This Page

has been moved to new address

I Am Legend

Sorry for inconvenience...

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
Bloviating Zeppelin: I Am Legend

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Monday, December 17, 2007

I Am Legend

Or, perhaps I Am Not. Perhaps the original film, 1971's "The Omega Man" starring Charleton Heston was better, though a bit crankier and, considering the very last scene, just a hair more didactic?

Out of, say, a possible five stars, the 2007 "I Am Legend" rates a paltry **1/2 stars from ol' BZ.

Ostensibly taken from the short 1954 Richard Matheson novel of the same name, the movie starts off with high, high marks and hopes. [Matheson, incidentally, wrote "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" (later adapted by Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone and featuring a very young William Shatner as that segment's star), "A Stir Of Echoes," "What Dreams May Come," "The Incredible Shrinking Man" and "Duel," all turned into films or television productions -- and much more.]

Certainly, the film rocketed out of the gate this past weekend, taking in $77.4 million. And certainly its star, Will Smith, is responsible for a huge measure of the movie's success -- he's so damned likeable. I like him. You like him. The movie even throws in a gratuitous shirt-off-Will-doing-pull-ups shot of his rippling abs and flexing biceps. Someone behind me whispered: "Is that actually Will Smith?" I would answer: yes it is. The dude is in fine shape. And he really can be a fine actor. But please don't get me wrong: it's not Will Smith with which I have trouble.

First, if you do see the movie you'll be immediately taken in by the breadth and depth of its cinematic scope. A thoroughly trashed and mortally wounded New York City is portrayed with boggling realism and its city-views are no less than stellar in their graphic representation of a city abandoned at last second. I am wont to admit, I haven't been witness to such staggeringly-realistic CG in some time, encompassing an area with which I am familiar.

And conversely, it is the CG which killed the movie entirely for me -- and its ending (I'll get to that in a moment). Perhaps you can find your way to see around it. For me, I cannot.

The CG involving the Hemocytes (or zombies to the rest of us) left me completely tepid. As good as 2007 CG is, it still doesn't have the human figure down -- despite Beowulf, which was as sterling as it gets to this point.

On one hand, I marveled at the expansive, detailed and entirely believeable horizons of NYC -- on the other hand, the unrealistic speed at which a spiraling helicopter starts to smack into a Coast Guard helo carrying the wife and child of our protagonist strained my "willing suspension of disbelief" and veritably screamed at me: "computer graphics, fake!"

For one thing, none of the Hemocytes (or zombies) are portrayed by actors. They are all CG. They, unfortunately, remind me of the snake in the 1997 film "Anaconda." Anacondas don't move that fast, they're not that adept, they don't scream, they can't wind up a tree faster than a man can run and certainly they can't outrun a human -- as they readily did in the film. An anaconda is not a Black Mamba (which actually can move as fast or faster than a human for short periods of time).

The Hemocytes possess superhuman strength, superhuman speed, are impervious to pain, have superhuman abilities to climb sheer walls, tear through ceilings, and can somehow distend their jaws like an Egg-Eating Snake in order to screech at the top of their lungs.

I'm sorry, that just didn't play for me at all. It was all too convenient, too pat, too over-the-top, particularly in light of the startling realism offered by the rest of the film. The CG zombies were just not believeable.

Finally, I should care to address the ending.

I would portray it like this: ever get into a really good book, the author seems to know what they're doing, they've been ramrodding ahead for the past 300 pages and you notice there aren't many pages left. How will they end it? you wonder. And then, like a hatchet in your brain, it just ends. Bang. And you shut the book and ask: what the hell just happened? Ever read a book like that?

"I Am Legend" is precisely like that book. The movie chugs along (if you can overlook the cheap-ass and unbelieveable Hemocytes -- how'd they figure out how to rig a Crown Victoria to a noose, anyway? Why hadn't we seen evidence of their intelligence before?) and then BANG, it ends, literally. (SPOILER ALERT) It's as if the writers and producers said: "You know, we're only budgeted for 1 hour and 40 minutes, we're at 1:37 already, what do we do?" Following a conference, they concluded: we'll have Robert Neville pull a grenade out of a drawer and kill himself and the Head Dude.

That's cheap. Too easy, too quick, too little thought. The book ran out of pages; the movie ran out of writers. Or cash.

If you go, go for the vast and sweeping cinematic views of New York City. Simply amazing.

My wife wished to attend this movie, with my expressed reticence. At its conclusion we both stood up and walked out. I asked: "what just happened? Can you explain it to me?" She couldn't immediately but said: it was nothing like the book. Absent the fact that I fundamentally disagree with the author, I would recommend complete avoidance of this film. It made no sense. It didn't follow. I couldn't have cared less about any of its characters including the little girl, who was essentially a brat. Luckily I live in the tules, so it didn't cost me much to see. But for those of you obligated to spend $10 or more on a ticket: avoid this piece of shit like the plague. It has no plot, or at least a plot that the average viewer (having not read the book) could discern. I wouldn't even recommend you waste your time on a rental following its press to DVD.

And in only its second weekend in release, the bottom fell out of costly domestic flop The Golden Compass from New Line, which forked over $200+ million to make it. I know, I know, the pic is doing OK overseas after earning $50.9 mil from 27 territories December 7th-9th. But the fantasy epic is so lost domestically it earned only an anemic $2.6 million Friday and $3.7 million Saturday from 3,528 nearly empty runs for 3rd place and a new cume of just $40.5 mil. I hear studio topper Bob Shaye once again is blaming everyone but himself -- including the movie's director Chris Weitz, and also New Line's own prez of production Toby Emmerich.

It couldn't have happened to a more appropriate movie.



Blogger shoprat said...

I enjoyed the book about 35 years ago, but the end befuddled me. I may have to read it again, if I can find it.

Sun Dec 16, 07:10:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Shop: I never read the book and I'm not sure I'll spend the time, but the movie in and of itself (and its oh-so-OBVIOUS sequel!) left me completely bereft of compassion or caring. It was, essentially, -- wait -- are you writing of Legend or Compass??



Sun Dec 16, 08:11:00 PM PST  
Blogger Dee said...

Thanks for the movie reviews BZ.

Mon Dec 17, 01:27:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bushwack said...

You are the second person that said it wasn't very good.

I think I'll take the wife on a harbor cruise and look at Christmas lights instead.
Thanks for the heads up.

Too bad though I really like Will Smith as an actor, he is damn good and when his "Race" called him a sell out for doing Fresh Prince of Belair, he handled it with class and dignity. He never pandered to them, he basically said, get off your ass and do something besides hitting the crack pipe.

Mon Dec 17, 04:05:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Hey, just looking out for the welfare of my readers!


Mon Dec 17, 06:49:00 PM PST  
Blogger Rivka said...

Thanks for the info. on Will Smiths latest. I am glad to know that so I can inform my hubby. IT may end up being a DVD rental now.

As far as the Golden Compass. You already know where I stand on stuff like that.

Tue Dec 18, 03:35:00 PM PST  
Blogger Bushwack said...

Well We ended up seeing it tonight, it's raining and a movie sounded like a good idea.... You were right.

I actually liked it up until the dog incident, after that it got a little hokey....
It ended well though, and I thought Will Smith did an ok job. It wasn't great that's for sure but I didn't feel cheated.

There was a couple of previews that looked pretty good coming out next year.

Tue Dec 18, 10:47:00 PM PST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just my theory...

The hemocytes didn't rig the trap Neville got caught in. Neville rigged the trap, the hemocytes moved the mannequin. ..

Or alternatively, they got smart and copied Nevilles trap outside the building when he caught the alpha female...

Just been pondering over that one myself and thought I'd share.

Sun Jan 06, 04:58:00 PM PST  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home