Sunday, December 16, 2007

I Am Scared by I Am Legend

As planned, I went to go see I Am Legend Saturday afternoon with my friend MB and my husband. I thought no one was going to be at the random 2:30 PM showing, but I was wrong--it was a wet snowstorm in Chicago and apparently everyone thought it was a good idea to bail from Michigan Avenue and into the nearby AMC. Except for the first row, the entire theater was full, and the lobby had been swamped going in, so I expect that other movies were packed, too.

There was a round of great trailers before the show just like there had been before The Golden Compass, but I'll post about those next week.

You all should know by now that I'm not going to include any spoilers in this write-up, but I feel the need to say that over and over again for new readers of the site! So trust that it's not giving away anything to explain that the premise of I Am Legend is that "something terrible" has basically wiped out mankind and Will Smith (er, "Robert Neville") and his dog are now alone in New York City. Or are they?

I knew a lot about this movie going in, so I knew it was going to be scary (and remember, I have a very low threshold for scariness... most people who like true horror movies would NOT think I Am Legend is the slightest bit scary). However, MB and my husband hadn't known as much as I did, and both of them were surprised by just how tense it was. For you squeamish people out there, rest assured that nothing gross is actually shown--it's more left to the imagination, so you don't have to worry about seeing a bunch of blood and guts. The most frightening part of this movie, in my opinion, is the whole "what if?"-ness of it. Could the thing that wipes out mankind in this movie actually happen? (I personally fear that a similar scenario is very possible) How would the world react to stop it? And if the powers that be in the world failed to stop it, and if you were Will Smith left alone, what would you do? Would you give up or would you hold out hope? Would you find a way to stay sane if you had only a dog to talk to day in and day out--for years?

What can I say, I am a HUGE sucker for Doomsday/End of the World/Armageddon/World Catastrophe movies. I love the questions they raise and I like to think about what I or others I know would do if, God forbid, we were faced with the same dilemmas. But since I tend to get freaked out pretty easily, I limit my exposure to films like this to about one or two a year. For example, the movie Right at Your Door got excellent reviews and I was very intrigued to see how it turned out for the married couple the movie focuses on, but I couldn't bring myself to see it because I knew I would be too disturbed. I watch 24, for God's sake, that's enough to stoke my morbid imagination most of the time! (Just please don't remind me that should disaster really strike, Jack Bauer won't actually come to the rescue)

But back to I Am Legend... all three of us liked it, and I think that the less you know about the movie going in, the more you will enjoy it. Why don't I learn from my husband who never reads up on the movies beforehand and then is always pleasantly surprised? That said, we all agreed that the end was a little cheesy. It is not ruining anything to say that the end includes a voice-over, and that's the part I would've cut out. There are a few other things I wish they had done differently, but overall I am glad I saw it on the big screen, and I'm quite sure that anyone sitting behind me thought I was a total freak. I'm one of those people who, when I get scared, flings out all of my limbs and jumps about two feet in the air and then instantly curls back up into a tiny ball and covers my face with my eyes, leans down in my seat and peers out at the screen every few moments until I know it's "safe" again. Let's just say I did that dozens of times during the movie and felt pretty silly when it was all said and done.

If you see or already have seen this movie, I'd be curious to know what you thought, as the "official" reviews have been very mixed. A few people actually clapped at the end in my theater--and while I didn't think it was that good, I admit I probably liked it more than most people would have. Because Will Smith and I have a special connection--I saw him in concert way back in the day when he was The Fresh Prince!

Come on, you cannot be surprised by that...

- e


Anonymous said...

some friends and i also saw this movie on saturday afternoon in DC and we all liked it. my husband had read the short story it's based on and had seen some of the other films versions of it and still liked it. it definitely made us all jump a bunch of times so don't feel bad. i thought one of the best scenes was when will smith asks the manequin to "please say hello to me" heart breaking! will smith really did an excellent job.

Anonymous said...

i actually did not like the movie, and was kind of surprised since i'm a big fan of will smith. i thought the premise was too unrealistic, what was with all the empty cars sitting on the roads? all the people would not die at once, and where were their bodies?...i also thought the computer-generated zombies/dogs looked too fake. i also jumped about a foot several times so i know what you mean about that!

Anonymous said...

Hi e.....finally saw "I am Legend" and enjoyed the spoof as a change of pace from this darn election campaign. Will Smith did a great job...but his acting wasn't quite as good as his best buddy Sam's. You know, I got thinking about the possibilities of such a virus actually it's off to Vermont !!!
Auntie MA

Anonymous said...

The moved mannequin freaked me out. And I hate when the character does exactly what anybody in their right mind would NOT do. Like, get out of the car? Or realize that intelligent about the way things were set up. Which means it COULD BE A TRAP! Come on! Am I the only paranoid person that thinks of these things?

I mean, what if they were angry enough to endure some pain and sieze the opportunity to attack you? Geez. What was he thinking? (I know, it is part of the experience of being put on the edge of your seat. No one would be so stupid.)

It is entirely possible that those mutants retained their mental faculty. Though, I would expect that they suffered tremendous trauma and likely would be rendered insane by their condition. I would not expect that they became completely ignorant and lost their ability to strategize or formulate plans. In fact, the whole scene led me to feel that the daytime entrapment of the "people" fueled the hatred in that particular character. You could really see it in his face and actions at the end. It was like, "you take my mate---after all that I have lost?"

Very believable genetics concept. Very believable movie. Disturbingly believable. To the point that it made me actually uncomfortable and took a bit from my enjoyment in the end.