First of all, this is NOT a remake of The Omega Man or The Last Man on Earth. This is an adaptation from the book I Am Legend, which both Omega and Last Man were based on, as well. There is a difference.

Anyway, this is not going to be a typical book-to-film adaptation review for one very important reason: I’ve never read the book, so I can’t judge. I only know a couple of things about the book: Robert Neville was a white guy and… well… the ending. The first thing was obviously changed.

Anyway, on to the review. From the opening of the movie with a great cameo appearance by Emma Thompson, the movie seems to be heading in a good direction. The abandoned and lonely city of New York looks amazing (and brings me back to the abandoned London of 28 Days Later…, which I believe was also a bit inspired by the book). The movie takes us back and forth between the loneliness and hardships of Robert Neville (Will Smith) and his dog, Sam, and flashbacks of the city’s, as well as his family’s, evacuation. They work together well to move the story along.

Though there really isn’t much of a plot. It’s more of a character study on the sanity of the apparent last man on Earth. You see breaks in his sanity here and there, which Smith portrays amazingly. The ‘Fred’ scene, and what follows it, is one of the most heart-wrenching scenes in the entire movie.

But it’s not just a psychological drama. Oh no, there’s monsters and scares galore. The basic premise of the movie is that after finding a cure for cancer and using it on humans, the cure (a fixed-up strand of the Measles) mutates and turns everybody who isn’t immune into a mutant vampire creature. The tense scenes are truly tense. I admit that I did jump a couple of times, as well. You get attached to Robert and his dog and do care for what happens to them (it’s hard not to, since they’re the only two characters on screen for large portions of the movie).

The only downside to the movie is the special effects. Almost everything that wasn’t Robert and Sam were digital effects. All of the animals (deer, lions, rats, dogs, etc.) and all of the vampires weren’t real… and you could tell. Some of them were well done. The lions, for instance, and some of the deer looked really good. The vampires, however… could have used some work. They were kinda similar to the vamps in 30 Days of Night, except digital. There was one vamp that looks okay (I think they showed him the most, assuming it was the same one. I think it was)… but, yeah, overall the effects could have been a bit better… OR they could have just used real people in makeup (*gasp*).

But overall, it was a great character study, and Will Smith’s acting was amazing for the part. He really was able to pull off the psychological deterioration of being alone for three years. There were tense/scary parts that worked, especially for PG-13, there were funny parts, and there were sad parts. It was the special effects parts that could have been better.

I give I Am Legend a Keanu ‘Whoa’.

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