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Friday, November 30, 2007

I Am Legend

(Guest Review by Russ)

Q: What’s the movie about?

A: A brilliant scientist – Robert Neville (Will Smith) is possibly the last human left on earth after a man-made virus seemingly wipes out the world’s population. For the next 3 years, Neville sends out daily radio messages in search of other survivors. But mutant victims of the plague – The Infected – lurk in the shadows (unable to be in the light) waiting to prey on Neville as he tries to reverse the effects of the virus by using his own immune blood.

Q: Who’s in the movie?

A: Will Smith, Alice Braga, Charlie Tahan, and one very well-trained (and emotive) German Shepherd. (There’s also an unexpected cameo in the first 5 minutes, so make sure you don’t miss the beginning.)

Q: Is this movie worth the price of admission?

A: Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketGo! Let’s face it, you’re seeing I Am Legend because we haven’t had a Will Smith actioner since 2004’s, I Robot, and the good news is both he and the movie are better this time. I Am Legend delivers the goods on suspense and action, and it cuts the surface to go a bit deeper and make you think (albeit not as much as it could have). I did not read the popular Richard Matheson novel the film was based on, so I can’t comment on the translation to screen, but if you’re looking for some year-end action/thriller entertainment, this one will most likely satisfy.

Q: Will this movie make me laugh?

A: There are a few clever jokes with the use of mannequins, and some visual funny related to the not-too-distant future (keep an eye on the NY billboards and gas prices), but overall this is no comedy.

Q: Will this movie make me cry?

A: There are some touching and emotional moments that might get to a select few people. Mostly thanks to Smith, these moment come off a little more ‘real’ than in most action films.

Q: Will this movie be up for any awards?

A: This isn’t the type of movie that usually garners Academy Award recognition outside of the visual effects and technical categories, but if dogs were eligible for Best Supporting Actor, we might have a contender.

Q: How is the Acting?

A: It’s pretty much Will Smith’s film from beginning to end considering he’s practically lonelier than Tom Hanks was with that volleyball in Cast Away. With that said, Smith’s in fine form as the quintessential thinking-man’s action hero. Not only is he tremendously charismatic and fully buff – he also has to pull off the emotion that overcomes someone living with only himself for going on three years. There’s never a false moment in his performance and there are few actors who would be better in this type of role – maybe none. Alice Braga and Charlie Tahan as mother and son are also both good, but it’s still Will’s world.

Q: How is the Directing?

A: Francis Lawrence came from the world of music videos and his first feature was the 2005 Keanu Reeves film, Constantine. He handles this film with similar aplomb – the action sequences pop and the quieter moments work well too. He seems like an ‘action’ director trying to go a little deeper which is always a good thing.

Q: How is the story/script?

A: Completely serviceable and there are some nice surprises along the way. The script could have been dumbed down, but luckily it never feels as if it were. But one can’t help wish the psychology of the story (and characters) had gone a bit deeper for an even more satisfying ride since it deals with a catastrophe that could be all-too-real in the very near future.

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