stumble regarding overall writing quality. Ultimately, it feels like the writers tried to fit too many new ideas in without really developing them all that much. 

The theatrical release had an interesting ending, with symbolism for a restorance in religious faith for the Will Smith character. The downside is that this ending feels rather forced.

Unfortunately, the better overall ending was actually included in an alternate cut of the film, which provides a nice commentary on human nature and the illusions of heroism that can come with obsession. Needless to say, the alternate ending feels a lot more grounded and relevant than what made the final cut.

A couple other points worth mentioning are the acting and the visuals. Will Smith is at the top of his game here, and he is absolutely believable as the desperate and traumatized character he plays. The cinematography is very good as well, using colours that help set the overall post-apocalyptic atmosphere. A big problem I have with the movie is the CGI of the monsters: it’s… less than great, to put it mildly. The design itself looks really good, but I think the movie could have benefited from less motion-capture and more practical effects and makeup. 

Overall, I Am Legend is a good film, but it’s annoying how much potential is wasted as you get further into the movie.

Overall rating: 7/10

Published by Jeremy Bader

Aspiring writer, film and music lover, drummer.

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